Family Parenting Society

The woes of adoptive parents

Adoptive Parents
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

A new study reveals the problem of hurtful comments made towards parents who adopt children.

There are multifaceted reasons for deciding to adopt a child. They range from wanting to give an orphan a new home, not wanting to pass down genetic disorders or diseases, being a same-sex couple wanting to become parents, to being infertile but desperately wanting a child.

While this option can enrichen the lives of many parents, it’s also riddled with a number of unique challenges. From financial and legal issues to medical and emotional hurdles related to the new child. If the parent opts for intercountry adoption, there might also be cultural barriers to overcome.

Considering these issues which only add to the stress caused by regular parenting, it’s a huge pity that many people plague adoptive parents with hurtful comments when they realise that they adopted a child.

The survey by parenting website reveals that a total of three quarters of adoptive parents complain about such comments. While friends and family don’t have malicious intentions, their comments don’t make the lives of parents easier.

What do they say?

According to the poll, many people utter thoughtless remarks such as “I can’t believe they abandoned them,” and “Where are their real parents?”, implying that they don’t consider adoptive families as equal. One in four adoptive parents also faced the question ‘do you worry about them going back to their real family one day?’

But the study also revealed the insecurities of some, such as those who stated, “you’re a saint for adopting, I couldn’t”. Others immediately assume that the adoptive child lived through some form of abuse. Various people ask this question of 31 per cent of families.

Presumed infertility

The survey also found that many people presume that the only reason for adoption is infertility, with two thirds of adoptive parents answering the question, ‘Will you have one of your own too one day?’ and 30 per cent needing to react appropriately to the comment ‘sorry you couldn’t get pregnant’.

In general, strangers are the most likely to make such comments at 72 per cent. While 33 per cent of workmates ask inappropriate questions. They almost always mean well when making such remarks, but also demonstrate a lack of tact. If you’re an adoptive parent, try not to take it to heart. It’s a difficult decision to make, and only few can understand both the troubles and the joys of adoption.