6 Things You Should NOT Say To Your Adopted Child

Some things are better left unsaid.

Tom Andriola January 26, 2017

Being adopted can be traumatic. After all, a child was removed from his or her biological parent(s). Adoptees’ experiences vary, for sure, but instead of stating certain things as matter of fact, it’s best to just ask them about their own experiences. Here are some examples of things you shouldn’t just say to your adopted child.

You should be grateful!
1. You should be grateful!

This is like a real thorn in my side. Don’t tell me I should be grateful. I’ll decide that for myself. Being relinquished by your biological parents is not a reason, in my opinion, to be grateful. Yes, I may be happy to be part of your family, but don’t make your own judgment about that.

You’re lucky!
2. You’re lucky!

This is very similar to the first one, but it’s even almost a notch above it. Telling me I’m lucky to have been placed in your family is somewhat self-centered. As an adoptee, I may feel lucky, but I may also feel the opposite. Let me decide about my own feelings, and if I’m up for sharing them, I will.

We chose you.
3. We chose you.

Let’s just get this straight. You didn’t choose me. In all likelihood, for some reason or another, you were unable to conceive a biological child. I happen to be born at the time you chose the adoption route, and the social services agency you were working with connected you with me. OK, maybe it didn’t happen exactly that way – maybe the factors were slightly different, but the bottom line is, you didn’t choose me. Please don’t pretend that you did.

It was meant to be.
4. It was meant to be.

I know many people believe that certain things in their lives were meant to be. Not everyone does, however. And if you tell me that me being adopted into your family was meant to be, there’s a good chance that I don’t share that sentiment.

You were wanted.
5. You were wanted.

That’s an interesting one, because I feel like I was not wanted, which is why I ended up in the situation I’m in now. Many adoptees carry feelings of rejection and insecurity, and being told they were wanted can be confusing or patronizing, at best. Just tell them you love them instead.

Your biological mother wanted what was best for you.
6. Your biological mother wanted what was best for you.

As an adoptive parent, you have no way of knowing that your child’s biological parent wanted what was best for him or her. She may have not been able to handle the situation. She may have wanted what was best for her. And, yes, she may have wanted what was best for her son or daughter. The point is, you shouldn’t just assume that you know what the circumstances were.

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Tom Andriola

Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.

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