Growing your family through adoption is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s domestic, foster, kinship or international – you love your children. You planned, waited, hoped, cried, and prayed to be a parent. So why do some people act like adopting is something to be ashamed of? Your guess is as good as mine. Here are shaming things that adoption haters say to adoptive parents.

1. How could you just take a baby from their mom?

Adopting a baby does not equal vicious baby stealing. The majority of the time, the birth mother voluntarily signs her parental rights over to the adoptive parents. The only time a child can be adopted without voluntary relinquishment from a birth parent is when it is absolutely essential for the child’s safety. Adopting ethically is not just “taking” a baby.

2. You’re not their real mom.

An adoptive mother is not a figment of the imagination. You are real. You are valid. You care for your child each and every day. Yes, the child has a biological mother. Why can’t they both be real? Adopting is simply another way of becoming a real mom.

3. You should be better than that.

Every mother experiences “mom-shaming” at some point. Mothers can be quick to point out the flaws in other parents to make themselves feel better about their own perceived flaws. Adoptive parents are often held to a higher standard than biological parents. They are expected to be perfect because they were chosen to be parents. Whenever you feel extra “mom-shamed,” remember – you literally have a license to parent.

4. Why didn’t you try fertility treatments?

Maybe you did try. Maybe you drained your savings, physical, and mental health trying to conceive. Maybe you decided adoption was what you wanted from the get-go rather than starting fertility treatments. Maybe you don’t struggle with infertility at all, and simply felt called to adopt. Either way, it is no one else’s business. When people ask this question, they often don’t realize that they are implying that adopting is shameful or second best. That’s not true. Your path to adoption is something to be proud of.

Adopting is a viable option. Infertility doesn’t mean you’re broken. You are allowed to be flawed and scared and human. You are just as capable of parenting as anyone else, and those who say otherwise are simply uneducated.