Q: While waiting for a meeting to start at the office, lighthearted banter about a colleague’s pregnancy led a coworker to say, “Hey, if I get pregnant one more time, I’ll give the child up for adoption.” As a domestic adoptive dad, I found her comment hurtful. Should I respond, or let it go?
A: Deciding whether or not to speak up depends on how comfortable you are in the role of adoption educator. If you decide to correct your colleague’s misperceptions about birth parents, speak to her privately. Avoid bringing your hurt feelings into the conversation. Instead, explain that her comment suggested that the decision to place a child for adoption is casual or thoughtless, whereas, in fact, it’s an intensely difficult decision, one based on bravery and selflessness that few of us can imagine.
You might point out that a similar casual joke about race, religion, or nationality would have raised eyebrows. The same kind of sensitivity should be afforded families, however they are formed.