Ask AF: Explaining that We're the Lucky Ones!

When people make insensitive comments that reflect their flawed perceptions of adoption, how should I react, especially when my son is present?

Q: When people find out that my son was adopted in the U.S. at birth, they often say that he is “so lucky that we were able to take him.” My husband and I feel we’re the lucky ones. How should I respond–particularly if the comment is made in front of my son?

A: This comment reflects lingering myths and stereotypes about closed adoption–that the child was unloved and unwanted by his birth mother. Not true! The decision to place a baby for adoption is made with the child’s best interests in mind.

That being said, don’t feel obliged to respond to ignorant comments or to educate people about adoption. As you note, this kind of comment is particularly troubling if it’s made in your child’s presence. When that’s the case, simply say, “We are the lucky ones,” and move on without further conversation.

The most important thing is to convey positive and loving messages to your child. After such an interaction, you may want to discuss people’s perceptions about adoption with your child–explaining that some people don’t know much about it, so they say things that are not true.

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