DDA - The Do's and Don't's of Adoption

Here we will be sharing some Do's and Don't's of adoption based on our own personal experiences. If you want to add your own Do's and Don't's of Adoption, you can fill out this form.

Do listen to adoptees.

Adoptees want to a listening ear. We want to be able to share our stories and experiences without being shut down or gaslit. Instead of trying to correct us or tell us we should be grateful, listen to our struggles and our stories. Maybe you will learn something.

Don't tell an adoptee they should be "grateful" for being adopted.

This phrase actually hurts adoptees more than helps. We know we should be grateful. We don't need to hear it from everyone else.

Don't tell an adoptee they should be "lucky they weren't aborted".

Why are only adoptees hearing this? Shouldn't everyone be lucky they weren't aborted?

Do reach out to an adoptee during times that might be affecting them personally.

There have been many events in history that have affected the adoptee community. For example, the murder of Vincent Chin. For adoptees that come from a diverse racial or ethnic background, there can be non-adoptee-related events that can affect them as well, such as the recent Atlanta Spa shooting that took the lives of six Asian women and two others. In times like this, many people ask "What can we do to help?" whether it's asking the AAPI community or the adoptee community. Many times, people don't know the answers to this question. The best you can do is to keep asking if they are okay and asking if you can do anything to make them feel better. Check in on your friends in times of distress. Even a small text can express so much to an adoptee.

Don't ask an adoptee who their "real" parents are.

Their adoptive parents are their "real" parents, their birth parents and foster parents are their "real" parents. Adoptees don't have "real" parents. We just have parents. You wouldn't ask someone who wasn't adopted who their "real mom" or "real dad" was. Parents are humans. They are as real as everyone else.

Don't ask adoptees how much they cost.

This is an awful and inappropriate question that sadly, many adoptees hear regularly. Adoptees are human beings, just like everyone else. Non-adoptees don't get asked how much they cost. Just like there are hospital fees, doctor visits and possible other costs with having a child biologically, there are also adoption fees and possible flight costs. However, the adoptee themselves did not cost anything. They are just as human as a biological child.

Do interact with your followers.

Your followers have a voice too! If you're not interacting with them, you won't know what they are trying to say. Create those connections and expand your horizons.

Don't tell a transracial adoptee (or any person of color for that matter) that you "don't see color".

While this may come off with good intent, saying that a transracial adoptee is just like others in the family, this phrase can actually cause more harm. Even though the color of our skin shouldn't matter, it does. In America, outward appearances are what people judge first. Saying you don't see color is denying the fact that color exists in America. Racism and racial identity are very prominent aspects of our society and it is important to recognize that.

Don't applaud adoptive parents for "saving" or "rescuing" us.

We didn't ask to be "saved" or "rescued". We just want a loving family and a safe place to live.

Do listen to other narratives than your own.

If you are only listening to what you want to hear, you will never learn about other perspectives or experiences. Always keep an open-mind and don't be closed-off and biased.

Don't share your child's adoption story without their permission.

The adoptee's story is one of the few things they actually have control over. Please do not share their story without asking them first. There may be parts of the story they don't want told or people they don't want their story told to. How would you feel if someone started telling your life story?

Don't tell another adoptee how to feel.

Adoptees and non-adoptees should not be telling other adoptees how they should or shouldn’t be feeling. We all have different stories and experiences that shape us & shape the way we grow up. We can’t expect everyone to feel the same way.

Do educate yourself.

If you aren't educating yourself on the issues of adoption, in addition to what adoptees go through, you will never learn about an experience or perspective that may be different from yours. It is important to know about cultures different from your own.