5 Questions for Birth Mothers to Never Ask an Adoptive Parent
When placing your child for adoption, a great way to make sure your child will grow up in a happy and healthy home is to meet with the prospective adoptive parent(s) and get to know them. While there may be a lot of questions you want to ask, there are questions that maybe shouldn't be asked, as the answers should be kept private. Let’s explore some questions to never ask an adoptive parent, as well as why these questions can seem inappropriate.
What You Do Know about the Prospective Adoptive Parents
There are multiple things that you’ll be able to know about the adoptive parent by reading the profile your adoption caseworker provides you. Some of these facts may include:
marital status or lack thereof
if the parent already has children
open or closed adoption preference
However, it is natural to want to know more, other than these facts you are being provided. We understand this curiosity, but want to warn you of the questions that may not be that appropriate to ask the prospective adoptive parent(s). These questions include, but are not limited to:
1. Why wasn’t adoption your first choice?
Adoption is not always the first thing to come to mind when wanting to have children, since we have an instinct to reproduce. Meaning that it’s natural to think of having biological children before thinking about adoption. That said, though, that doesn’t mean we should pry into others’ personal histories with that -- especially since we don’t know what they’ve been through.
Asking this question can be awkward, and may make the prospective adoptive parent feel uncomfortable, and maybe even guilty, about not having thought about adoption before. It may also bring up painful memories if the couple or individual struggled conceiving naturally prior to choosing adoption.
2. Why haven’t you had your own kids? Will you have your own children?
Many prospective adoptive parents have gone through their own journey to have biological children, but have been unsuccessful. In many occasions, this could be due to infertility issues or another medical concern. Many people are uncomfortable talking about their health history, so it’s best to not ask anything that may lead to this conversation. If the adoptive parents are open to talking about it, and offer this information on their own, that’s different.
The prospective adoptive parents may also have reasons other than infertility that led them to choosing adoption, such as having a disease or disability they do not want to pass on to their kids. Each and every adoptive parent will have a different reason or motivation for growing their family through adoption, and that’s ok. That’s their story to tell, if they are comfortable doing so. Otherwise, it’s a very personal matter that you shouldn’t pry into.
3. When will you tell my child that he/she’s adopted?
When placing your child for adoption, you’ll, no doubt, want to know how the prospective adoptive parents will approach the topic of adoption with your child. While this is natural, the way you word this question is crucial. After you’ve selected your child’s adoptive parents, depending on the level of openness you choose, this may become an appropriate question to ask later on. However, you’ll want to change the phrasing to something more along the lines of: How do you envision telling _____ he/she is adopted?
Regardless of whether you choose an open, closed or semi-open adoption, though, the adoptive parent has the first say on whether or not they tell your child they are adopted and when. The moment the adoption is finalized, that piece is beyond your control.
The biggest issue with f this question is the word “when,” because it makes it seem as if it’s a requirement for the adoptive parent to tell your child they are adopted, and puts an uncomfortable amount of pressure on the prospective parent to pick a date or an age to do so.
4. Are you sure you’ll be a good parent?
Putting parenting skills in question can be a bit unfair for the prospective adoptive parent, since parenting skills are something you learn while raising a child. Every parent feels at least a bit of insecurity in the beginning stages of raising a child. So, asking this question may contribute to that insecurity, as well as make the prospective adoptive parent uncomfortable during the conversation. That is why this is on our list of questions to never ask an adoptive parent.
5. Will you love your biological kid(s) more?
If the prospective adoptive parent(s) have biological kids, you might be curious as to why they want to adopt. However, asking a question such as this one does not only come across as inappropriate, but it also implies that the adoptive parent has the capacity to play favorites. That they wouldn’t give your child the same amount of love, care and support or treat him or her as their own.
Adoptive parents will be the first to tell you that there is no difference to them. That, biological or not, their children are their children. There is no distinction between “your child” or “their child.” There is no “adopted child” -- only their child.
Meeting the Prospective Adoptive Parents
When meeting prospective adoptive parent(s), it’s best to keep an open mind. Be careful about asking too many questions, as it may come across as invasive or make them feel as if they are being interrogated. Try to keep the conversation more casual. Have them tell you about themselves, and tell them about yourself as well.
Remember -- the objective is not just for you to get to know them, but for them to also get to know you. This is how you will determine the best couple or individual to raise, love and cherish your child post adoption.
If you are a birth parent considering adoption, and have any questions or concerns about the process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. For more information on adoption, visit us at Adoption Choices of Florida or call us at: 800-985-8108