The list of what not to say to or about adoptive parents is a long one. "When are you going to have your own kids?" or, "Why didn't her real parents want her?" are definitely at the top the list. Because focusing on those unnecessary comments makes my blood boil, how about we turn our attention to the many things people need to start saying about adoptive moms and start reversing that sneaky mom inferiority complex, instead?
Adoption language is complicated, to be sure, and even talking about the various birth parents and adoptive parents can get tricky quickly. Unless you've been an adoptive parent or been close to one, it might not even cross your mind how much those words can sting. While someone might think it's not that bad to say, "Now that you've adopted, you'll definitely get pregnant," it's definitely the most offensive comment an adoptive parent could hear and makes me, as an adoptive mom, sometimes feel like an imposter. If you're asking about my daughter's "real parents," what does that make me?
When we started the adoption process a few years ago, I focused all of my energy and attention on how and whether we would get a baby to call our own. From the paperwork to the classes, to reading books about raising adopted children, I spent the months leading up to our daughter's arrival preparing. I thought I was ready to become a mom, but I never thought to prepare myself for what it would feel like to be an adoptive mom. I didn't realize I would feel I have something to prove to myself, and to all the other non-adoptive moms or parents out there, simply because I didn't give birth to my daughter.
I frequently remember a quote from Valerie Harper, who played Rhoda Morgenstern on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and who adopted a daughter in real life. She said, "However motherhood comes to you, it's a miracle." I like to remind myself that no matter how motherhood arrived, whether it's through adoption or birth, I'm still just as much a mom as anyone else. So, with that in mind, here are a few things we should start saying about those moms who found motherhood through adoption: