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Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

8 Rules of Adoption Etiquette

adoption/ istockphoto © James Pauls

With many multicultural families formed by adoption or expanded by adoption (and obviously not solely multicultural families), we felt it was important to address some etiquette surrounding adoption. Most people have friends who have adopted, but there are still many misconceptions about adoption. Sometimes people don’t know what’s alright to ask and what’s not. Sometimes you may say the wrong thing unwittingly. So InCultureParent has put together a list of things you should know about adoption: a collection of adoption dos and don’ts. In our previous article, we addressed the adoption “don’ts”. Here are the “dos.”

1. Do feel free to ask about the adoption process. It is a complicated process and people have lots of questions, but just think about the timing of these questions. It is often best to have these discussions–especially those involving the costs of adoption–when my child is not around.

2. Do compliment our family, with the exception of saying, “It’s so great what you are doing.”

3. Do refer to me as my child’s mother (same goes with father) and her biological mother as her biological or birth mother.

4. Do avoid using the word “real” when referring to my family, as in real mother or father, my real children, their real siblings.

5. Do refrain from making comments about how lucky my child is. You wouldn’t tell a child how lucky he is to have made it out of the NICU if he was born prematurely.

6. Do make my child feel as if our family was created in a very special way.

7. Do presume that adoption was my first choice— not my second, third or last.

8. Do assume my children can hear and understand (so don’t ask things like, “How did their parents die?” in front of them).

© 2011 – 2014, The Editors. All rights reserved.

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InCultureParent is an online magazine for parent's raising little global citizens. Centered on global parenting culture and traditions, we feature articles on parenting around the world and on raising multicultural and multilingual children.

Leave us a comment!

  1. Comments9 Things You Should Never Say to Adoptive Parents | InCultureParent   |  Thursday, 18 August 2011 at 7:01 am

    […] things you should know about adoption: what’s ok to say and what’s not ok–a collection of adoption dos and don’ts. In this post, we are addressing the don’ts. In a separate post, we address the list […]

  2. CommentsPaula   |  Friday, 26 October 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Is it rude to acknowledge a child’s heritage or is that something that only adoptive parents can do?

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