News Copy – By Richard Jenkins
Three quarters of adoptive parents have been left devastated by thoughtless comments from friends and family, a study has found.
A poll revealed many face hurtful remarks from loved ones including ‘I can’t believe they abandoned them’ and ‘where are their real’ parents?’
Despite the questions being ‘well-meaning’, they leave seven in 10 adoptive families feeling as if they are not yet perceived as equal within society.
One in four have also been subjected to ‘do you worry about them going back to their real family one day?’
This was voted the most hurtful to adoptive parents, who are legally the ‘real family’ of their child.
More than one third have also had people say, ‘you’re so cute, how could anyone have given you up?’ or ‘I can’t believe they abandoned you …’ to an adopted child.
Shockingly, 31 per cent of families have even been asked ‘what type of abuse did the child go through?’
Others were grilled by people asking ‘where’s his or her “real” parents?’ while 61 per cent were told ‘you’re a saint for adopting, I couldn’t’.
The research by parenting site ChannelMum.com, also revealed mums with adopted children regularly have to deal with inappropriate comments about their fertility.
Two thirds have been asked ‘will you have one of your own too one day?’ and a further 30 per cent were told ‘sorry you couldn’t get pregnant’.
Thirty-five per cent have had people say ‘oh just watch, now you’ll get pregnant’ – suggesting a biological child is more important.
Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com, said: “How you become a parent doesn’t matter – it’s the job that you do when you are a parent which is crucial.
“Parents by adoption simply want the same treatment as everyone else.
“Although the questions are well-meaning, it’s unlikely any other parents would face that level of personal intrusion, so there’s simply no need to ask them to parents by adoption.”
The poll also revealed strangers are most likely to make inappropriate comments, with 72 per cent of adoptive families targeted by people they don’t know.
One third of adoptive families have had inappropriate questions from workmates, and 27 per cent have fielded them from medical staff, such as health visitors and GPs.
However, another one in three of the 1,252 mums and dads polled have said something which they didn’t realise would hurt an adoptive parent.
The study also found 62 per cent of UK families have considered adoption with the top reason being ‘to give a child a good home.’
However, just five per cent went ahead with the adoption process.
One in seven were worried about being judged by social workers and adoption agencies, while 13 per cent said their partner was not fully supportive.
To boost falling UK adoption rate, three quarters of parents think the Government must do more to publicise the positives of adoption, so it is viewed as equal to parenting a biological child or having IVF.
Three in five also want adoption to be offered alongside IVF while almost half would like to see more positive adoption storylines in soaps and the media.
WHAT YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY TO AN ADOPTIVE PARENT
Where’s his or her “real” parents?
Will you have one of your own too one day?
Do you worry about his going back to his or her real family one day?
Say ‘I can’t believe they abandoned you’ or ‘you’re so cute, how could anyone have given you up?’ in front of the child
You’re a saint for adopting, I couldn’t
Oh just watch, now you’ll get pregnant.
What type of abuse did the child go through?
Try to guess why the child needed adoption or fostering
Sorry you couldn’t have one of your own
Call someone an “adoptive mum or dad” when there is no reason for it
WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY
I’m so happy for you
You were obviously meant to be together
There is no such thing as an Adoptive Mum or Adoptive Dad – They are just Mum and Dad
A family made through adoption is equal to a family with biological or IVF children
I’m here for you
How are you feeling?
How can I help?