May 9th, 2007
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Categories: How to...

This “how-to” will give you some ideas on how to set people straight when you tell them about your search or reunion. Keep it on hand in case you receive some of the stereotypical remarks that many adoptees or birth parents do.

Here are some comments you might receive when you tell someone about a search, and comebacks to those remarks, polite and less polite:

For Adoptees:

“Why on earth would you want to do that?”
Polite – “She is my mother – well, one of them at least. I would like to know about her and I imagine she might like to know me. I am curious.”
Less Polite – “Why wouldn’t I?”


“Your adoptive parents don’t mind?
Polite – “Of course they don’t. They know that it is important to me and support me. They trust our relationship and are not threatened.”
Less Polite – “I am thirty years old. Why should they care?”

“Why would you want to find someone who gave you away?
Polite – “I do not know the circumstances of my adoption. My birth mother may have been young, loved me, been pressured or thought she was doing what was best for me. Because she placed me for adoption does not necessarily mean that she wanted to do so.”
Less Polite – “She placed me for adoption. She didn’t leave me in a dumpster, have an abortion or leave me on a street corner. Maybe she had her reasons for not raising me. Who are you to judge?”

“Aren’t you afraid she(or he)is a druggie or in prison?
Polite – “Not really, anything is possible, but I know that not all birth parents are unstable and/or dysfunctional people. Many birth parents are good people.”
Less Polite – “She is a birth parent, not a career criminal. It has been 30 years since she relinquished me to adoption. Even if she was in a tough spot then, people change.”

For Birth Parents:

“You should not interrupt her(or his) life.”
Polite – “I will be respectful of my child’s wishes. If he or she does not want a relationship, I do not intend to force myself into their lives. However, I want to give my child the opportunity to know me.”
Less polite – “Are you an adoption expert? What makes you think they won’t be glad to be found?”

“Didn’t you promise that you would never search for your child?
Polite – “No, I did not make that promise.”
Less polite – “Why do you make the rash assumption that I would ever make such a promise? Even if I had, it was a promise that I should not have to keep? It is wrong to ask a mother to never know her child.”

“You should just leave them alone and not bother them.”
Polite – “Why do you assume that it would be bothering my child for me to find them?”
Less polite – “You know nothing about adoption or me, and I really do not need any advice from you.”

“Why on earth would you want to do that?
Polite – “Why does any mother want to know her child? It is the most natural instinct on earth. Why wouldn’t I want to?”
Less polite – “Read this book, maybe it will help you understand.”

More resources:

Why Adoptees Search

Stupid Things People Say.

Photo by Jan Baker 2007

5 Responses to “How to Set People Straight – the Search”

  1. Oh, how I’d like to hear your flat-out rude responses. I’ll bet they’re really good ones! ;-)

  2. adoption-rejection says:

    When I felt so alone after being rejected by my birth family after looking for them, I made a web page to write my story and I welcome others to share their story in their own words about how they feel.

  3. adoption-rejection says:

    Sorry, that was for my own story, but this is the page where people can send in their own story:

  4. Jan Baker says:

    Sandra, I thought about including the really rude responses.(You know I have them!) Decided against it.

  5. lauriedb says:

    Oh, Jan. This is great! Of course, I wouldn’t mind hearing some of the rude ones, too! One of my favorite statements some people make to adoptees who want to search is, “Well, you know, they gave you up for a reason.” My response is, “Well, I hope so!”

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