To The Adoptive Parent: Why "I Could Never Do That" Is Probably True

If you've looked into adoption on any level, you've probably noticed helpful articles by adoptive and foster-to-adopt parents about the comments they've received from well-meaning strangers, friends or acquaintances.

Along with those comments, they'll suggest phrases that may come across in a less offensive way.  Questions like "How much did your baby cost?" could more sensitively be phrased as "I'm really interested in the adoption process.  Would you be willing to share your experience?"

And that makes sense.  Children who have been adopted are people.  We should never reduce them to commodities or topics of discussion simply to satisfy our curiosity.

But many adoptive and foster parents also decry the praises of others that come in the form of "Wow, I could never do what you're doing!" or "You're amazing for taking her (him, them) in!".

While I think that the people who make those statements are probably speaking from their lack of experience and really don't know how they'd handle being in a position to foster or adopt, I don't think they're necessarily untrue.

Many people really could never do that.  

Many people are not in a position to provide a home for a child that needs it.

If you have a criminal record, have a transient job, have financial concerns, have children that already require a large proportion of your time, have serious marital problems, have roommates with sketchy pasts, have safety considerations in your home that can't be fixed, are pregnant, have serious unresolved issues in your past, have addictions or have health issues, you may not be considered a candidate for adoption.

So when some people say "I could never adopt a child", they may actually be telling the truth.

But others may just not be willing to adopt.

It's not that they don't want to, it's just that there is a great deal involved.

The overriding sentiment among adoptive and foster parents seems to be one of humility, which is great.  But I think it may be misleading.


So to the mom and dad that have adopted or who are doing foster-to-adopt, allow me to say it:


You are special. 

You are amazing. 

You are selfless. 

You are compassionate.

You are wonderful.


It's okay to own it.

Not everyone is willing to put their life on hold to go through inspections, medicals, background checks, psychological histories, reference checks, training, and interviews.

Not everyone is willing to welcome a child that is not biologically related to them into their home.

Not everyone is willing to welcome that child's biological family into their lives, sending updates, visiting and sharing meals.

Not everyone is willing to spend the money that private and international adoptions cost.

Not everyone is willing to work through the personal history that a foster or adopted child comes with, no matter how old they are.

Not everyone is willing to set aside their apprehensions about the unknown possibility of special needs, genetic diseases or other issues coming up later in the child's life.


Not everyone is willing to love a child if there's a chance that it may only be for a short time.


Not everyone could do it.  Not everyone is willing to adopt.


But you are.  You were and you are and you will continue to be.


That's worth acknowledging, and that's worth praising.

So the next time someone tells you "I could never do that" or "You're such wonderful people for providing a home for a child", say "Thank you" and smile.


And know that they may just be telling the truth.



  1. If I hadn't have been able to conceive on my own, I would have looked into adoption. If you really want to adopt a child, the work involved shouldn't even be a consideration.

  2. What a helpful article...Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great article, you're right, perhaps people shouldn't ask question in such a way that may seem like children are "commodities or topics of discussion simply to satisfy our curiosity"..

  4. i actually had a conversation with someone about that over the weekend.. I feel the same way you do..

  5. Beautiful and those are all great thoughts to keep in consideration.

  6. Beautiful post.
    On the flip side, having twins one woman stopped me on the street and asked if they were "store bought" meaning IVF. Can you believe it?
    I love that you brought up the etiquette to dealing with adoption. My husbands sister is adopted and it takes a real special human being to bring a child into their home. Many blessings.

  7. It really takes someone special to be an adoptive parent, thank goodness for those who are willing!

  8. What a lovely article. I find it strange that anyone would ask how much did your baby cost, as if you just bought a new pair of sneakers. An adoptive parent is still a parent even if they do not share the same DNA. If you are the one tucking them in at night, kissing their boo boos & giving them all of your love, you are a mommy. That should not be cheapened with insensitive questions & comments.

  9. What a great article! Thanks for sharing!

  10. My friend just adopted a 3 yo and his baby sister! It's wonderful what they are doing!

  11. My cousins did foster to adopt.....and it was amazing to be a part of!

  12. that's really true! because even I can't do it.. I always say I would like to try but in reality, I don't have the courage to do so..

  13. We have two boys and both of my pregnancy's were high risk and scary at times. I do plan on adopting in the future once we can afford it. I would also love to be a foster parent in the future.

  14. My next door neighbor did foster to adopt and you're so right. She said it was a rough, rough, ROUGH road but ultimately worth it.

  15. Totally worth it, but your neighbour was right - it's not easy, that's for sure!

  16. That's wonderful, I wish you the best of luck! It really does take a special family to adopt and foster :-)

  17. I have always said that it takes a very special person to be an adoptive parent. It is such a wonderful loving gift to give a child.

  18. It does take a huge commitment and, in my opinion, a heart of gold to go that route. I know a few people who adopted kids from overseas, and that had additional hurdles to jump.

  19. Hello Megan,
    Preach it sistah! That was my immediate thought as I was reading this post. We have 2 biological children and have adopted 2 from foster care, and have heard that line SO many times.
    Thank you for the encouragement, for some reason today, it brought me to tears. People do say "you are special, amazing, etc." but in reality, I don't feel any more special than someone that doesn't choose this route. If anything I feel like a hypocrite, because I am NOT any more special, as a matter of fact, I feel like a failure on many days. I was willing, maybe that's where the special and amazing come in.

  20. Chellie, you are right! Being willing is HUGE! You are very special because you have done what many others couldn't or just didn't choose to do. And that means the world to your children!


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