Ask Kari: How can I stop my in-laws from making hurtful comments about our adopted children?

Dear Kari,

I am married and the mother of two children, both of whom were adopted when they were babies. My husband and I tried for many years to become pregnant but we were not successful. Then, four years ago we were lucky enough to adopt two children who were siblings and in need of a home. Since then, my in-laws have constantly referred to our children as “the adopted grandchildren, not blood relatives”, which hurts me tremendously. I get so mad at them I can barely be in the same room with them. I love my children more than anything, how can I make them stop talking about my children this way?
Lucky Mother

Dear Lucky Mother,

Congratulations on having the family you and your husband dreamed about. No matter how children come to us, as parents we know in our hearts that they are ours to love and care for always. You seem to know this message well, but unfortunately your in-laws do not. I suggest that both you and your husband ask to speak with them separately. State your feelings of love that you have for your children, adding that the grandparents’ hurtful comments will no longer be accepted. As your adopted children they are your children and their grandchildren; end of story. Remind them that speaking about their grandchildren in a thoughtless way can be very harmful to children in the long term, which you’re sure they would not want.


As published in the March 2013 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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