Adoptees: How to Decline Sharing Your Adoption Story

“Where are you from? Oh, you’re adopted? How? When? From where? Do you know your real parents?” It may seem for adoptees that the words, “I’m adopted” give the world permission to ask a multitude of personal questions and demand detailed answers. While you can share as much as you would like to about your adoption story, it is important to remember that it is YOUR story. It is not rude or unacceptable for you to decline to share the details of your adoption for any reason. If you would prefer not to share the more personal details of your past, here are a few tips to decline sharing your adoption story.

1. Total Privacy

At the end of the day, it is really up to you whether or not you even disclose that you are adopted. Whether your adoption brings up some negative emotions or if you simply like to keep your private life private, non-disclosure is always an option. You do not necessarily have to “lie,” but if someone asks about your familial history, you reserve every right to state, “I would rather not disclose.”

2. Answer the Why, But Not the How 

Many adoptees may avoid the subject of their adoption because it brings up painful memories or because they really just do not know much about their adoption. If either of these prove to be true in your situation, you may choose to take the route of answering the “why” but not the “how.” It is perfectly understandable to state, “I don’t like to talk about it” or “It’s not really something I have gotten into much.” If the other party keeps pressing, you may have to be a bit more firm in order to stand your ground.

3. If All Else Fails

You may encounter a situation where you have provided all the explanation you would want to provide and the other party is still persistent. In this situation, you may need to walk away from the situation. There is no one who has the right to force you into telling a story you do not want to tell when that story is yours. You can try to change the subject or even utilize one of the tips above. If all else fails, you have every right to walk away.

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