Social media dominates the internet and many of our lives. From Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat and Instagram, there are many popular apps that millions of us use daily. We are logging in more than ever before in efforts to stay connected with family and friends. There are many positive stories that spread across these platforms, but there are also some concerns.
Between the short-video formats like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube, there are many video “trends” that are going viral. One of the recent trends to emerge in the past year takes aim at adoption. For the sake of “likes,” shares, and follows, some content creators are posting videos pranking their children about adoption. Specifically, they tell their children that they are going to be “put up for adoption,” or pretend to reveal a long-kept secret that their child is adopted.
These jokes are harsh for young children, and also harmful to the adoption community. Read on, as we explore why these social media adoption jokes can hurt more than just the person being pranked on video. We will also explore the importance of spreading awareness of what adoption is and why it is a positive choice for many families in America today.
What is the Harm in Adoption Pranks?
There is no denying that humor is a great way to lighten the mood, entertain, and lift spirits. During the lockdown days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspiring comedians and social media content creators found success in sharing their brilliant sense of humor with the world, especially at a time when it was needed most.
For those using adoption as the focal point of a prank, however, there are some considerations. Adoption is a delicate topic. It is not a decision that birth parents make with ease, and it is not always an easy choice for adoptive parents. As wonderful as adoption can be, anyone close to it would tell you that adoption is also very emotional. It is not a topic to throw about lightly, as you never know who around you, or which of your followers, have been touched by adoption.
Expectant/birth mothers who choose to place their child for adoption often undergo years of counseling and grief in making this sacrifice. Adoptive families who have adopted a child – or are in the process of adopting – have typically spent many years dreaming of having a family before choosing adoption. Then there are the adoptees themselves. People who were adopted have a special place in life. If they have had a positive adoption experience, then they typically feel a deep appreciation for their biological and adoptive families. Those who have had a less-than-positive experience have gone through their own heartache and emotional challenges. Pranking about adoption, therefore, can hurt all involved in the adoption triad.
Additionally, carrying out adoption pranks can add to the stigma around adoption. There are many myths associated with adoption, causing a lack of understanding about it. While adoption is a very positive choice, with benefits for children and families alike, joking that your child was adopted can cause them to have negative feelings about adoption instantly.
Why do people enjoy setting up these “adoption pranks” then, you wonder?
People are afraid of what they do not understand. They may have misconceptions of adoption because of outdated views. For example, many adoptions used to be kept a secret. However, today, almost all adopted children over age 5 know they were adopted. It is no longer something to hide, and many in the adoption community will tell you how positive it can be.
Pranksters may also find it easy to poke fun of a situation with which they have no experience. If you have never adopted a child, placed a child for adoption, or been adopted yourself, then it is hard to understand what it is like to be a part of this narrative.
People setting up these pranks also do not realize the damaging consequences their trick can have on a child. Telling a child they were adopted – or they are going to “give them up for adoption” – when they are misbehaving can lead to distrust, insecurity, and inflict fear and stress upon a young, developing mind. The term “giving up for adoption” is a dated one that is no longer used in the community, particularly because it is anything but giving up.
Make a Positive Impact Instead
Adoption is no joking matter, but it is something that deserves to have a shining spotlight in modern media. Anyone looking to become an “influencer” on social media can still benefit from sharing content about adoption. Birth mothers are strong, brave, selfless women who want the best for their child(ren). Adoptive parents are often proud and overjoyed at the addition to their family. Adoptees want to normalize adoption, because adoption means love and double the family members who have made them the person they are today.
Adoption advocates can help spread the word that adoption is a positive, loving path. For those in the adoption triad, particularly birth mothers, speaking up is not always easy. If you have not been touched by adoption, it may be hard for you to understand their struggles. Here are some tips for anyone who has ever made an adoption-focused joke or prank:
Say You’re Sorry. Once you learn about adoption, and why it is so beneficial, you can begin to right your wrongs. Offer a heartfelt apology to your family member(s) and share it online for all to see. It is never too late to seek forgiveness.
Share the Love. Once you have apologized, demonstrate your love for your child or family member. Acknowledged that you were misinformed about adoption and that you love that person unconditionally.
Serve as an Advocate. Support the adoption community by promoting and spreading awareness. You do not need to be a part of the adoption triad to learn about their experience and join the adoption awareness movement. This will also serve as a great example for others who may have found your prank or joke humorous – or those who have followed in your footsteps.
If you already understand the harm in adoption pranks, comment on a social media post, sharing your knowledge. It can feel intimidating, but speaking up and speaking out for the adoption community is an easy way to make an impact.
Learn even more about adoption by contacting Adoptions With Love. Our blog shares helpful content for those looking to learn more – from the expectant/birth mother’s perspective, as well as the adoptive family. Contact us with questions at 800-722-7731 or reach out to us online.