The best answer may be – it depends on who you ask.  The Definition of taboo according to the is:

a: a prohibition imposed by social custom or as a protective measure…

b: something that is not acceptable to say, mention, or do something that is taboo.

The fact that a behavior is considered taboo doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.  People who engage in taboo activities may try to keep their behavior a secret or just choose to avoid discussing the subject.

There are areas within the adoption world that may be perceived by some as a taboo topic, while adoption as an entity is no longer universally referred to or considered a taboo topic as a whole by most of society.


Some topics within adoption may be considered taboo may include:

  1. For a couple that cannot biologically conceive a child, adoption may feel like the default choice.
  2. Adoptive parents often feel pressured to be the “perfect parents.”
  3. Adoptees may be told that they are “lucky” to be adopted.
  4. Open adoption concerns.
  5. Birth parents may feel pressured to parent rather than to place their child for adoption.
  6. Post adoption communication
  7. Drug use during a birth mother’s pregnancy.
  8. A birth mother’s mental health



In over the past seven decades, adoption as an entity has become less and less of a taboo subject considered by many in society.  Some reasons why the perception is changing:

  • Adoption Laws surrounding adoption records are changing; access to adoption records are more obtainable, which may give adoptees closure and answers regarding about their biology.
  • Adoption was, in the past, almost always closed, whereas now it is opening up.
  • Decades ago, there was a negative stigma against single mothers and so unmarried women would place their babies with other families to avoid the stigma of having an illegitimate child. They would also be sent away to maternity homes and place the baby for adoption once the baby was born, returning to society under the guise of a different story of where they were.
  • Birth Fathers are included more in the adoption process and in post adoption communication agreements.


However, talking about adoption, spreading awareness, and dispelling stigmas and stereotypes will prevent adoption from being a taboo topic.  Being secretive about adoption will only increase the mysterious surrounding adoption from it and prevent society from understanding it.  As part of the adoption community, it is our responsibility to increase adoption awareness, promote adoption education and dispel myths.  Facts are what will cast adoption away from being taboo subject.