Thursday, October 3, 2013

Here We Go...Again

I’ve heard it once. 

And once more.

And a thousand times more. 

And here’s why I don’t feel so warm and fuzzy.

“My child was born in my heart, not under it.”

Don’t disregard or attempt to “one up” the child’s first mother.   Doing so only makes you look jealous and petty.   Don’t diminish the importance of a woman carrying a baby for months and months on in, giving birth to that baby, and handing that baby over to someone else…forever.     Don’t try to align yourself with the birth mother by comparing your heart to her…uterus?   I mean really, the birth mother had the baby “grow” in her heart, too.  

“It doesn’t matter where you come from.  It matters who you choose to become.”

Where a person comes from does matter.  Even a child who, just a few days old, is handed to adoptive parents.   The in-utero months of a child’s life are powerfully significant and shaping.   Breaking the physical tie between a biological mother and her child creates a Primal Wound.   Furthermore, who you were shapes your perception of who you choose to become.  

“God never gives you more than you can handle.”

Not true.   It’s not about what we can or cannot handle, whatever your definition of handle is.  Jesus died on the cross, rose again, and offers forever-peace to those who receive Him because we, as humans, cannot handle so much in life.   (I mean, honestly, some days I cannot even handle a crumb on the floor...)  We cannot get our crap together.   We are going to have heartbreak, face failure, and deal with confusion.   God also isn’t up in heaven attempting to put plight upon plight on individuals as a game or a test or a joke.   Bad things happen (to good people…blah blah blah), and it’s up to us if we lean on God and His power and His guidance, or not.

“Your baby was created just for you!”

Adoptive parents, listen up.  Your child was created by human beings.  Those human beings couldn’t or chose not to parent for a variety of reasons. This created a sever between the biological child and the biological parents.  No matter why the child was placed for adoption, that sever has created a loss and a trauma in the child’s life.   I don’t believe God magically created a child (this isn’t Jesus’ birth, people) in order to bless an adoptive family.  If the child was created and meant to be for the adoptive family, they would have conceived and given birth to that child, not received that child through someone else’s loss.  Granted, I do believe adoptive families can be blessings to the biological mothers they form relationships with.  And I believe an adoptive family can fall completely in love with a child who was birthed by someone else.   And I do believe a birth mother can be both deeply saddened by the loss of her child but also feel joy for the child being with a great adoptive family. 

“Your child is so lucky to have you as his parents!”

Lucky?   I don’t know.  Is loss and grief and confusion and unknowns lucky?   You might be looking at the fact that we provide a nice home, and Disney vacations, and music lessons, and Martha Stewart style Christmas dinners, and yes, it’s cool.  But that doesn’t make my child lucky.  My child didn’t ask to be adopted.  My child didn’t ask to be separated from his or her biological family.  My child didn’t ask to be labeled as “adopted” by every other stranger.     I realize you are attempting to compliment me:  my parenting, my material belongings, even the joy you see on my face when I beam at my child.   But hear me:  my child blesses ME.  I adopted because I wanted to be a parent.  I didn’t do it to be a savior or a superhero.   
What adoption questions and comments have you heart a thousand times that drive you bonkers?  How do you respond?  




  1. Thank you. I can't emphasize enough how much my pre-adoptive history matters to me as an adoptee, now grown and in reunion with both the maternal and paternal sides of my original family. I'm also an adoptive parent (via foster care), and I know that my daughter's history is equally important to her. I hate, hate, hate the "born in my heart" phrase! And it's not necessary. We don't need to diminish one aspect of parenthood in order to raise up another. I have 4 parents; 2 of them are my parents because they raised me & the other 2 have remained my parents _in spite_ of our separation. An unbreakable bond. These are 4 of the most significant relationships of my life. Why would anyone want to take half of that away from me? Why would anyone want to do that to a child he/she loves?

  2. Great post. We are just starting to think about adoption and research our options and have already heard almost all of those.

  3. I've heard all of those, multiple times. So much so that I don't want to put my child's pictures in my office (I'm a healthcare provider so I come into contact with new people who see the picture and want to ask/comment). Sometimes I answer very truthfully, as you have. But sometimes I'm simply too tired to try to school someone else on the multiple sides of adoption. It's a hard balance. My kids are so young they aren't necessarily hearing/soaking up everything other people say, but as they get older I really want to have practiced responses that they understand because man, how odd it must be to always have questions asked about you...

  4. I've been enjoying reading your blog this morning. I agree with many of your perspectives as a mother of a transracial family through adoption. Thank you for sharing your insight. From one adoptive mom to another I wanted to let you know you're amazing! I also had a question about one of phrases that bothers you in this point; it's the one about adoptive mothers saying their adopted child was born in their heart driving you "bonkers" I've haven't heard this perspective on that phrase yet. I have said that to others and deep down truly feel, that my son was born in my heart. That phrase to me just means my love for him was growing in my soul before he was born. By making that statement, I'm not trying to "one up" his birth mother or diminish the importance of her carrying him...I actually don't even see how one would jump to thinking that phrase represents "jealously." My question for you is, Is that really what that statement solely represents to you? I'm not trying to compare my heart to her uterus or claim that he didn't grow in heart as well...of course he did! In fact, I'm not trying to compare us at all in that statement. We have an open adoption, we love her and honor her in our home. Your perspective on this statement just took me off guard as I was reading along. I would love more perspective on this for your POV. I care to hear your perspective since I think you are highly educated and have much wisdom. I would never want to be associated with someone having that perspective on using that statement, yet I do believe my son was born in my heart...sorry if I'm making you cringe or go bonkers by saying so! :) Thank you and I hope you respond.


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