Tuesday, August 21, 2018

5 Popular Adoption Phrases You Won't Hear Me Say or Share, and Here's Why

These adoption phrases may be popular, they may be catchy, but when you really think about it, they really aren't true of adoption for everyone.  

Perhaps you've heard some of these, or even used them yourself?  Before you share these on social media again, or don't respond when someone says them to you, I want you to consider WHY I don't use these and perhaps, why you shouldn't either. 

1:  #AdoptionRocks

I have read many adoptees share that they loathe this hashtag, and I totally get why.  I have never been comfortable sharing it, mostly because after a decade of parenting, I realize that adoption is many things, many complicated and bittersweet things.  #AdoptionRocks is simple.  Too simple.  It's also very adoptive-parent centric:  a point of view that excludes how our kids and their biological parents may feel.   

This isn't to say our children can't be proud to be adopted.  This also isn't to say that a biological parent cannot feel content or at peace with their decision to place.

But I feel that #AdoptionRocks isn't my hashtag to tout.  Why?  Because I know the intricate truths that parenting adoptees brings and reveals, and I want to honor those.  And because, as I share time and time again, it's not all about me or you.  Adoption should always be focused on the child.  

2:  I carried my child in my heart, not my womb.

Reason #1: It's too damn cheesy.   

Reason #2:  I cannot compare my experience (waiting for a child, preparing for a child) with the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual battles a birth parent has faced.   

Again, it's just not my place as a parent-by-adoption to "claim" any part of the conception, pregnancy, or birth of the child I adopted.   To do so insinuates that I'm attempting to compare my experience to that of a birth family member's or I'm trying to steal part of their experience. 

No, thanks.  

3:  DNA doesn't make a family; love makes a family.

Ok, now I do use #LoveMakesaFamily often in my social media posts.  But never, ever with a statement about DNA not making a family.   Because no matter the relationship your child does/doesn't have with his/her birth family, the birth family is ALWAYS your child's FIRST and BIRTH family.   

DNA does create family.  So does adoption.  

I don't see any reason to discount either or try to "one up" the biological connection.   And it's certainly not my place to dismiss the importance of birth family to an adoptee.  

4: Adopted children are gifts.

Listen, I'm loud-and-proud to be my kids' chosen mama.  I am very thankful that they are my kids.  However, my kids aren't objects, gifts, to be given.  They are human beings with thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  They are people, not presents.  

5:  Adoption is the new pregnant.  

Hmmmm.  Adoption and pregnancy really have zero similarities.  Plus, adoption isn't a bandwagon to jump on.  

This phrase also tends to minimize the difficulties of adopting:  the mountains of paperwork, background checks, interviews, education, financial sacrifices, relationships, and waiting.  Adoption has an enormous impact on the trajectory of a child's life.  Adoption is a serious, life-altering decision.  

Learn more about what I don't say, and why, in the chapter "All Aboard the Cliche Train" (pages 107-109) from The Hopeful Mom's Guide to Adoption.  

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