~ brokenness transformed ~
It's not a perfect solution for anyone involved. It's just not. It can be wonderful, but it's never an uncomplicated perfect situation - or a "solution."
Adoption is complicated and filled with grief.
Every child is different; when you see or hear "adopted children want...", "adopted children are...", or "adopted children think/behave/feel...", remember that there are a lot of adopted children who don't want, or aren't, or don't think/behave/feel the way the group is generalized. (Same goes for parents and adopive parents BTW, but I'm representing adoptees here ;))
They are my own, I love them dearly.
I would want people to know that adoption is filled with loss... from the standpoint of all the triad really but I speak as an adoptee. Please do not tell an adoptee how lucky he/she is to be adopted... it does not feel that way.... at all.
That adoption is a beautiful mess. That you have to be careful to not get lost in the LOSS of it all and focus on what was gained. That each child is unique, adopted or otherwise. That you are still the mama - if you've adopted, or have placed your child for adoption - you are the mama. Brookewww.MarvelousLoveBlog.com
There is a difference between mother/father and a parent. When a women relinquishes her right to a child she is not asked to relinquish her love and bond with that child. She is not asked to relinquish the memories and moments of those 9+ months. She is not asked to relinquish her motherly love, instincts, and worries for the child. As an adoptive parent I have seen other Ap’s say that they are their child’s “real mommy/daddy” and seem to disregard the role of the first parents. I have heard some say they earned the title of mother or father based on getting up in the middle of the night, and attending to the child. I don’t feel that makes a mother/father. That title was bestowed upon Ap’s by the child’s first parents when they chose them as the family for their child, they filled the role of parents when they met the needs of the child. I feel that the adoptive child has two mommy’s and two daddy’s with only one set of those parenting (first parents parented from conception to relinquishment, and Ap’s parent next). I hope that makes sense, maybe I am the only one who feels this way.
Adoption can be really really hard. On everyone involved. Dont judge me or tell me what a crap parent I am as I try to parent all of my children - not just the adopted child. Because believe me - I already tell myself everyday what a crap job Im doing. L.Y
To never, ever make assumptions about adoption and adoptees.
Drop the silly language about mothers as angels and God's gift, etc. my daughter is not a gift, she's a person. Her well-being is at the center of everything we do. I echo the other wise postings already listed. I'd add that people need to revise their perceptions about adoption...our wide open adoption scares some people, like my Mom, but I'm no less a mother by acknowledging, including and loving the mother who gave my daughter life.
Let your child feel what they feel - whatever that might be. Don't invalidate their feelings. As someone pointed out, not every adoptee is the same. The one thing we all have in common is that we were born into one family and raised in another and we all have our individual ways of dealing/adapting to that. For many adoptees, they may feel nothing until they are in reunion.Try to remember that many of the so-called "angry adoptees" and "bitter birthmoms" are actually the ones that are helping to path the way for reform in adoption.
Thanks so much for the great responses! Many of you touched on some of the same points I would make. I think that from the outside looking in adoption can look like "simple math" (a reference to this article, which I love: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/fashion/09Love.html?pagewanted=all), but the reality is so much more complex ... as the responses here illustrate.
I would like people to stop saying how lucky my kids are to be adopted by us. I know they mean well, but they act like we saved them. We did domestic adoption with our 3 children and they have very loving, wonderful first parents, not bad people at all. They were just too young, or didn't have the resources to raise more children. I didn't save them from anything, they saved me, I am the lucky one. I am even luckier because I get to have their parents and their families in my life too. I guess the thing for people not connected to adoption in some way to know is most birth parents are very normal, loving, honest people who want a different life for their child than they can provide at the time, it doesn't mean I'm better, just different.
I've had that experience too, so thanks for writing that! I didn't save my daughter from anything either. Her birthparents are wonderful, as are their families. They are just having a lot of problems growing up but were mature enough to know that they wanted more for their daughter than they could give her. We were truly saved by her too; she has brought so much to our lives, and all of us are enhanced by the relationships we share with our "new" families. I think that people who don't really understand the weird, complicated, yet wonderful relationships that CAN result from this process (I say "can" because I know that there are situations that aren't as wonderful as ours, for numerous reasons) just blurt their insecurities and try to say something positive. Personally, I smile and remind them that we are so lucky to have her as our daughter, and her birth parents as our extended family. Our daughter's birthparents chose us because we are the people they'd like to become (at least that's what they tell us) and I'm happy to say that they are making wonderful progress in that direction. They say they are spurred on by a need for our daughter to be proud of them. It's neat, really.
That life doesn't just "go on as before". You are forever changed, you are a mother. That adoption doesn't guarantee a better life, just a different one.
Adoptees don't deserve congratulations, or reassurances, or pity.