Adoptee Gratitude

I don’t agree with my husband here. I watched some YouTube video clip of some weird mother who believed for 36 years that her child has been switched at the hospital and she’d been given someone else’s baby. The woman was adamant, and strongly disliked her poor son, telling him over and over that he was not hers, claiming that at age eight he was “evil” and later sending him to military school when he didn’t even ‘need’ to be gone. The father was heartbroken, weeping over his son’s mistreatment by his mother. (Proven via DNA test to indeed have been her son!)

In the comment section, two adopted people mentioned how they were adopted yet loved unreservedly as if they were their parents own, so they couldn’t fathom not being loved by their biological mother.

I think I’m weird. You shouldn’t feel or think you’d be ‘worthy’ of ‘less’ love just because you were adopted. I understand the sentiment, it’s valid 100% but as an adoptive mom, I hate that idea, because with it, comes the gratitude twin. “I should be grateful to my parents for taking me out of foster care/from my desperate mother and giving me a better life. Without them, I’d be out on the streets/still bouncing from foster care to foster care/still being abused in the children’s home.”

My husband says they SHOULD be grateful, just like HE’s grateful to His Heavenly Father for making him His by adoption. Kinda like that old Andrea Crouch song, “I don’t know why Jesus loved me” where it adds, “Where would I be if Jesus hadn’t loved me?”

I still must be weird because I don’t like it. I think because, unlike God, we are NOT perfect. That’s already a different scenario to the salvation story. And for me, adopting is just another way of welcoming your child into your family. It’s like having a natural birth vs a c-section. It’s just one other way of having a child. I didn’t adopt so they could be ‘saved’ from a bad situation, I adopted because I love children and I knew there were children who needed mothers already. I don’t want their gratitude in that way. To me, they ARE my “own” just as much as those who came from my womb.

I know that’s not the case for many people. The one question we were asked by someone at church was, “But how do you love a child that’s not yours?” I can’t relate to that question. Blood doesn’t matter to me. Loyalty and respect and bonds are based on mutual affection and love. I don’t need blood for those.

I don’t want my adopted children’s gratitude gratitude because I think in a way, it stops the child expressing everything in their heart. If I feel that I owe you my life, will I be able to fully express any negative feelings towards you? Will I be able to tell you where you aren’t fully meeting my wants as a child? Or will I tell myself, “Hey, it could be worse. If she hadn’t adopted me, I’d have nobody now.”

My biological child doesn’t have the fear of more abandonment or rejection. She doesn’t ever think, “I’m so thankful they had me.” She can be herself. Tell me if I’m being a bad mom.

I know not all adult adoptees don’t have this overwhelming need to suppress their true selves. But I do know some who did feel the need to ever be peace keepers, to bite their tongues, to never complain about flawed parenting. I know one who ever felt obligated to show that “adoption is wonderful” because she did prefer having parents to the six years she spent in a Children’s home so wanted more people to adopt. But she also hated that her White father was racist. How conflicting. He claims to love you but hates people who look like you. That’s flawed parenting for sure! But she never felt able to express her discontent. Because she was grateful they adopted her.

I’d rather all my children just loved me for being their mother. I’d rather they appreciated HOW I raised them, as opposed to appreciating that that I chose to raise them. I want them to love me for the kind of parent I am, not because they feel they owe me because I could have not been their parent and therefore they feel indebted. If I don’t spend my time thinking, “Aww, I love you like you were my own even though I adopted you,” why should they?

PS. I must admit though that some years ago while pushing one of my adoptees in a trolley at Bayside mall, some guy tried to solicit funds for a charity. He asked me to “Please think about the children who are in foster homes.” And I thought to myself with irony, “Oh I’ve THOUGHT about them alright! And done something more than assuage my guilt by randomly giving money someone asked for. The adoption fees were much more than I could put in this can of yours and I love those ‘children in foster care’ more than you will ever know. My heart bleeds that I can’t PARENT even more of them, giving money!” But yes, that’s the only time in thought of my children as ‘coming from foster homes’ ..except for when I asked the social worker where my child would be at various ages of their life if they hadn’t found a family. (Was thinking of all the children who DON’T get adopted. All the children whose names were on their board who wouldn’t get parents.) But at home, I’m just mom . Not a mom who thinks, “I love you like you were my own’ and of other children as their “You are my own” mom. That would be WEIRD.