Adoption Truth: I’m Not Amazing

So, something has been on my mind lately, and so I thought, why not write about it.

Often people say things to us like

You are so amazing for adopting a child who has no home.

You are such wonderful people for adopting an unwanted child.

If only more people were like you and could love a child who needs love.

Your child is going to be so fortunate that you adopt them.

You are going to save a child.

These comments used to really bother me and still do for that matter.  I hear them so much now that I’m trying to get used to them and when appropriate I try to correct and educate.

But here’s the thing.  We, Mr. MPB and I, are not amazing adoptive parents.  In fact, I’d say we are the furthest thing from it.

First, Mr. MPB and I are adopting because WE want to have a family and raise a child or two.  Our primary drivers are neither to save a child or be amazing people.

Second, all adoptive parents share a few things in common.  We have been approved as parents.  No matter how you adopt, or where you adopt from, adoptive parents have to be screened.  This means we all demonstrate that they are dedicated, are medically healthy, have a stable marriage/relationship, have decent mental health, have good family/friends support and are generally decent people.  And more often then not, we are all chosing adoption out of necessity as we cannot have children any other way (possibly due to recurrent pregnancy loss like Mr. MPB and I, or being unable to conceive like countless other couples). The reality is, adoptive parents must share some pretty key characteristics in order to be adoptive parents.

Third, based on the adoption options (international from an orphanage, foster system and open infant adoption), we chose the least needed* type of adoption.

  • We did not chose to adopt from an international country where children are in orphanage and have little to no hope of ever being adopted into a family within their own country.  These children have often lived in institutions for most of their lives.  Most often with limited one-on-one time with caregivers, frequently with insufficient food and inadequate health care.  These children really need to be adopted to have a better life.  Parents adopting from these situations take a big leap of faith, having little to no knowledge of the child’s prenatal care or exposure to substances, etc.
  • We also did not chose to adopt from the local foster system, where there are more children then there are adoptive parents.  The reality is that this is where the children in need of a long term stable family and home are, like really in need.  And, the reality is that we, like so many others, have not chosen this path, leaving children in the foster system without a permanent home and family.  Just writing that sentence makes my heart break, because really we’ve chosen not to help a child in need.  There are many reasons people chose not to adopt from the foster system – it’s hard to get infants, the bureaucracy is painful, the unknown duration of a placements are hard on families, the children’s histories (biological, and emotional) are most often unknown, etc.  The reality is, that by not adopting from the foster system, we are not changing someones life.

Ultimately, our choice was that of a open infant adoption, where there are more hopeful waiting adoptive parents then there are children.  The line-up of approved waiting parents is long and the wait exists because there are more waiting adoptive parents then there are children.  And, I would argue that our decision to adopt is not changing that child’s life drastically because if we don’t adopt the child, someone else will and they will have a similar(ish) lifestyle.  By similar(ish) I mean, the fact that all waiting adoptive parents  have to be approved to adopt and what sticks out with open infant adoption is that because we are adopting in the private open-adoption system, all approved adoptive parents have at least some money to be able to afford it.  This means, if we don’t adopt a child that we are matched with (for some reason), someone else will and in all likelihood they will have decent parents.  Oh, and because we are choosing open adoption we are also able to set criteria and influence the type of child we will raise (i.e. substance abuse, race, etc.).

Heck, we’ve even chosen to go out of country and pay more in hopes of speeding up our match with an infant – I’d say in the adoption world, we are the furthest thing from a amazing.  And in fact, our motivation to pursue adoption is selfish – we want to be parents to a relatively healthy child, and we are doing everything we can to make our dream a reality. Yes, a child will benefit being raised by us as we are decent people, but our child will be no more fortunate to be raised by us then they will be to be raised by another waiting couple.

We are not saving a child, rather our child will make our dreams come true, and for that we will forever owe them and their birth parents who chose us.

* note that I am making some sweeping statements, based largely in generalizations.  I realize all of my statements are not always true in every circumstance.

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34 Comments on “Adoption Truth: I’m Not Amazing

  1. I understand where you are coming from.. I do. And what you’ve written makes sense. I don’t think you’ll ever stop these comments from coming because many people see adoption as a distant thing that ‘other people do’. Know though that no matter how selfish your decision, adoption is still difficult and I’ve always thought you were amazing. Not because of adoption but because of your resilience, honestly, and the support you are in this community. Thank you for sharing another honest post.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I agree with you 100%. BUT what is amazing about you guys is your courage to even venture into adoption. This is a hard road, a road so hard that some chose not to even step foot on it. Your bravery is amazing to me!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. This is sort of like reading my own thoughts from 15 years ago. I hated those comments and the very worst one was when people told me that our daughter was “lucky” and should be “grateful”. WE (my husband and I) were the lucky and grateful people – our daughter should be able to take us for granted like all kids do.

    I think the desire to “do something good” (e.g. for society or whatever) is the worst possible motivation for adoption. When we had our interviews with social workers and were asked THE QUESTION (“Why do you want to adopt?”) I spilled out all my selfish reasons. I don’t want to miss out on such a big part of life. I want children. I want to be part of a family, not just a couple, etc. That answer made sour social worker smile.

    All this said – you are a tiny bit hard on yourself. Doing something good for YOU is also doing something good. And your future son or daughter will also see it as good that you really really wanted him/her and were willing to go through a lot to for you all to come together.

    If it interests you, I am slowly writing my own adoption stories on my blog – just click on the category “Adoption” and you can find them there. I’d love to hear your reaction.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you so much for this!! Honestly, I have to say, I am so excited to get to know you and learn from you. The closer we get to actually being parents, the more I realize that I need to start connecting with people who are already living the life and supporting their children through their individual adoption questions.
      Based on your comment it really sounds like we are a lot alike in our thoughts on adoption. Thanks for sharing! I’ve already started reading your past blog posts and look forward to future ones. 🙂

      Like

  4. I hear you. And doing
    Something “amazing” or being noble should be the last reason to adopt/raise a child. Who would want to raise a child making them feel “indebted” to their parents!!
    I think you are just human, yes its sad that there are some children who are born with the worst luck possible, but that is a problem the society should tackle on it own, not just couples who cannot have kids the “original” way.
    Having said that, I think kids who are adopted via open adoption are the luckiest and most loved on earth. Thats because they are born to parents who realise that they are not enough and love the child so much that they are wiling to go through hell to give the child a lovely life that they themselves cannot provide. And then they are adopted by parents who love having a child in their life and would do anything for the child.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I 100% agree with you that doing something amazing or being nodle should be the last reason to adopt/raise a child. The last thing I want is for our child to feel indebted to us, any more then any other child does, and I think that’s why the comments of “amazing” grate on me. I don’t want our child to hear these comments and feel that they should be indebted.
      Also, I agree with you about children who are adopted in open adoptions. It’s like a team of people have come together with that child’s interests as the leading driver in all their decisions. Open adoption is scary for so many reasons, but this is one of the great things about it. 🙂

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    • Thank you my friend. I will take your compliment of being amazing for being me, but not for being amazing because we are adopting and saving a child I just don’t believe that’s the case. 🙂

      Like

  5. Brace yourself… you’ll hear it a lot over the next 18 years. Wait until someone tells you your child is “lucky” in front of them – I channeled my inner Momma Bear. After 10 years of it I have come to a way of dealing with it that I’m comfortable with:

    “You’re so wonderful/amazing/selfless”

    “Yes, I am. In so many ways you just couldn’t possibly begin to list them all.”

    It throws people and tickles me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am most worried about hearing it in front of our child(ren). I just don’t think our children should be any more indebted or grateful to us then any other child, and I hate that people’s comments might make this arise.
      I like your approach to the comment!

      Like

  6. Oy adoption sainthood never seems to let up. There is the need for folks to put you up on a pedestal and that does a couple of things: 1) It casts the birth mother in a bad light because well, she had to “give up” her child and the child was lucky that you were around to want it. 2) It can set you up for some isolating experience because no one wants to hear about any struggles, because, well, why should there be any struggles at all because APs are AMAZING!

    It all is a fallacy.

    All that said, you and Mr. MPB are still good peeps, not because of the adoption story, but because you folks just seem like the kinda folks I’d love to have glass of vino with. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am dreading adoption sainthood! I have already encountered the birth mother being cast in a bad light, and it drives me crazy particularly in an open adoption where the decision is 100% her choice. And I honestly hadn’t even thought about the isolation that it may create for us as parents.
      And thank you for your kindness. I have to say, I’d love to share a glass of wine with you! For some reason I think we’d lose track of time and spend the entire day chatting away!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I get the same comments constantly and I dislike them. I keep thinking I’m not great, I’m selfish. Very very selfish. I wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for infertility.

    However, I think you’re amazing for other reasons!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Can I just say that you are an amazing person….not because of the path of adoption you chose, but because you are an amazing person. The child that joins your family is going to be incredibly lucky to have you, not because y saved them or anything like that, but because you will love them and cherish them and be a great mommy. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth.

    Your decision to adopt for “selfish” reasons doesn’t seem to be selfish to me. You want to be a mom. It’s a drive that is hard wired into us and hard to fight. I admire your strength and persistence at perusing adoption rather than giving up on your dreams. I don’t know if I would have been able to do what you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awe, thank you so much my friend. I appreciate your distinction that it’s not about adoption, just about loving a child no matter how they come to be your child. Really, isn’t that one of the most important ingredients to being an amazing mommy?
      P.S. I think you are an amazing mommy! I love watching you and your little man! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I really resent the language of salvation so frequently applied to adoptive parents. All – and I do mean ALL – of the birth mothers I know who go through social workers and agencies as you and Mr. MPB are doing want fulfilling lives for the children they birth. They care about and love those children. Adopting out for them is an act of tremendous love. And in fathomable courage and faith. It is the best of a less than ideal situation and done with their children’s best interests at heart and mind. It had nothing to do with rescue and salvation and to suggest that is downright offensive as I think you’re suggesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I totally get this, but disagree. Your route is exactly what we started down before IVF started tugging on my heart. I felt anything BUT amazing choosing the domestic (because we’re in the US) infant adoption route. But, adopting is not for the faint of heart. It is a lot of work and a lot of money. It takes a lot of emotional strength. And courage. You’re choosing to bring a baby into your home and love the hell out of this child, who you will have no genetic connection to. You can screen the birth parents up the wazoo, but there are still so many unknowns and you are CHOOSING to take that on. And will provide an extraordinary home for the lucky child you bring home. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but weighing your options and being really honest with what you want and can live with does SUCH a service to these children needing homes. Too often people get in over their heads and it can be so detrimental to those children. So swallow the praise with a grain of salt, smile, and say thank you. You still have my admiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Like the other have said….you’re amazing because you’re you. That has nothing to do with the fact that you’re adopting, it is just a fact of your personality. And I don’t think it’s you helping a child in need, or a child helping you in want; it’s all of you helping each other to fill each other’s lives. And that’s all that’s important 🙂

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  12. Love this! It is something that I truly hate and that is a strong word for me. I am not amazing in any way to be associated with our children.

    I will say that we who travel this road are amazing in strength to continue fighting for our dream. That is something of our story that I hope our children can look to with a sense of admiration, but their actual presence in our life amazes me. I feel like we have so much to be grateful for as adoptive parents, not the other way around!

    Like

    • Thank you! I really hope my child never feels obligated to me because we adopted them – I want them to be naively ungrateful for their parents, just like almost all children are. 🙂
      Also, I think you are right about the strength and courage it takes to get through IF/RPL and choose to adopt. We aren’t even through the process and I know it takes a certain character to adopt.

      Like

  13. Oh my goodness…you just put that in better words than I ever could, but I have to agree with everyone else…you’re still amazing and that has nothing to do with the adoption route you chose. I also have to say that I also feel guilty at times about not doing international or foster. Unfortunately, international is too expensive even if we were willing to not get a newborn, which we might be okay with that later on in life, but I want one newborn baby and foster is too hard with doing in home daycare. Again, hopefully something that will change at some point and we will be able to do adopt from foster. I guess we’ll see. Who knows what the future is going to bring!

    Like

    • I knew you’d understand these thoughts! I often feel a lot of guilt that we are doing an international adoption, but not a “real” international adoption because we are essentially just doing a domestic infant adoption just a might higher cost with the hopes of speeding up the process.
      Also, I think you are amazing! Adoption aside, you are just one of those people who is leaving a positive impact on the world and makes me smile on a regular basis. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s just awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

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