Someone much wiser than I, explained the problem with saying to an adoptee that they should be grateful they were adopted. I have always had problems explaining just why that statement sticks in my craw, and I know it bothers other too.
Grateful for being adopted – no…
Grateful, as in appreciative of the life I was given and my parents who adopted me – yes…
Besides the obvious fact that being grateful for loosing your family just seems wrong on any level, the wording of it, “you should be grateful for being adopted“, may create a feeling of forced indebtedness, from which the adoptee can’t ever get out from under. That feeling of indebtedness, could become a destructive force in the relationship when you are expected to feel a certain way.
On the other hand, having appreciation for what you have been given in life, and the people in your life, is beneficial and we should all be appreciative of the good life brings us. The value of everything is enhanced, and relationships are easy, lasting, and filled with joy.
Not sure there is much else to say, but thought I would share for those who don’t understand the knee-jerk reaction to that statement. As to why indebtedness – early adoption history is intertwined with indentured children, and not so long ago either. I thought it would add to the topic to delve into it a bit.
I found this scanned pdf of a study to be fascinating, thought-provoking, and educational. It was interesting to note that even back then, age played a role in whether the child was adopted after they were indentured to the family. Only 10% of the children who stayed indentured were placed at under three years of age, and 57% of the indentured children who were adopted, were placed under the age of three. It also notes that 47% of the indentured children who were adopted were illegitimate, and thus entered the state public school at an earlier age.
Anyone who enjoys adoption or foster care history should take the time to read the study below – some parts you can skim over.
Children indentured by the Wisconsin State Public School (a study 1925)
“Of the total 827 children indentured during the selected period 298 had been legally adopted, 268 were still wards of the institution on April 1, 1925, and 261 had been released from jurisdiction before that date. either because they had become 18 years of age or had been transferred to other institutions or because they had been restored to the legal custody of their parents by order of the State board of control. The records of children who had been legally adopted after beings indentured were eliminated from the number to be considered in selecting cases to be revisited. Of the 529 other children who had been placed in indenture homes during the five-year period, the histories of 452 (228 who had been released from jurisdiction and 224 who were still wards) who were followed up by the bureau agents the selection being made entirely on the basis of geographical availability and the number that could be covered during the period of the study.”