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Expectations of greater love…

09 Apr

Just read a blog post about how someone who isn’t adopted, but has always assumed, that if you are adopted – that the love you have for your adoptive parents is greater than the love that a non-adopted child would have for their mom and dad.  Reasons cited is that the child was chosen, money was paid, and sacrifices made.  I’m not linking to the post – but it was also a religious post musing about being adopted by God and comparing the two – which doesn’t work for me.

I don’t know about you, but how I love, doesn’t have anything to do with degrees.  When I love someone, I love them, not 50% less than I love someone else, or 50% more than I love that other person.  What do I really know though – perhaps to other people, love is a matter of degrees, personally, I don’t think that love works that way – or that math is involved.

I think the blogger is confusing love with loyalty – that if you were adopted, then you must have greater loyalty to those who took you in, because no one forced them to make that choice, and you benefited.  That you owe them more, so you must be more grateful to them for life, than a normal child would be expected to be.  That indebted for life feeling.  Which all circles back to the never-ending Lucky and Grateful rhetoric that also never ends, mostly from others, but of course, there will be some adoptive parents who fervently want that too…

That added burden should never be put on adopted children just because they are adopted – especially as they lost their family to be adopted, and then to be expected to pay off this extra debt to the people who took them in?  Isn’t the loss of their entire family through no fault of their own, enough of a burden to live with?  I think it is, and I haven’t even touched on those who also lost their country, language, culture, and/or in the case of transracial adoption, growing up in a family (and likely community as well), who are a different race.

Just like non-adopted children, adopted children should just be loved for who they are, not the amount of extra loyalty they will have, and what it can do for you.

I don’t know why I’m writing about this, or even if it makes sense, as I’m terribly exhausted today – I guess it just touched a nerve that here we are in 2015 – and people still think, adopted people owe a greater debt to our parents than if we’d were raised in our family of birth.  As if we choose to be adopted.  Do they not use their common sense that people who adopt, want to be parents?  That no one forced them to adopt. That, even if they felt forced by their religion, or some other reason – that still is on them, and that burden, should not be put on the children.

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13 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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13 responses to “Expectations of greater love…

  1. Elizabeth

    April 9, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Honestly, I sometimes wonder if I love my adoptive parents very much at all. I know I love them, I really do, but I also see how they treat my non-adopted brothers differently. It makes me question, is it because I’m the oldest, or a girl, or because I’m not really theirs? Growing up, they were stricter on me, so that burden of having to outperform in order to be loved was felt very strongly. I don’t know if they held me to that burden or if I did it to myself, but it’s created a problem for me in my other relationships as well.

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    • TAO

      April 9, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Probably a mix of all – what percentage to each – only you would know. I don’t have the experience of having biological siblings – just adopted ones. I do think some / perhaps many adoptees work hard to prove people’s perception of adoptees wrong…

      Thanks for commenting…

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  2. L4R

    April 9, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    I’m glad you’re writing about this. We cannot let these types of opinions pass as facts. We have to keep fighting against the belief that we owe a debt. We owe no more than a biological child would owe.

    However, my love isn’t all or nothing. For me, there are degrees. I love my cousins but not as much as I love my best friend, for example.

    I haven’t seen the blog to which you refer, but it’s just another example of the expectation of gratitude and indebtedness that we all too often have to deal with.

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    • TAO

      April 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      I see what you mean about degrees – but isn’t that more of a expression of preference (not the right word) because you have things in common that bind you together, rather than just because they are part of your extended family? Who knows what I’m trying to say – you know my mind splutters when I over-tired.

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  3. L4R

    April 9, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Sure, it’s about a preference. I love my best friend more because we do have more commonalities, etc.

    And, I think love can also diminish. I give people many chances to redeem themselves before I throw in the towel. But, after a while , my love for them begins to wither by degrees.

    And, don’t parents love their children more than most of their other loved ones? I think love, for many of us, does have degrees.

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    • TAO

      April 9, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      You are probably right – just the way it was worded and my biases…

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  4. cb

    April 9, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    “I think the blogger is confusing love with loyalty – that if you were adopted, then you must have greater loyalty to those who took you in, because no one forced them to make that choice, and you benefited. That you owe them more, so you must be more grateful to them for life, than a normal child would be expected to be. That indebted for life feeling. Which all circles back to the never-ending Lucky and Grateful rhetoric that also never ends, mostly from others, but of course, there will be some adoptive parents who fervently want that too…”

    I think also there is the comparative thing when it comes to loyalty. How often does one read an “adoptee testimony” where the adoptee says “I owe my aparents because “they stood up to the plate” in a way my bparents weren’t prepared to do”.

    I was reading this article by an adoptee (linked via a popular adoption site (not a. com)):

    http://www.vox.com/2015/3/17/8203507/adoption-children-experiences

    and there was a bit in it that really summed up the above loyalty:

    **8) Giving birth doesn’t make you a parent; parenting does
    This lesson has been so thoroughly gobbled up by well-meaning public service announcements and the like that it’s easy to forget just how powerful the notion is. The idea of dedicating yourself to the proper care and education of a tiny human being, that he or she might someday grow up into an adult who will leave you behind and chart a new path — that’s incredibly powerful.

    In my experience, adoptees are more aware of this than lots of people. One friend I’ve talked to in the past (who declined to be interviewed for this article) told me he had no desire to ever find his biological parents, because they had forfeited their right to be his parents when they gave him up. No matter what conflicts he had with his adoptive parents, no matter how he disappointed them or they him, they were the people who’d stuck out their necks to raise him, who’d made mistakes, who’d been there when he needed them.

    So much of childhood is defined by how we position ourselves in relation to our parents, how they go from seemingly omnipotent superbeings to our super-cool, super-smart landlords to people we can’t stand to real, live human beings with flaws and strengths, like anybody else. Even the worst adoptive parents mark themselves as parents by that willingness to be the people their children define themselves against for the better part of their lives.***

    It is hard to know whether the above “friend” actually loves his aparents. He seems to feel loyalty to them because “hey at least they were there” (unspoken context – “unlike my bparents”). it seems to me to be default attachment rather that true attachment.

    As the article writer himself says:

    “When you’re adopted, at some level, your story is defined by a person who did not want you. Not wanting you may have been defined by wanting the best for you — in fact, most of the time it is. But it’s still this factor in your life that you have no control over, an internal mechanism that can tell you constantly you’re not good enough, if you’ll let it.”

    Now, as an adult who knows more about my bmother/bfamily’s situation than before, I don’t think my adoption had anything to do with being “wanted” or not “wanted”. However, it has often struck me that post-War Western adoption relied on the feeling of being unwanted to engender loyalty to one’s adoptive parents – that, in fact, records were sealed so that the story could be kept intact.

    Maybe I am overthinking things but even just on a basic level, one can feel “safe” to express loyalty to one’s APs because well, yeah, they are in our lives and did choose to parent us. It is often also about “guarding one’s heart” – for many of us, we may never know what went throughout our bparents minds and hearts and thus don’t want to feel like a fool.

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  5. eagoodlife

    April 10, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    Love by degrees?

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  6. eagoodlife

    April 10, 2015 at 1:12 am

    How often we come across ideas which need to be challenged because they are based on assumptions. How we feel about our parents is so individual and cannot be defined by anyone but ourselves. When I met my mother at 50 there was not time to learn to love her. I loved my aparents as a child and experienced loyalty which gradually dissipated as I discovered how my afather had rejected me from my teen years onwards. His part in maintaining the fabrication about my mother kept us from meeting for a decade longer than necessary. He certainly fought to adopt me but his commitment didn’t seem to last. It really is time the non-adopted stopped telling us how to think, feel, behave and live!

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  7. yan

    April 10, 2015 at 11:50 am

    “Now, as an adult who knows more about my bmother/bfamily’s situation than before, I don’t think my adoption had anything to do with being “wanted” or not “wanted”. However, it has often struck me that post-War Western adoption relied on the feeling of being unwanted to engender loyalty to one’s adoptive parents – that, in fact, records were sealed so that the story could be kept intact.”

    This is the most logical argument I’ve ever heard for the altered sealed records.

    I do love my adoptive parents. But I also felt an intense loyalty to them that kept me from searching for 16 years. At this stage in my life, I only deal with my mothers, adoptive and first, and I often feel torn by loyalties. Those loyalties come from the larger adoption narrative more than they come from either of these women, and that’s harder to deal with than one individual’s demands. I’m working on sorting it out, though.

    I think there are some “degrees” to love, but for me, they are based more on knowledge. How well do I know someone I love? Distant family? Not well. I have felt connected to my first mother since I first met her again, but that connection was weird because it wasn’t based on knowledge of her as a person, or on her knowledge of me as a person. As we’ve gotten to know one another, yes, there is love, too.

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  8. Lisa

    April 11, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    “Just like non-adopted children, adopted children should just be loved for who they are, not for the extra amount of loyalty they will have, and what it can do for you . . . ”
    Word.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  9. Val

    May 2, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Great. Well written. I am adopted and now a young adult. I totally agree with this and have been turning words like this around in my heard for awhile too. I often feel slight non verbal pressure from my adopted parents about this exact thing. I feel like they think I should be so loyal and always want to be close with them for life, when in reality yes I do care for them and am so thankful but in reality I do feel like I lost a lot loosing my bio family and never having that. And now I just want to be my own complete indvidual person. and be happy and have my own little family one day. ❤

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  10. Nara

    May 18, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Reblogged this on From zero to zygote and commented:
    I get this all the time when anyone finds out I’m adopted. “Oh that’s fantastic!”… “Your parents are amazing.” etc… I had this from someone just this morning.

    I would say I’ve had a positive adoption experience (though some would say I have repressed feelings about this!) – I have a great family and I feel that I’ve been fortunate in life. But this post really resonated with me because it’s so true: I think adopted people are expected to feel super grateful for having been adopted (not aborted, not brought up in a negative environment, etc)… We are expected to show more gratefulness, more love than those who are not adopted.

    It’s something to think about. For those interested in adoption, I would really recommend this blog…

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