Lori has great post up about adoption not being a one time event, well worth the time to pop over there and check it out, if you haven’t already read it. Of course, it sparked a thought that keeps popping into my mind when the subject is discussed based on the inevitable statement made by some prospective and adoptive parents – I don’t want my child to be defined by adoption, it’s an event that happened in the past. That’s what this post is about.
The fear that their child will be defined by being adopted. The way it is said, it’s their deepest fear about adopting, and I think there can be two separate reasons.
The first reason is that admitting to be adopted, that you will always be adopted, means you are different from other people. We are. Adoptive families are. To acknowledge that being adopted is part of what makes you, you, somehow makes an adoptive family less real, which is nonsense, and your own internal projections of how you view adoption and adoptive families.
The second reason is the assumption that being adopted, instead of was adopted, will be the only thing that defines them, is also nonsense. That it’s not possible to acknowledge your child will always be adopted for fear it will consume everything else about them, and only leave a shell of a human being defined solely by being adopted. What utter nonsense.
Yet, often, those same people who don’t want their child defined by being adopted, also try to make adoption seem almost miraculous, you can’t have it both ways.
The over-the-top hype that adoption is beautiful, love. Almost as if every mother should be so selfless to give their baby a better life instead of parenting, look at the beautiful happy families formed because of the selfless birthmother (father’s seldom exist in that world). And not to forget the ‘chose life’ rhetoric that makes the adopted child, the poster child in a battle they should never be part of. That poster-child effect actually does become the defining way other people see adoptees, aka, you could have been aborted. Personally, if my entire being had to be defined by others as one of the two; I’d rather be defined by being adopted vs. you could have been aborted, but that’s a post for another day.
Nevertheless, the battle cry persists, my child will not be defined by being adopted, and they will be, if we admit that adoption is more than a one time event that happened in the distant past.
The notion that being adopted is so encompassing as to overwhelm everything else your child may be, I’d like to know how people could possibly think that could happen. I’ve never met an adoptee whose entire self can be summed up into one word; adopted. But apparently, they believe nothing else will make them who they are, not their profession, being a wife or husband, a mom or dad. Not to mention all the other intrinsic parts of what makes you unique. Everything about you, defines you. Where you live, what values you hold, what’s important to you, what you’re interested in, who your friends are, whether you are an animal person, a reader or non reader, tidy or messy, outgoing or shy, the type of humor you like, the causes you support, the profession you choose, what life-altering events happened to you. The list is endless of what defines who you are, what makes you unique to everyone else. That none of that defines who you are if you are adopted, instead of was adopted? Again, utter nonsense.
Yet, I truly believe they think – if you say you are adopted, you can only be that, nothing else.
Can people not see how ridiculous it is to think that way? No one is wholly defined by being adopted, or anything else for that matter. Being adopted does make a big difference in who you are, it changed the entire course of your life, there are many ways it affects you throughout your life (good and/or bad), but it is not the only thing that defines you.
No one can only be defined by being adopted.
If you think acknowledging that being adopted defines the person, you have some internal biases and prejudices that you need to work on. Start with what’s wrong with being an adoptive family and go from there because if you can’t see you are a real family, no one else will either, especially if you keep bringing it up and wanting to be seen the same as a biological family. It isn’t the same, it’s different, your view on what different means, just might be the problem.