How much does ‘fit’ have to do with the adoptee experience

30 Apr

I read an article on the results of a study on friends and what I call ‘fit’ and want to talk about how it relates to being adopted and how we experienced being adopted.  I am not saying fit is all there is, it isn’t, I’m saying I think it is a big component in adoption for the adoptee.  I have two life-long friends where there is no work required to maintain the relationship, whether a day or several years pass without talking, we just fit effortlessly and it’s always like we talked yesterday.  I had that same fit with dad, less so with mom.

This morning Lakshmi tweeted this which explains the opposite of fit very well:

This is the article that sparked this post and explains in detail what I mean by fit.  Who are your real friends? Your brainwaves can tell

How do we move people to a world where It’s normal for a range of experiences and views on being adopted is expected.  Where we assume no two experiences being adopted will be alike.  Where we don’t hold adoptees up who “had a good experience” as the ideal and dismiss those who “had a bad experience”.  I want to see a shift in the narrative of adoption spoken by adoptive parents, first parents, and adoption professionals to embrace the complexity of the adopted life and the individuals in it.  To push back on any narrative that limits adoptees to either the good adoptee/experience or the angry adoptee/bad experience and remove the blame placed on the adoptee for how they view their experience (just be grateful).

To focus the discussion on ways to bring more care, attention, education at the start of any adoption, how good the fit is between the two families, the personalities, the likes and dislikes.   How to achieve, whenever possible, that the adoptee won’t feel like an other within a family of likeness.

While in theory: domestic infant adoption has expectant parents picking the adopting parents, which should help the fit aspect which I think is probably the most crucial in terms of the adoptee, how well does it work in reality when they are initially basing their choices from profiles carefully created to put their best forward.  Profiles that are increasingly created by professionals to sell that family to expecting parents.

Questions I have and welcome comments and discussion on this:

Do you think fit is an important part of the adoptee experience.  Why or why not.

Are expecting parents encouraged to pick profiles they see themselves and interests mirrored back, or is what the hopeful adoptive offer the expectant parents and also the child higher up on the priority.  Is this part of the discussion an adoption counselor has with the expecting parents.

Are expectant parents encouraged to pick several families and to spend time with them to ensure the fit is there.  Are expectant dads even part of that process the majority of the time because we get half our dna from each parent and that matters in regards to fit.

It’d be helpful to hear from adoption professionals on how they talk about fit (if they do), from first parents on what they were told was important to look for, what they did, from adopting parents on the subject as well, if they looked for it, if they walked away because the fit wasn’t there.



Posted by on April 30, 2018 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , ,

13 responses to “How much does ‘fit’ have to do with the adoptee experience

  1. Dannie

    April 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    I’m not a professional, but do you think you can tell “fit” when a child is a baby? I’m always in awe of my daughter because she is nothing like me. She’s so feminine and likes so many things I never had any interest in, but she fascinates me and I’m learning so much. I also tell her that I hope she will shop with me when I’m old and give me fashion advice. 🙂 She’s an introvert and I’m an extrovert, but yet it seems to fit as she is so like my mom and they lock horns at times even though my mom totally thinks she’s second mom lol
    So I always assumed that when you have a kid, you just get fascinated by them and their individuality even if they aren’t mini clones…..or maybe that’s not even the point…..I guess I’m just wondering how this would look like. I do find the question very valid and thought provoking


    • TAO

      April 30, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      I don’t know how to explain “fit” perfectly. With dad, we certainly weren’t alike in all things, or even many things, ex. he had a strength of will that I will never have for more than 10 minutes or so. But there was a comfortableness between us that existed, like with my two long time friends. Other friends I’ve had throughout life didn’t have that instinctive comfortableness and we drifted off after what connected us in the first place was gone. Those with that feeling of comfortableness stayed that way, we didn’t have to agree on everything, it just was.

      I don’t think you could tell with a baby. I do think you could tell with their parents and I think that’s important, because if you don’t get that feeling with them, do you really think you’re going to feel that way with your child that came from them?


    • TAO

      April 30, 2018 at 7:04 pm

      Look at you and I and all the years we’ve chatted – we have some things in common, many things not in common – but we can pick up and leave off without worry the other won’t be there next time. That’s the comfortableness thing I’m talking about…


  2. Laksh

    April 30, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    I kind of think of it as a soul connection for lack of a better term. There are some people with whom I can sit in silence and not feel the want or need to talk. With my twins, I feel that strongly with one. With the other I have to put in effort for the same stuff that comes naturally with the other. So, yeah while fit will be awesome if it can be planned I doubt we can get that in a few meetings as APs and expectant moms. I am lucky to have that connection with my children’s other mother. I don’t know if I will feel as compelled to reach out if that fit was missing. We have now grown as people and friends and have interests beyond our children that connect us.


    • TAO

      April 30, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      Soul connection is a good term – I was trying to come up with anything other than fit – yours is better. I hope it’s at least in their mind – because the more I mull on it, the more I think it makes all the difference long-term, but the long-term openness I can see it very valuable as you say, and over the long-run for the one adopted. (really long run-on sentence – my brain is tired). 🙂


  3. flrpwll

    May 1, 2018 at 4:41 am

    I can only speak from the perspective of an adult adoptee. I think “fit” is an important thing, but it really depends on personality as well – and that is something that is so variable.
    I don’t know what questions are asked, or any of that.
    It would be a good idea to know about what kind of “people” the adoptive and biological families are. It seems so superficial, but there is not a single white collar worker in my biological family – we all have physical jobs, one way or another. My adoptive family is full of accountants, personal assistants, and bankers. IF potential adoptive families are fine with their future child taking a vastly different path than the rest of the family; awesome! If there is a bit of “we don’t do that kind of thing”, however, it can cause problems and disappointment later on.


    • TAO

      May 1, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Good points – and yes, personality is key too.


  4. pj

    May 3, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    I had to read this several times. I get the whole ‘fit” thing.,, but then I don’t. Also just speaking from the perspective of an adult adoptee, and a closed adoption.
    My parents were solidly blue collar, dad had a GED. Bio mom was an “esoteric genius”, her father an engineer and many in the family are well-educated professionals.
    Mom and I ( was a handful !) were sooo different and had many battles, but she fought for me until the day she died. She and dad supported, encouraged and loved me unconditionally and I believe that’s what made all the difference. They didn’t care if I wanted to be a housekeeper or a rocket scientist, as long as I was happy. I ended up with several degrees and a life filled with opportunity. Thanks, mom and dad…even if we didn’t always “fit”. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      May 3, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      I think perhaps you’ve shared an example of fit.

      Funny – that’s what mom said – your dad always just wanted you to be happy.


  5. Pj

    May 3, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Tao, sometimes I think we could be sisters 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tiffany

    May 7, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    I think this is hard because children don’t always “fit” even when they stay within their biological family (I am a very odd sheep in my own family, and always felt misunderstood by my parents, and I still do). My daughter who was born to me and I have some things in common, but she is a lot like her dad’s family in most ways. My daughter who we adopted is much more like me, randomly, in many ways. But both my daughters are very unique people, and I recognize that it takes an effort on my part to connect with them and make them feel accepted and seen, so to speak. I truly think this comes down to the personality types of the parents, honestly, whether adoptive or not. If you are willing to be the kind of parents pj mentioned up above, where you just accept your kids whoever and however they are, and let them know that, or if you are going to be the kind of parent who just cannot get over not having a cookie cutter of yourself and don’t know how to relate to a child who is not a mini version of yourself (and that is a pretty rare occurrence to have that), or you are somewhere in between, which describes my parents who I think tried but were never successful at understanding me or making me feel that they were ok with whoever I was.


    • TAO

      May 7, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      You may be right Tiffany – I don’t really know. Both mom and dad were like peas in a pod in their families, almost uncanny in many ways.


      • Tiffany

        May 7, 2018 at 8:18 pm

        I am sure it is harder as an adoptee because you already feel inevitably different. Even if it can happen to anyone, I suppose it feels worse on top of everything else.

        Liked by 1 person


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