Random thoughts on ‘you did the right thing’…

20 Feb

Why do adoptees often say to their first parent (or parents) some version of: you did the right thing?

How do they know this?

How can anyone know this?

I can’t say the decision made was the right thing, any more than I can say it was the wrong thing, for me or for them. Do adoptees say it based on the relationship they have/had with the parents who adopted them? Where their adopted life lead them? Neither reason seems logical because without knowing who they’d be, where they’d be if they hadn’t been adopted, makes any comparison moot. Even if you had everything you needed and your life was filled with love, you don’t know how your other life would have turned out, whether your first family would be like they are today if they’d made a different choice(s) when you were born, both for you, and for them.

Or do adoptees say this because of the loyalty factor that comes into play when you are adopted; when you have two families and there’s a societal need to know adoption is a good.

Or does it simply boil down to it’s expected of adoptees.




Posted by on February 20, 2021 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

11 responses to “Random thoughts on ‘you did the right thing’…

  1. Dannie

    February 20, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    On decision making in general, I tend to think decisions made are the right ones for that time and shouldn’t be replayed as what if. For example one person forgives in a marriage and at an impasse decides that staying married is the goal, maybe someone else gets to that impasse and decides divorce needs to happen. Is one decision more Holy than another or did a person make the decision they felt was needed at the time? With adoption from foster care, there really was no decision as things were already decided for children before any permanent home comes into the picture so I can’t comment on that particular, but for any major decision, I do feel that the best way to go about life is to own it and come to terms that your decision was needed and right for you at the time and too much ‘what if’ cannot help progress. Now in cases of DÍA and how much coercion has happened, one could argue that a mother never really had a choice or didn’t make a choice on her own at times and that’s where it can get tricky and fuzzy and where it breaks down. Maybe adoptees say this to appease both sides…..maybe the goal should be not to say something that we think we need to say and just focus on how a choice/decision made them who they are? Not sure……good food for thought.


    • TAO

      February 20, 2021 at 4:20 pm

      “maybe the goal should be not to say something that we think we need to say and just focus on how a choice/decision made them who they are? ”

      I don’t know Dannie, it always bemuses me when I hear adoptees say that. Logic dictates you can’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dannie

        February 20, 2021 at 5:39 pm

        Yeah I think other people cannot really comment on another’s decisions in life because it wasn’t theirs to make or deal with. So maybe it’s a little of either loyalty at play or not wanting anyone to feel bad about their decision but then that’s really a gray area.

        Liked by 1 person

        • TAO

          February 20, 2021 at 5:49 pm

          Yeah, never was put in the position to have to come up with an answer/statement – just mulling on it this morning.


  2. cb

    February 20, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Being in reunion with my very nice extended family, it has always been a statement that never sat right to me – I feel that saying “I would thank her for giving me a better life” might feel like a slap in their faces.

    I think if my bmother had lived, I would have preferred to say something like “I would like to reassure you that I had a good life”. I would probably also try to reassure her that I understood that she was trying to do the best she could given the position she was in, the (lack of) resources available and the advice given.

    Liked by 3 people

    • TAO

      February 20, 2021 at 8:44 pm

      Exactly CB


  3. Heather

    February 21, 2021 at 1:11 am

    I feel like society has put so much emphasis on adoptees being “given away to have a BETTER life” that it has become expected. If you were adopted OF COURSE you had a better life, did you really want to grow up in poverty or an orphanage?!? There is also the assumption made that adoptive parents are happily married and better off financially.

    I agree that there is no way to know.

    I have said in the past that my son has a different life than he would have had if I had raised him. Better or worse is such a judgement.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. beth62

    February 21, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    Polite, Humble, Secure, Positive and Grateful says, “Thank you, I’m fine, it was the right thing, the best decision.”

    My mother said, at first, in ‘the explanation”,
    “When they told me about adoption, I immediately knew it was the right thing”
    Our discussions have been much deeper and very, very different since then. I understood what she meant, and understood that that opinion was very short lived, and why she had it at that time, and kept it to survive it. But still thought about giving her a good punch in the nose as my response. We’ve traded many apologies and explanations for “dumb” things we’ve said to each other, before we noticed how it might, or could be taken in a different way.

    I’ve learned to avoid giving my opinion on most of it. My siblings reacted differently to the same comments, or opinions shared.
    It’s so hard to know what to say. Seems like anything can twist to be a slap, a kick or a punch. A simple thank you, mentioning it wasn’t perfect, that it was perfect, or better, or worse, or even an, I’m just glad we survived. It can all go in different directions easily.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Robyn C

    February 27, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    I think it’s situational. “You did the right thing” depends a lot on each individual situation. It may be more correct to say, “Given how things turned out, I think you did the right thing.” On the flip side, “You did the wrong thing” has the same issues. How do you know? You can’t know with certainty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      February 27, 2021 at 10:11 pm

      It is something that has never made sense because it is unknowable. Thanks for weighing in.

      Liked by 1 person


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