It happens at least several times a week, we all hear it. “You’re a Saint”, “These kids are so lucky”, “You’re so great for doing this (adopting)”. When we hear this, we cringe. Yes, we actually cringe! Ask any adoptive parent, I am pretty sure they will all tell you they hate to hear this.
We get it, we understand why you are saying it, and we realize that it is coming from a good place, but these words are not what we want to hear. Adoption is neither a badge or a scare. It just is a different way to build a family.
Here is why these words make us feel uncomfortable…we are not special. We have decided to grow our families in a different way than you. We get that this is not your path, and there may be things about adoption that you don’t understand, but that’s why we chose this path and you didn’t
Any adoptive parent that takes delight in hearing these words is in it for the wrong reasons. To say that we ‘rescued’ our children, means that they needed rescuing, and the truth is, our children rescued us. They rescued us from a black and white, mundane life without giggles, playfulness and the joys of being a parent.
It becomes offensive and damaging when people actually say this within earshot of our littles. This is counter productive to the stories we have told them. Most of our stories include the idea that they grew in our hearts, we loved them before we met them, we searched for them, and they made our lives complete. This scenario of the parent is a saint, and the child is lucky contradicts the story we have told them. It replaces their story with the feeling that the children were “saved” and are indebted to the parents.
We love our children just as you do. It’s easy for us. Next time, consider telling us how lucky we are to have such amazing kids!