adoption · adoption myths · adoptive parenting · anti-adoption · Little Man · parenting

Today As An Adoptive Mom

You know, most days, I am just Little Man’s mom. We do normal stuff. He calls me “mommy,” we go to the zoo, we watch Sesame Street. It’s not that I forget that he was adopted, but it’s not on the top of my list of things I think about.

But today…oh, today.

First, in my MOPS meeting our guest speaker was a family therapist. No big deal, I thought, until she handed out the family tree assignment. Honestly, I thought I had until at least kindergarten before I had to worry about this. And Little Man was in the preschool area, so he was happily riding around in a wagon playing with other kids. He wasn’t affected by this little assignment at all.

This time.

But I spent the entire time wondering how this paper, the terminology, the presentation, would affect him when he is faced with it. “Biological” and “family of origin” and such. (another reason homeschooling looks so good to me!)

I don’t say anything, though, because I don’t want to be the “difficult” one, or the one harping all the time about adoption education issues. But then another woman, a new woman to our group, one I have not yet met, raises her hand and says, “I was adopted. So how does this work for me?” I wanted to stand up and cheer and hug this woman.

Instead, I watched the speaker hem and haw and completely not answer her question or address her concerns. Then, I watched this brave adult adoptee look as if she was battling tears the rest of the presentation. I felt like her very valid concerns were dismissed…and I ached for her. She left before I got a chance to say anything to her, and I wasn’t sure what I would say, except, “Thank you for being brave and asking.”

So I was already unsettled tonight. That has been weighing heavily on me since this morning.


Oh, then.

My favorite TV show is on again!! “Parenthood” on NBC.

(sarcasm font)

Of course they are going to have an adoption story.

(sarcasm font done)

And three times the phrase “buy her baby” was used.

I about had a stroke. Even if (and it is a big IF) the writers are trying to portray what a potential adoptive couple might think or say to one another in private, it was tasteless.


Regardless of your stance on the need for reform in the adoption industry, the phrase “buy a baby” should NEVER be so much as hinted at. Now, some will say that you are buying a baby, so zip it, Rachel. And others will agree that when you pay for an adoption you are paying for professionals and services and not a human being.

Regardless… What a horrible thing to put forth on a television show thais widely regarded as good and real.

I realize that my son has a lifetime of adoption issues ahead of him. And I am not so naive as to believe having been adopted will have no effect on him or that my love is enough to heal his losses.

But I shudder at the thought of the carelessness with which he might be treated by people who should know better. I pray, fervently, that although confusion and anger may be a part of his life, that bitterness is never granted a foothold in his heart. I pray, fervently, that he knows who he is, as a child of God, regardless of who his family is and is not.

I pray that he never faces a professional unprepared to handle his questions.

I pray that he never, for even a second, thinks that we bought him like a pet or a piece of furniture.

I pray that he… Well, I just pray. Fervently.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

8 thoughts on “Today As An Adoptive Mom

  1. I have already started thinking about the family tree project. My parents are divorced and both remarried, so my tree was huge, but our daughter's will look different. I've decided to draw the tree with roots. The roots being her birth family members and the branches being our family.

    I've never seen the show you are talking about, but now I'm kind of glad I haven't!


  2. I'm sorry. When I would discuss the possibility of us adopting, which was a great possibility during our battle with infertility, and still want to do in the future, I have used the phrase, “buy a baby” or “go out and get one”. I'm sorry. I guess I never realized it offended so greatly.


  3. Oh and P.S. My Dad was adopted. And we always use his adopted family for our family tree, with a small asterisk by his name, labeling adopted at the bottom of the page. My grandfather is my grandfather. I know there's some folks in Ireland that cared enough to give my Dad up, but they are not in my family tree.


  4. I had to skip the parenthood part of your blog since I haven't seen it yet, but I did want to say something about your mops group. What is with your group always having such awkward moments? I seem to remember previous awkward encounters there. That was really insensitive of the speaker to not really deal with the question.

    I'm going to a new mops group tomorrow and am a little nervous about adoption issues, for some reason.


  5. Wow, the story about the adult adoptee in tears because of the family tree project. Really makes you think about our kids when they are older. Will we teach them the right way to handle it as they grow and have to do this project in school so that when they are adults.


  6. I have been silently reading your blog for a while and really love it! I had to de-lurk here because YESS Parenthood made me so angry! As we are waiting to adopt right now, and work so hard to dispell attitudes about the fees, etc, shows like this (or like Grey's Anatomy when they miraculously just get a baby from AFrica at the snap of their fingers) just destroy all the progress on educating our family and friends. My mom jokes when we have a good fundraising day “Yes, we bought an earlobe” and while she means no harm, it makes me mad 🙂



  7. Its not the family tree project that is wrong its the unfortunate reality that adopted people young and old are often frustrated at being unable to participate in these simple biology or anthropological lessons because they are prevented from having access to the same information everyone else has simply because their parents were unable to raise them. Someone else could have raised them without them having to call them their mother and father they could simply continue to refer to their parents as their parents and know their names because their birth certificate was never modified and their first middle and last names were never altered to suit the people raising them. Its possible to have custody of other people!led offspring and have the legal authority to act on behalf of another persons offspring without needing to be referred to as their mother or father, relatives and family friends do it all the tims- but they raise the child out of a desire to help the child and parents not out of a desire to be parents themselves.

    Why create a confusing a situation where we tell people they have more than one set of parents? Why confuse people into thinking their parents are now their ex parents by referring to them S birth mother or biological father? Why place a persons parents on a family tree as roots as if they are dead? People have all sorts of people!e they choose to think of as family that they would not put in their family tree.
    If its an exercise in either genetics or kinship relationships then really they should be able to simply fill the form out without having to worry that they owe it to the people raising them to put their names somewhere on that tree. When the doctor asks for our mothers health history they don’t care if their mother raised them or not because raising them does not make her their mother. Giving birth to them would not make her their mother. Them being her offspring makes her their mother and she should never be removed from their certificate nor should they ever loose inheritance rights or right to her birth marriage and death certificates or the certificates of other people who also have her named mother on their certificates. She can loose custody and control without loosing her title.

    The anguish caused is by the restriction of information and the sense that they owe it to whoever is raising them to pretend they are no longer a member of their own family in order to be worthy of food clothing and affection. Don’t get mad at the activity get mad at the reasons they are not able to freely participate in that activity due to a combination of withheld information and feelings of endebtedness.

    All they want in exchange for raising another persons offspring to adulthood is for that person to grow up thinking of them as their parent instead of their parents as parents because after all they are present and the pare ts are absent. Guilt goes a long way in getting the desired result but not quite as far and withholding identifying documentation that could vbe used to return to their family as adults and not as much as the government permanent fly Severn g legal recognition of them as members of their own family if they do find them or are in reunion.

    Don’t get mad at the assignment do what you can to help the adopted person be able to participate in the activity exactly the same way everyone else in the room is participating. If you have information they need then give it to them. If you sense they feel too guilty to write their mothers name iin the tree and the exercise is about genetics or decendancy rather than a list of people they live with or who raised the, tell them they ore over thinking it and not to sweat it. Tell them they don’t owe it to you to fail biology because u happen to coach their socor team and love them to death. It’s perfectly OK to just fill out the form according to the same rules as everyone else.

    You obviously care about this person same as if they were your own and they will feel that same way about u too good luck.


  8. No you did not buy a baby because people!e are not property to be bought or sold or earned or gifted. But people do profit from services offered related to these transfers of custody and that is in a d of itself an ethical question to ponder. If someone is willing to raise another persons offspring to adulthood why should they have to pay o e red cent for services related to that transfer of custody beyond filing fees? And paying for professional services related to adoption gets more and more fishy when one realizes that service fees might be very low or non existent if the minor is likely to become a state funded ward of the court due to disability, age, race etc. Fees are higher for the desired minors and prices are slashed for damaged goods.which is why it feels so very much lime the sale of human beings even though its really not.

    Peop!e are paying for services that will obtain them a child whose identity and legal kinship will be erased and replaced permanently in exchange for a service fee without the consent of that person. Names of parents are changed on birth certificates as if the person were a car and their vital health record were a pink slip – certificate of property title – parental title. No you can’t buy a person but the certificate of title creates the illusion of a property transfer and people have a visceral reaction to that. Its reasonable.

    Look at it as a teaching opportunity -educate them about payment being for services not a baby and people will understand better.


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