In the comments to my blog Is There Such a Thing as a Happy Adoptee? a prospective adoptive parent said, “All I was really looking for was some reassurance that I wasn’t guaranteed to make some child miserable just because I could never be biologically connected to them.” Mei-Ling, an adult adopted from Taiwan as an infant, responded:
You are looking for the reassurance that love is enough in adoption. While I wouldn’t say adoption in itself equals a life of misery for any child, in a permanent state of forever, I do wonder if knowing that a child who has been given a ton of love and “the world” (metaphorically speaking) and who still ends up not liking adoption, would be considered “enough.” That is to say, if the child dearly loves his/her parents, and the parents love that child to the end of the earth, yet all this love in the world is not enough to prevent the hurt caused by adoption, then is it still worth it? If you love your child more than life itself, and your child loves you just as much, yet your child does not like that the adoption had to happen in order for you to have become the parent… then would you still do it, knowing this?
Wow, talk about a thought provoking question. I can’t speak for all adoptive parents (I don’t believe in the concept of the generic adoptive parent any more than I believe in the generic adoptee), but I think our children’s love would be more than enough for most of us.
Don’t get me wrong–I want very much to protect my kids from the hurts of life. I would give anything to protect them from the potentially big “hurts” such as learning disabilities, birth defects, and having been adopted. Heck, I’d give a lot to protect them from the lesser hurts of life as well, such as not making the soccer team, being passed over for much deserved school recognition, and from snarky mean friends. Unfortunately, this type of protection is beyond my ability no matter how much I love them.
Most adoptive parents aren’t seeking a perfect child or a child without the scars of life. Truth be told, no person will get through life without events they wished had not happened; events that have scarred them. A fair number of parents come to adoption from the awful experience of infertility. They too are scarred; they too wish that they hadn’t had to endure that experience. In the end, most are reasonably happy well-adjusted people madly in love with the children they are parenting.
I wish my children had not had to experience adoption in order for me to be their parent. I imagine my kids will feel the same. At the same time, I’m immensely thankful that I am their parent, and I hope they are relatively happy that they are my child. I hope they are also happy that they are the child of their birth family. A lot of adoptive parents wish they had not had to experience infertility in order to become a parent, but they are thankful that they are parenting the child that they have.
All most of us parents want, regardless whether we arrive at parenting through adoption or pregnancy, is to love and be loved, and the privilege of walking through life from childhood to adulthood with this beautiful child of ours.