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Adoption, How Can We Change The Stigma?

November 15, 2009

There is no doubt in my mind that adoption is often thought of as second best, second-rate. “Oh how sad they couldn’t have their own child!  Isn’t is wonderful how they took that little boy in. ”  “I just think it is so wonderful you could adopt, I just don’t think I could ever do that.”  “Does he know he is adopted, will you tell him?”  (Just a side note, this comment I always find extremely ridiculous.  My son is biracial and my husband and myself are white.  How could we not tell him?  Get real people !)  Anyway, on and on the comments come and go, mindless, thoughtless, well-intentioned I’m sure, but none the less, hurtful.  At times, we even find ourselves thinking the very same things, if we are willing to be honest and admit it.

Which made me start thinking, how can we change this? 

It suddenly came to me, maybe we should shout it from the rooftops, with pride and celebration.  Yes, I adopted my son.  Of course with our families and friends there is always much celebration, but as time goes on, people just stop talking about it.  My closest family members often say, I just don’t think of him as being adopted.  There it is again.  The implication being that he is not as good as.

Maybe the best way to fight this mind-set is to start talking about it more.  How about if we viewed adoption from a different perspective.  Aren’t we all humans?  Aren’t we all children of God, each one of us a unique creation ?  In this country, aren’t we supposed to view everyone as equal?  How dare we imply that someone is less,  because they were adopted.  Why aren’t we, as a society, filled with outrage that anyone is viewed as second-rate, second best?  Why, as adoptive parents do we find ourselves trying to defend our children, our motives and ourselves?   Do birth parents defend their decision to have a child?  Are they asked about their motives to have a child?  Sometimes yes, but very rarely to their face.  Yet people see no problem asking these same questions of adoptive parents and to their face!  Why don’t we just prattle on and on about all the details of the adoption just like parents do about children they have given birth to?  How many times have you been told birth weight, inches, the details of labor, without even asking?  As a society, what does it say about us that so many children, right here, right now, need a home?  Shouldn’t we view all children as blessing from God?  Shouldn’t we be outraged that so many children go without a loving home?  What will become of us if we don’t take care of these children?  Don’t people love to spout the adage, “It takes a village.”?  Well, if that is true, then aren’t we responsible to do the best we can for all children, without distinction ? 

I don’t know.  I’m just wondering out loud so to speak.  I do know that something has to change in the way we view adoption. This idea that it is second best, second-rate is like something out of the 50’s.  What year is this?   I do know it is crucial for our children, for all children and our future that this “stigma” is faced openly, questioned, and dealt with.

How can we change this hidden negative stigma that adoption still has ?


3 Comments leave one →
  1. mccgood permalink
    November 15, 2009 12:20 pm

    I brought this up in my counseling session just this past Tuesday. I kept asking ” why do I feel less than because we are investigating the adoption process/route. We talked about this at great length without any great answers.

    • November 15, 2009 2:52 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I agree, if we ourselves feel second best because of our decision to adopt, how on earth can our adopted children ever feeling anything else? I must confess when we were exploring both fertility treatments and adoption, (at the same time), there were times I felt like a failure and not as good as just because I was having trouble having a birth child. There are days I still fight that feeling, and that may be the core of the problem. Somehow, we must get past the devaluing idea that infertility makes us damaged goods, less than, and not as good as. But , how to do that?

  2. srlsfamily permalink
    November 21, 2009 3:13 pm

    I don’t think I feel second best because of my adoptions. I feel different to be sure but I think as there are more and more people adopting, it becomes less different. It is amazing to me how many people who tell me that they also adopted when I share that my kids are adopted.

    I try and take a balanced approach. I am not afraid to tell people I adopted (and being single, in some ways … it is more socially acceptable that my kids are adopted) but I also don’t want it to be the only thing that DEFINES my kids. It is part of them – not just their history – and I am not embarassed by it and I don’t want them to be embarassed by it.

    I love how you are addressing some of these topics. It’s important to think about.

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