Eternal Sadness of the Adoption Kind

"I hear this [from adopters] all the time. ‘We’re the real parents…’

Do you know what adoptive parents really mean by that? What they really mean is, "We’re not real parents, and if our child searches for and finds her [ ]parents, she will abandon us and we will be what we were before we adopted: childless."

People who have to assert who they really are don’t know who they really are. " Adoptive Parents: Fables, Facts, Fears by L. Anne Babb, Ph.D.

They have lived in my neighborhood for over a year. Maybe more. They live two houses away. They have been “wave” neighbors.

I am not the overly outdoorsy type. When I am home, I am home. I hire someone to do my landscaping, get my car washed by a service and IF I should work out, I do it at my gym. I rarely have a reason to just hang out outside and possibly run into my neighbors.

Too bad really. I learned on Friday that there are a few really nice ones. I should have taken the time sooner but the waving seemed to suffice.

One of the neighbors is moving and another neighbor had a goodbye party for them. It was great. Kids played outdoors at the playscape nearly all evening and the adults noshed on snackies, wine and a few beers. I chatted with T about her Downs Syndrome affected child. I chatted with MJ about her new home. I chatted with Kate about her adorable two year old daughter.  And then I met Linda.

I would guess that Linda and her husband, a very nice gent, are in their late 40s maybe early 50s.  He certainly looked older. They were very pleasant and we joked about how long they had been in the neighborhood and I had not met them. Comments on hermits and winter time and seasonal affective disorder finally lead to children.

They don’t have any.


They are adopting from China.

My stomach sank.

It follows me. No matter where I go adoption is stuck to me like those hitchhiking burr thingees on your beach blanket.

I smiled. I said something pleasant, wished them luck and made a bee line for the appetizer table.

I don’t handle these situations well. While everyone else goos and gahs about how wonderful they are and how they are saving a child (“from CHINA of all places!”), I find myself losing oxygen.

They really are nice people. I really do like them. I tried to find some solace in the fact that it is China (as if that is somehow better than a domestic adoption) but I just couldn’t do it.  I am of the mindset that if I cannot say something nice I don’t say anything at all.

Oh, I wouldn’t have said anything obviously rude. I wouldn’t have offended them but I can guarantee you I would have felt compelled to ask about birth parents, searching in China, records, the lack of Chinese residents in our town and more. I just would not have been able to bite my tongue and it was an environment where tongue swallowing would have been preferred to biting. Had I started an adoption based conversation my soap box would surely have appeared and well, it wasn’t the time or the place.

I do know that if they do adopt, I will make a special visit to their home, give her a huge hug and tell her that her first mother loves her.  Adoptees hungering for home and missing their mamas can surely bring me out of my hermit like state.

3 Thoughts.

  1. I’ve met some very pro-reform minded parents who adopted from China. But a few threads around Mother’s Day that basically stated that they didn’t care to celebrate their child’s birth mother in any way, shape or form on THEIR day has left a bad taste in my mouth as of late. I keep trying to tell myself that it was just a few bad apples.
    Then I’m reminded that one bad apple in the bushel…
    ANYWAY, adoption stalks me too. I need a new disguise.

  2. i wonder if i can buy the domain for and pay google a bazillion dollars to have it come up first when people search for adoption related articles?

  3. I imagine what makes it even worse are the comments from everyone else. Before we adopted I had never given adoption too much thought. I know a few adopted people and few who have adopted but never well enough to get into an conversations of substance about it. But, once we brought our daughter home I was amazed at the comments I received that were well intentioned. The one that left me the most dumbstruck was “Wow, you got a good one.” She’s not a puppy! I imagine that if people who are in pain over adoption are listening to these dumb comments, it must make their blood boil. It takes some practice to get good at ways to respond to these comments. I mean what do you say to some well meaning granny who pats your daughter on the head and says, “You got a good one.” Thankfully my daughter hates strangers and looked up at her with a look that even granny knew meant, “Get your hands off my frickin head.”

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