Chosen Forever

"Adoption aborts the mother." –Author Unknown

I realize I said I was going to read less.

I am not sure that is possible for me.

In fact, I know it is not. When I was a child my mother literally took my books away from me, locked me out of the house and told me to go play with the neighborhood children.

I went outside, found a stick and wrote stories in the sand. True story.

I decided to adjust my approach and instead of reading adoption, trauma and recovery books I would branch out.

I visited the book store today and picked up a small guide book to Dublin. I also picked up 123 Magic. My children have never been discipline problems but I have heard of this approach and I was curious and thought maybe some different reading material would help distract me. Rather like changing trains on a journey to somewhere.

I was pretty pleased with myself until I went to gather my children who were sitting reading in the kids section of Borders. My youngest was taken with a book on the Titanic and while he futzed around and my oldest whined about book covers, my eyes see the childcare/adoption section.

Of course I wandered over.  Of course I bought a book (Identical Strangers) and of course adoption kicked me again in my already stressed gut.

I find it curious how many adoption related books (geared toward adoptive parents) use the word "Forever Family" in their title.

What is the point of that?  Is there a doubt that your adopted child will forever be part of your family?  Do you approach adoption like it is a test drive? Are there adoptive parents who think adoption is  only for as long as you want it? (Well, yes, we know there are those adoptive parents.)

What exactly does that word mean? How does it translate for prospective adopters? Is it the nice way to say "this child isnt really yours and everyone will know that but you will act is if born to, we will lock up their records and thereby the child will be forever yours and never be able to find their real family? So let the pretending games begin!"

I dont get it.

Why is it necessary to constantly refer to the adoptive family as the forever one? Who is that placating? Is it meant for the child to assure them that even though their first family abandoned them to strangers that the second family, the new family, is the forever family?

Seriously.  If the first family is not valued or regarded as a forever family how will the second, adoptive, "as if" family be viewed as such? What makes a second family a forever one and a natural family so temporary? How is that word chosen?

Speaking of chosen.  Yet another word so commonly seen in adoption titles "Chosen".  The Chosen Child. Loving by Choice. What the hell?

Maybe its me and my little pet peeves but guess what? My daughters adoptive parents did not choose MY child. They did not want MY special little girl. They wanted ANY BABY.

Chosen, to me, as a first mother, is very distasteful. It implies, to me, adoptive parents walking into a room full of babies, much like a car dealership saying "Ooh, I want THAT one". That is a chosen child. Maybe that does indeed (or did) happen in orphanages or foster care, but in my case, to my knowledge, my daughter wasnt listed on a chinese menu. Her adoptive parents, and many like them, wanted  ANY child. There was no choice. Just demand. Give me a child and I will give you money.

I have always assumed that "chosen" business was concocted up by some social worker who told adoptive parents to use that story to make the child feel better about being abandoned.  "You were special!" "You were CHOSEN! (clap clap)"

I am not an adopted child, but if I was, I would say "If I am so damned special, why didn’t my mother feel that way?" I would also ask "If I am so wonderful, why didnt someone help my mother to keep me? Why did my natural family discard my mother AND me?"

It is very contradictory. It is dishonest.

But then again, much in adoption is dishonest.

6 Thoughts.

  1. At my local Borders, the adoption books take up one, maybe two, of the bottom shelves in the Childcare Row and “Life” section. Back earlier in my engagement, I’d be back there looking at the Wedding advice books and I’d glance down in that area occasionally but I’d try to ignore it as much as possible. It left a bad taste in my stomach.
    I think that “Forever Family” is coming originally from Foster Care and Orphanage Adoptions. Kids who have been moved and moved and moved and the forever is suppose to symbolize a new stability to their little world of chaos.
    I think in that sense, it probably works. Chosen might even work there too…
    But to try and translate it over to Domestic Infant Adoption and that’s where things sound way off… Many times there was already a First Family there waiting to try and provide a form of stability and sameness (everyone’s lives are chaos really, no one is perfectly stable).

  2. “Forever family” is such a silly term. I have never understood it. We are a family and to me your family is your family forever. I have a very good friend (my son calls her Aunt) who I always say is family because while I don’t like her sometimes I always love her. You can not cast off your family, they are forever.
    As for being a “chosen” child. Well, it is true at the time we did not choose my son. We wanted a baby. NOw, I thank God that our son found his way to us because he is the child we feel we were meant to have. I truthfully do not like all of those terms because they make an issue out of everyday things. We are a family, we became one through adoption. No big every day deal. One day my son will have questions, he may even feel bad or need help dealing with grief. However, all of the crazy “adoption terms” only serve to placate parents who have yet to deal with their own issues as to how they became a family. Stop making such a big deal, out of a small thing.

  3. [However, all of the crazy “adoption terms” only serve to placate parents who have yet to deal with their own issues as to how they became a family. Stop making such a big deal, out of a small thing.]
    Isn’t this a natural mother’s blog?
    Why *wouldn’t* she be allowed to take offence at the “Forever Family” image?
    It’s like the “This was meant to happen” image. Many PAPs believe this was meant to happen, that they were meant to get their child, that Fate just had it planned that way. And of *course* they would – *they’re* the ones getting the child!
    But think about it. Saying “It was meant to be like this” about getting any child could also be like saying “This child was supposed to lose their first mother” or “This child wasn’t meant for their original home and/or culture or name or birthdate or identity” or even “Maybe the first parents were *meant* to have financial difficulties so we could obtain the child.” It’s like a slap in the face.
    I mean, you don’t necessarily know the circumstance. Sure, the child is in an orphanage *now*, but what about before? No one waved a fairy wand and “poofed” that child into the crib. *someone* had to have given birth and made a choice – based on no REAL choice at all.
    – Mei-Ling

  4. Just to clarify. I meant no offense. I also meant that when a family uses the term “forever family” or “chosen child” they are making a big deal out of a small thing. I did not mean that Suz or anyone else should not be offended. I was not commenting that she was making a big deal out of a small thing, but that the families who use the terms are making a big deal out of a small thing. Suz, if you felt my words were generated in your direction I apologize for that. Hopefully, from the times we have spoken before you understood what I meant. I was saying that I agree those terms are at least ill-advisable. Happy Easter!!

  5. Mary – I was not the least bit offended or insulted. I totally got your point but that may be indeed becuase I “know” you and we correspond privately. I did find it interesting though that others (both comments here and those that wrote me privately) WERE upset by your words. Just goes to show you easily words can be misunderstood and how you need that the personal knowledge to keep it in context.

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