Ok, there's something I have to do here on my blog. I've done it once before when a comment of mine was censored on another blog . In this instance I initially resisted commenting after reading an adoptive parent's comment(s) but ended up feeling the need to have my say when she returned to collect her accolades. My say was not accepted.

I imagine much of what I normally say appears to be in support of adoption and/or adoptive parents so when I say something strong in reaction to commentary by an adoptive parent it's surprising that it would be unpublishable by a first mother forum. Unless of course I utter the words anti-adoption-radicals and what I have to say is contrary to the reaction of said anti-adoption-radicals.

The following is my unpublished comment.

Oh Courtney, I just hope that your kids feel the same way as you when they get older. That watching you suck up to anti-adoption radicals makes them feel proud and that they'll understand "Adoptive
parents--no matter how hard they love or how much they try--will NEVER be a substitute for first parents. There is no "but if" to this matter. It is not the same."

Course it's not the same, but it can be as good or better and you won't be accomplishing that by treating them as if they aren't real, are less than your biological child.

I would be very, very hurt if I'd ever heard my parents say what Courtney said. My parents, adoptive, are my first and only parents. My biological parents are just exactly that, the people that conceived me with my mother giving birth to me. They all have their importance, their value, their influence, but my parents are my parents, end of story. As much as I'm enjoying getting to know my bio mom now, she will never be a substitute for my first parents. How could she be.


  1. Campbell, I hate to say it, however, as always I must. The statement you make, if I am reading this right, is an assumption that no nmom understands when a child love's their aparents. The fact is that being anti-adoption is not about not like those adoptive parents, but disliking the practice of adoption and the outcomes that are much more common than your own. I doubt seriously that any nmom that loves their child and knows that their child is able to love both sets of parents would even consider it an issue.

    For me, the situation is very different and I have no love or even like or respect for abusers. For others, it is more about being treated exactly as you a biology experiment...the idea that either set of parents can substitute for the other is ridiculous. But to be surprised by the statement not being published, I know that you can't really be serious.

  2. The statement I'm making is that if my mom ever said what adoptive mom Courtney said I'd be very hurt and that I hope how she claims to feel doesn't adversely affect her adopted child.

    I actually am slightly surprised my comment wasn't published given the nature of many other comments that were published on that thread.

  3. I think the point she is trying to convey is that she knows there is a certain place that she can't replace, the way a step parent wouldn't replace a parent that the child had always loved.

    Because adoptees feel so differently about their experiences, that sentiment shouldn't really be put in definite terms. It should more be stated, "I understand that my child MAY have a special place in their heart for their first mother and, should they feel that, my existence will never replace that."

    Adoptive parents in the past did not tend to encourage their adoptees to have any feelings for their first parents. I think whether with or without being given space to have feelings about their first parents, each adoptee will still have their own personal feelings which may or may not be different than the message the parrot back because they feel it's what their adoptive parents want them to express and think.

    When we go through adolescents we go through that process where we start allowing ourselves to have feelings outside of the accepted realm of our parents and we all reach internally to varying degrees to reach the heart of what we really feel, which is an ongoing process that for many (hopefully most) continues into adulthood and the rest of your life.

    Which is why some adoptees find that they have feelings about their first parents that they feel have always been there, but they were not in touch with and didn't allow themselves to "go there". The same could happen for some adoptees who were given a lot of space to have feelings for their first parents. They could go through a process where they realize they care less about their first parents than they originally thought they did.

    I personally believe if having a deep respect for all my ancestors (biological and adoptive) and I can't imagine not loving my mother as deeply as any other family. Before you meet someone, obviously that love is not the same as interactive love that is formed by spending time with, being cared for by, and giving and recieving affection from the person.

    But a deep compassion for their existance would only make sense for me. And no my adoptive parents existence and love for me does not "replace" that place in my heart. It doesn't need to any more than a persons love for their father "replaces" their love for their mother.

    In my particular case I know that my biological mother loved me more than words can describe. I can't imagine not loving from the heart of your being someone who has loved you that much. If my mother was an asshole, I would of course feel much differently.

  4. Did she perhaps mean "substitute" as an erasure? The fact is that there are two sets of parents in adoption. There is no substitution because they are separate entities. In that sense, they are NOT the same.

    My situation is similar to yours in that my natural parents were not the people who parented me. My aparents did the work of raising me and taking care that I turn into a thoughtful, well rounded adult. But I wouldn't exist if it weren't for my natural parents. My aparents and nparents don't cancel each other out. I can love both sets of them, and pretending that one set or the other doesn't exist is a willful denial of the truth.

  5. I didn't interpret her comment the way that you did.

    She acknowledged that she did not provide nature to her adopted children and that she feels it's important to them. Considering the conversation was about Grayson, I think she's simply trying to say that when a biological parent is prepared to and wants to parent, it is preferable that that relationship be given a chance.

    But I also don't think one set of parents replaces the other. Both provided things that the other could not.

  6. I always thought of myself as a substitute, not a replacement. Maybe it's verbiage, I dunno. Every elementary student knows substitute teach is not *teach*, not by a long shot. Isn't all that assumed? Anyhoo, you can call me a poor sub if you want. Just don't call me Crater Face, the name we tormented our substitute teacher with in Grade 7.

  7. lol O Solo ...we had a Pillsbury dough boy.

    Oh those poor substitutes.

  8. As a substitute teacher, thank you!

  9. guys are giving me flashback guilt.

    I tried to atone by advising my son in advance on how easy it is to slip in to substitute teacher abuse mode. That substitutes are people too, that he should just appreciate the day for what it's worth and lay off the sub!

    I'M SORRY!

  10. Campbell

    My husband and I are currently in the process of adopting a pair of sibs from foster care and I cannot stress more how refreshing it is to read a blog by an adult adoptee that is not an outpouring of grief about being adopted - kudos.

    Having recently been called an infertile adoptoraptor (and much much worse) by the anti adoption radicals (being gay I have no idea if the lads are fertile or not), I was starting to feel very concerned at the life my sons would experience as adoptees. Your blog has reassured me that there are healthy, well rounded and sane adult adoptees who do not spend their lives wrapped up in self imposed trauma.

  11. Adrian, I hesitated to publish your comment, mainly because there are some adoptees with trauma that is not self-imposed, but I imagine you realize that.

    Please, please be sure you're up to the task of parenting without ego, that you truly will be providing a better place for these kids and that they in fact do need a better place to be.

    If that is in fact the case, then kudos to you, not to me.

  12. Hey Campbell

    I assure you that I do understand the loss and trauma that accompanies a childs removal from its birth home and the sense of displacement that fostercare and adoption can impose.

    I want to to state that I am 100% in sympathy with any adult adoptee who still feels grief over the loss of their birth/first natural family.

    My sympathies are much lessened by the angry attacks that certain anti adoption groups make on potential adoptive parents, the language used is shocking and dehumanising and I cannot empathise with folk who make a point of wrapping themselves in a self pity purely because they are adopted. I know well adjusted adult adoptees, I just wish they blogged about it :-)

    Secondly I want to stress that the conditions that most, if not all, adult adoptees faced in their care situation - ie removal, being cut off from natural family etc - they are not the conditions that children face today. Yes I know that there are stolen children used in international adoptions, but the P.R.I.D.E training (that has been rolled out by most Community Services in North America and parts of Europe) stresses and underscores the need for children to know where they come from and to maintain contact (wherever possible) with their birth family. This is never acknowledged by the anti adoption crowd and I think does a profound disservice to the thousands of children in fostercare and group homes awaiting new families.

    Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts.

    bright blessings to you.

  13. I neglected to add that I have given up my career to ensure that our adopted children will be the centre of our home and that they will always know that one of their dads will be here for them.

    I believe very strongly in child centred parenting and if our children grow up knowing anything, it will be that that they are much loved and wanted.

  14. Adrian, welcome to the hurricane. Never a dull moment in adoption land. There's LOTS to read out there, much of it good and worthwhile. Have you checked out Adoption Mosaic? Good luck with everything.

  15. Interesting comment and I agree with you, I think there were other comments posted that were much more "controversial". I am still somewhat trying to figure out how exactly I feel about adoption - I feel guilt, sadness for my daughter's loss, and pure joy that she is my daughter. I do feel that I cannot "replace" her first mom. She only has one biological mother and it isn't me. She has a whole Russian heritage that we do not share. I guess I look at myself and our family as her next best outcome. Since I am not infertile, adoption was not a "second choice" for us, but I know it is not the best outcome for her and that makes me feel both guilty and sad. Kind of like we got the prize at her and her first family's expense. It is guilt inducing.

    Having said that, I have read your blog long enough to have heard you wondering if all the anti-adoption information can actually make APs kind of walk on eggshells rather than just parenting normally. I hear you on that. I hope my daughter never knows the guilt I feel, I don't want her to feel responsible somehow for those negative feelings. I do think it is OK if she knows I feel badly that circumstances were such that she was in a position to be adopted. Hopefully she will always know how happy I am that she is my daughter.

  16. "I have read your blog long enough to have heard you wondering if all the anti-adoption information can actually make APs kind of walk on eggshells rather than just parenting normally. I hear you on that."

    Kris, this is one of the best things I've ever read on my blog. Thank you for getting what I care about.

    I want you to know, if you don't already, I hear you when you talk about what you want for your son. I'm not knowledgeable enough to weigh in but I understand your point of view.

    I'm so glad you come here : )

    After re-reading your comment, given your daughter's circumstance, can you be sure it wasn't the best outcome for her?

  17., I guess I can't be SURE it wasn't the best outcome. However, her relinquishment did not HAVE to happen - her mother was not abusive or neglectful (she was relinquished at birth). If she had been born here in the US or Canada under similar circumstances, her mother would have had more options. And because of that, I feel guilt and sadness for her (and her mother's) loss.

    And yes, I know you get what I want for my son. I appreciate that you get it and make a real effort to understand something that doesn't even affect you. Most people do not take the time to do that!

  18. I can understand sadness but to be guilty you need to have done something to be guilty for, and you're not reason her mom didn't have enough options. At least she got the option of you. It seems there are much, much worse out there.

    I don't understand why it's so difficult to allow ourselves to feel fortunate, even when it's feeling fortunate in bad situation. Out of her bad situation, which you are not responsible for and have no power to change, she got you, you got her, and her mom can rest easy knowing her daughter is safe.

    I think that's making the best out of a very bad situation.

  19. Unlike so many natural mothers, I hope that those who were caregivers to my son, first in foster care then in adoption, DID replace me, at least during his infancy and childhood. What I wanted for my son was not to grieve for me forever, but to have a real mom who loved him and whom he loved in return. In the case of Courtney, I think some adoptive moms can look too hard for adoption trauma in their children that may not be there. A happy medium and common sense is always best.

    Given how well my son turned out despite challenging and less than ideal circumstances in his adoptive home, someone must have loved and cared for him well in those first months in foster care. For that I am eternally grateful, not jealous that I might have been "replaced".

    I am not anti-adoption. I know too many adoptive moms who are wonderful parents, open, honest, and loving. Adoptive parents as a group are not my enemies. Neither are they a group I idolize in toto. My son's adoptive mother was terrible. Some adoptive parents who write about their experience are self-absorbed narcissists. Sadly, so are some birthmothers. All kinds of people can be terrible or wonderful or more often a combination of the two. Hating any group of people as a group is just prejudice, in all its ugliness, no matter who the group are.

    If adoptive parents do the best they can to respond to the real needs of their individual child, not some general prescription for adoptive parenting, they can do ok, and yes, replace the parenting a good natural parent would have provided. What they cannot replace is genetics, family history, personal history before adoption, looking like the adoptee. For that search and reunion are needed. Good adoptive parents are supportive of search, if that is what their child wants and needs. But all adoptees, like everyone else, are not the same. Once again, one size never really fits all.

  20. This post has been linked to by a mom who was affected by what I'd said, with focus being on the following.

    "My biological parents are just exactly that, the people that conceived me with my mother giving birth to me. They all have their importance, their value, their influence, but my parents are my parents, end of story. As much as I'm enjoying getting to know my bio mom now, she will never be a substitute for my first parents. How could she be."

    The following is the an edited version of the reply I left in a comment on her blog. I publish it here for any other mothers who may have or had the same reaction.

    I appreciate the impact of what I said and why it would provoke this (her) post. I also appreciate you stating there's nothing wrong with what I wrote.

    The experience of the parent and the child cannot be the same. I am a mom and I completely understand the love for our children.

    I have no unresolved anger toward any of my moms or dads. Zero, and I assure you I am in no fog. I truly have respect for them all in the amounts that I feel they've earned. I might even go so far as to say I have, at this point in my life, more respect for my bio mom than my mom mom. But my mom mom is my parent, my mom. Tricky, innit?

    I've worked, and continue to work, very hard to do my part in cultivating this new relationship with my bio mom. I want to have it. From what I've seen so far, I really like her, and I also like how she's handling her side of our new relationship. For me, I can't see how she could ever feel like my parent. Saying that doesn't mean I couldn't love her some day, that I don't in some way already do. It doesn't say that your son doesn't or can't love you. I don't see how it can hurt to remember you've had your whole life to love him, to consider that for some people actually knowing someone is what they need to truly love, and that he does have other parents he may or may not care about but are and have been parenting him.

  21. Here's a weird idea: Adoption being a play, the mommy role is already cast and that scene is in a lot of ways over when the adoptee is an adult, and cannot be recast and replayed. You cannot go back and play the scene over with different cast;, this opening night in real time and show can only go on.

    But there is room for a friend role, a friend who is also a relative, who can add another dimension and more love to the adoptee's life, not step into a role that is over or compete with the person already playing that role.

  22. "...not step into a role that is over or compete with the person already playing that role."

    Can't get much more real than that.


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