Sunday

They loved me, they loved me not. How much does it really matter?

I think it's safe to say that every adopted person will wonder why they're adopted. They may not search for their biological people, they may not try and dig up info, they may not ask questions or obviously wonder, they may only wonder a few times in their lifetime, but it will happen to us all at least once, I think.

I've read tons on the evils of telling a child they were given up out of love. That saying, "your parent(s) loved you so much, they gave you away!" causes lifelong emotional, relationship and abandonment issues. I see how it could, especially said the way I've just written it. They say the child will think, "oh no, if someone loves me it must mean they'll give me away or leave me". I can see how people make the connection, but I know it doesn't have to be that way.

I happen to believe adoption can be an act of love. I believe a mother and/or a father can choose to give their child up for adoption because they care and want something different for their child than they themselves can provide. I also believe an adopted person can understand this if they choose to.

I grew up thinking my bio mom gave me up because she loved me. It didn't affect me adversely when it came to other relationships, my mind didn't make the leap. As strange as it may sound to some, I just never took my adoption personally, never thought that it was something that I did wrong or was responsible for. Never thought that because I was put up for adoption that everyone else in my life would leave me or let me down. Never thought I was less valuable as a human being because of my adoptedness (although as a young teen I did think I was less valuable as a human because I had acne). I've since found out that my bio mom didn't give me up out of love, out of care for me personally, and I still believe there are parents who do it out of love or care, they just don't happen to be my parents (lol). Which is fine, ultimately it doesn't really make any difference if we were given up out of love and care, or given up because of religious values, or given up because it was too late to have an abortion or the bio parent(s) don't believe in abortion, or whatever other multitude of reasons people may have for freely choosing adoption.

My life value, my value as a human being, as a woman, as a mother, as a friend, as a wife and lover is not tied to my birth and circumstance of it. My value as a person is no longer tied to my parents, any of the four of them, because although my value and worth as a human being was never tied to my bio parents, it certainly was at times tied to my adoptive parents. It no longer is and hasn't been for quite a long time. Oh sure, there's the occasional tinge of "my mommy doesn't love me the way I think she should" (thats amommy for those who wouldn't know) but it's fleeting and is tossed away as quickly as it appears. A waste of energy and emotion that I could be using elsewhere, devoting to an issue or person worthy of it.

My value is not tied to any of my parents. My value is tied to me. My value is in how I live my life and how I care for and treat others. My value is in being honest. In being kind when I should and being strong when I must. My value is in knowing that it's most important I'm likable, good and true to those who truly love and care about me instead of those who are, well, assholes.

You know, you can run around for a long time trying to get an asshole to like you, to treat you well, to show you some respect, to get them to believe in, and allow you to be, your real self, but most times in the end, the person is still an asshole and you've just wasted a ton of energy that you could have used elsewhere.

And please, don't tell me this is an adoptee trait. I know plenty of real kids who run around trying to get assholes to like them. It's a human trait and may have nothing whatsoever to do with the fact your bio parents chose adoption because they cared about you.

Growing up thinking I was given up for adoption out of love and care didn't negatively affect me, perhaps it even positively affected me, who's to know for sure? I know I don't and neither can you. I do know that it's important all kids feel wanted, loved, accepted, and cared about by somebody. It can go a very long way in helping them cope and come to terms with the less than perfect existances we all experience.

16 comments:

  1. This is an Epic Post. This is wonderful! You've expressed exactly what has been in my heart about adoption. I'm going to have to quote this at a later date.

    This post is incredibly correct, right on the money.

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  2. Megan, I'm glad it resonates with someone.

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  3. I think there are alot of 'you' out there. I was married to adoptee. He and his adoptive parents are polar opposites. But he does not blame them, nor does he devalue himself. He is really uninterested in the reasons he was placed, and he has gone on to lead a very productive and full life. He is an excellent father to our son. He is a good son to his parents, in spite of their lack of biological connection.

    He could have blamed the difficulties he had with his father on the fact that they share no biological bonds. But instead he realized they were just different from him.

    Sometimes even children born and raised by our biological parents find that we are intrinsically different. It can be hard to find common ground even with biological family members(other than eye color, which honestly doesn't matter one single bit).

    People are people. Some are nice. Some are not. It would be nice if we could all be born into families who love us unconditionally and who support us and make us feel valued. Each person deserves that.

    But the reality is, people are messy. Parents aren't perfect. Adoptive parents are just people. Not heros from a book.

    Some birthparents are wonderful people. Some are not.

    I am not an adoptee and cannot speak for one. I can only draw on the experiences I have had with friends who were adopted, friends who are birthparents (which I am too), and being a parent myself to three boys who are biologically mine.

    Every story is different. My sister blames my dad for not being there for our family during her childhood (he traveled extensively our entire lives). I don't even recall that being an issue for me. I honestly don't blame my parents for anything. We are two girls, bound by genetics who are completely different in how we perceive our childhoods and the resulting emotional baggage (or lack there of).

    I see my success as an adult being something that I now control. I am the sum of my decisions and experiences. Both bad and good.

    And I am responsible for doing the best with what I have.

    As was stated above, this was an epic post and I was glad to read it. Thank you for an insightful look into your world. This is a favorite post to me and wise words to anyone, adopted or raised by our biological parents.

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  4. I agree that anyone can work on their self-esteem to try to make it independent of their original or adoptive parents. However, adoption without the rose-colored glasses is still giving one's helpless infant to strangers which is a very risky thing to do.

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  5. I believe this to be a very fair minded post. To be honest I don't see anything here at all that reflects an "adoption can do no wrong" rose-colored glasses approach. More than anything this post is about being human. We're all human, whether we like it or not. We all have baggage of some description or another. It's even possible to have baggage about not being challenged enough as a child. I really like this one. Thanks for sharing it.

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  6. Thanks for sharing that LisaAnne. You're so right in that every story is different.

    Robin, with or without rose-coloured glasses, adoption will always be a risky thing to do. Thanks to you too.

    Thanks Iam. Interesting point about not being challenged enough as a kid. Of course that could be baggage inducing too, hadn't really thought much about that before.

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  7. This is an absolutely awesome post.

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  8. Definitely epic! I wasn't adopted and I've wasted way too much time trying make assholes like me. It's good to know there's hope for me.

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  9. I too was told "She loved you so much she gave you up."

    I have never linked that to anyone who loves me will abandon me. Just wasn't in me to think that way.

    However, the whole "She loved you so much she gave you up" pretty much goes against what is taught to children every day: Parents don't leave their children.

    I know what you're saying here, Campbell. I know what you mean "they loved you so they gave you a chance through adoption to live" as opposed to not lovig you enough and just, I don't know, killing you or leaving you to rot in the streets or in foster care or whatever.

    When one gets down to the details about a family not having support, though, I suppose it is out of love they give up their child - but if they'd had support, would they have kept their child? Probably.

    Too often I hear "If she loved you she would have kept you."

    So you have a contradictory view: You love your child, then give it up to prove that. If you love your child, then you DON'T give it up.

    But it's not really about love because the parent who wants to keep their child can't keep it, no matter how much love they have. The real world doesn't work like that. If it's because they have no support, then they give up their child because they have no support - not because they love it.

    Sure, they love it so they THEN give it up to another family who can support it (as opposed to rotting in the streets/foster care/abandonment), but it's still not really about the love. It's about not having support, because no matter how much love there is, love doesn't create the support needed. Love is an abstract, not the physical obstruction. The abstract does not prevent the physical from happening.

    If it were really about love, the parents who do care about their children would have been able to keep them. It's why people say "If she loved you she would have kept you." Because it's not about a mother loving her child enough to GIVE IT AWAY.

    Hypothetically, Campbell, do you love your child?

    Would you give your child away to another set of parents? If you really loved your child, would you give him/her away to prove it?

    The way to prove one's love is to abandon it, give it away. That is often what adoption teaches children. Someone loves you so they will give you away.

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  10. "You know, you can run around for a long time trying to get an asshole to like you, to treat you well, to show you some respect, to get them to believe in, and allow you to be, your real self, but most times in the end, the person is still an asshole and you've just wasted a ton of energy that you could have used elsewhere."

    Absolutely.

    Problem is, we're not robots and we can't just switch off those emotions that make us want to have those assholes like us.

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  11. Thanks for taking the time to write all that Mei Ling. I'm glad that you never linked the "she loved you so much" bit to anyone who loves you will abandon you.

    I just don't know where all this support is supposed to com from. You know very well there is a ton of social and health support here in Canada. We all pay to support others and that's fine with me because I believe in supporting people who are in need, I do it all the time through taxes, financial donations and food and clothing donations. I am really in no positions to speak about other countries. I just don't know enough about all the individual cultures and governments.

    You ask me (hypothetically?) if I love my child and the answer is more than anything, yes. Then you ask if I would give my child away to another set of parents. I imagine if I was faced with circumstances like your first parents faced, I would give him away to save his life. What would be the point in keeping him only to have him die? To save him from a life without me?

    I do think I am a really, really good parent (really, I really do) but I'm not sure if even I am so full of myself that I would deem a life without me not worthy of living.

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  12. "I imagine if I was faced with circumstances like your first parents faced, I would give him away to save his life. What would be the point in keeping him only to have him die? To save him from a life without me?"

    But you wouldn't be giving your child away BECAUSE you loved him/her. You would be doing so because you didn't have the support.

    It's not the same thing. Love doesn't equal physical support for circumstances beyond one's control.

    And I am not speaking of domestic adoption, I should have made that abundantly clear.

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  13. I get what you're saying.

    What about a parent who refuses medical lifesaving medical treatment for their child, or themselves, because of religious reasons. Do they love their god or religious leaders more than their children? Do they love themselves more than they love their children? Surely their children would be better off if their parent remained alive even though it was against their personal religious beliefs.

    I wonder if a parent in a situation like your parents were in chose to let their baby die, would it be out if love or would it be because they didn't have support.

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  14. Totally off topic but what about parents who allow their daughters to marry old men who already have multiple wives? Who allow their sons to be banished from their lives because they're competition to the old men their daughters are marrying?

    These people just came to mind in thinking about what you've written Mei Ling. I also thought about mothers who allow their children to be abused by husbands or boyfriends.

    Anyway, just thinking about all the things people do.

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  15. @Campbell you last post reminded me of my mom's birth mother's situation. She was very uneducated to the point she didn't understand what it was she was consenting to (referring to sex). Back then there wasn't any social services for her and her family was already poor beyond belief. The man she married knew about my mom and would have let her keep (my mom) but considering how he abused his family was it really better for my mom to grow up in that situation?
    My mom never got the "you were chosen" conversations but she was given the "Your mom loved you so she gave you up to have a better life." Knowing her mom's situation my mom absolutely believes that to be true. Neither my mom nor her birth mother have any regrets about adoptions impact on their lives.
    I tell my mom's story not to discount others stories, but to remind people that everyone's story is different and telling one does not negate anothers.
    Cherylp

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  16. Thanks Cheryl. Of course you're not trying to discount others' stories although I understand why you feel the need to say that.

    I can completely see why your mom and her bmom would have no regrets and why your mom would believe she was given up out of love, to have a better life than her mother could have provided. I guess we have to acknowledge that your mom is lucky that actually happened because sadly it doesn't always. Not all who adopt should.

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