THE LUCKY ONES

It's my opinion that most phrases that get to people in regard to adoption just need a little tweaking and repeating back to in order to educate the likely unintentional offender.

Placed instead of gave up.

Birth parents instead of real parents.

None of your damn business instead of --

You get the idea.

I've spent years in the adoption world. Even before becoming a parent, it was a good couple years of reading books and articles, attending conferences and picking the brains of experts and members of the adoption triad. I've made it a point to educate myself (and continue to do so) because the adoption world is my world; there's really no distinction.

The same isn't true for many people and so they say things that come across a little harsh and inappropriate, because they simply don't know. In some situations, they lack a great deal of common sense and really should know better, but I try to extend a bit of grace when I can, even if it does come with raised eyebrows and pursed lips.

There are a few phrases that do get to me a little more, though. (Heaven help the next person to ask which of my kids are "my own.") There's one, in particular, that I know is said with good intentions, but I still hate.

They're so lucky to have you.

I usually fumble out a "Thanks, but I'm really the lucky one." Which is true- it's absolutely true. I feel so fortunate to be the mother of my children. It's an honor and a privilege that I am so grateful for and humbled daily through.

But my kids? Lucky?

Lucky to have what, exactly? Love?

Because that's not luck. Love is what a child is entitled to, what they deserve, and if it weren't from me, I rest assured that they would be loved and cared for all the same.

I get the sense that this idea is implying my children weren't loved from the beginning. That could not be farther from the truth. The love of a birth family is unlike any love I've seen. Can you begin to comprehend it? Few people have the ability to love that deeply; few people have the strength to willingly break their own hearts. I've witnessed it firsthand now, twice, and I'm completely changed because of it.

If it seems like I'm making an assumption that people are only calling my children that were adopted lucky, here's the thing: I've never, ever been told the child I gave birth to is "lucky to have me."

There seems to be a notion that adopted children should be grateful, that their life is somehow infinitely better for being adopted; that they were "saved." Let me be clear, if you feel like you are in the business of "saving people," don't adopt. This world has one Savior and he is the only one capable of saving any of us. We are instructed to care for the widowed and orphaned, yes, but adoption is not necessarily the action that is being called for. No child should have to live feeling like they owe their family the least bit of gratitude for adopting them.

Please.

I adopted because I wanted to be a mother. Purely selfish motives, on my part.

And as a mother?

I fail, daily.

I get frustrated.

I ask for their forgiveness over and over again.

And?

I get it.

I get their little arms wrapped around my necks.

I get "Thank you for saying sorry."

I get "I love you," and kisses on the cheek.

I get pictures colored for me and front row seats to daily performances.

I get to play made up games and sing made up songs.

I get to watch the sweetest of friendship and the strongest of bond develop between the three of them.

I get to hear little prayers.

I get to wipe big tears.

I get to tuck three babies into their beds at night and wake up with three babies in my bed every morning.

I get to worry.

I get to rejoice.

I get to love.

If there were ever a lucky one, it's me. Far and away, it's me.

2 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh! You took the words right outta my brain (just mine aren't so eloquent)! That's the one phrase that makes me flinch more than any others! Even as the words are coming out of someone's mouth, I almost want to lean forward, clamp my hand over their mouth and tell them "Don't say it. Just don't." When people say that to me about our youngest it makes me feel so bad and what you wrote explains why perfectly! It feels like someone is saying she was trash and we are the only "saints" who would take pity on her (which, saints we are definitely not). But, I truly feel like we are the lucky ones....we get the sweet love of this awesome child and we are lucky that we get to be her parents. Thank you.

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  2. I so wish I could stop the words from coming out of someone's mouth, too. It's the absolute worst. I'm so glad someone else gets it. Thank you for reading!

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