“Adoption is love not rejection.”
I came across this and couldn’t pass it by.
I understand the sentiment of this quote.
I would bet a million dollars that it was written by a parent.
YES adoption is LOVE. Love from adoptive parents and, in some cases, love from the birth parents.
As sweet as this quote seems, it is quotes like this that make adoptees feel like their feelings are not valid. Quotes like this that make adoptees feel like they are being ungrateful by feeling rejected.
Adoptees feel loved, we know that adoption is (usually) done through love. We do not mean for our feelings of rejection to make our parents feel rejected.
We love you.
Regardless, parents are not allowed, under any given circumstance, to tell adoptees what adoption is. Parents can say what adoption is for them, but not what adoption is for their child or what adoption is over all. Adoption from the child’s perspective is not the same as adoption from the parents’ perspective. Parent and child share an adoption story and at the same time have completely separate adoption stories.
Adoptive parents have such good intentions. They go to support groups, classes and they read every book and blog about adoption that they can find on the planet earth. This is greatly appreciated and very valuable since it helps them understand their child as much as possible. Complete understanding, however, is not possible. The better route for a parent to take is to understand as much as possible and then to accept the parts that they cannot understand. The parts that the parents cannot understand, simply because they are not an adopted child, are the parts that they can help their child deal with on the child’s terms.
I believe that one of the greatest struggles for adoptive parents is how little control they have over their child’s adoption issues (however, I am not an adoptive parent so I am not the authority on what adoptive parents struggle with). You can say that adoptees weren’t rejected all that you want to. Nonetheless, many adoptees feel a sense of rejection in their heart, even if they know logically that they weren’t rejected but rather, “chosen” out of love.
It’s kind of like when my birth mom told me that she knows logically that giving me up for adoption was the right thing to do, but that she still feels a sense of shame and guilt in her heart.
It is only natural to feel rejected when the people who created you, left you.
I would bet a billion dollars that someone is thinking, “Adopted kids aren’t left! There are good parents chosen for them so they can have a better life.” We know, we know. We were carefully and thoughtfully placed. We feel rejected anyway. This does not mean that we do not love our parents. This does not mean that we think we were recklessly abandoned. It simply means that we are human beings with emotions, we were separated from the people who naturally created us and that separation affected us, emotionally….because we are human beings.
Rather than saying “you weren’t rejected, you were loved,” say “it is understandable that you feel rejected, but know that you are very loved.”
Adoptees fare much better when adoption issues are not negated. Adoptees fare better when adoption issues are embraced, are allowed to be expressed and are dealt with appropriately (therapy). Adoptees fare much better when they are allowed to define what adoption is for them, when they are allowed to say “yes, I feel rejected, but I also feel loved. The love will help me deal with my inner feelings of rejection” and when they are allowed to explore their adoption issues on their own terms, with the guidance and support of their parents.
Adoption issues, such as an inner sense of rejection, do not have to be destructive. Adoption issues are wounds that can be turned into wisdom. Just as rejection does not turn in to love simply because you say it is love, a wound does not heal simply by saying that it is not a wound. A wound needs acknowledgement, care and time.
So, maybe adoption is love, but it can sure feel like rejection. That is OK. That is acceptable. That is manageable.
LOVE always and forever,