For a few years now, my DVR has been set to record Adoption Stories on Discovery Fit & Health. I don't always watch the show, but when I have some extra time (like this morning when Jayvan woke up at 5am), I'll watch an episode or two. They are generally heart-warming stories of potential adoptive parents being matched with their forever children. I also recognize that some people out there may be watching this show who don't have personal experiences with adoption. This may be how they think adoption and adoptive parents are.
I told myself when we started on this adoption journey that I wouldn't let myself get upset about the little things and little bits of terminology that I deem inappropriate. However, this episode of Adoption Stories made my blood pressure rise.
It started when the mom said,"I've always had a heart for children who were unloved."
Children who are placed for adoption are not unloved by their birthparents. I can't even imagine thinking for one second that Jayvan's birthparents don't love him deeply. Birthparents love their children so much that they want to make sure they have the best possible life. Are there exceptions? I'm sure there are, but the mass majority of placing parents care deeply for their children. Thinking of adopted children as "unloved" just perpetuates any feelings they might have about themselves as unwanted or undeserving and that it so far from the truth. Adopted children are often loved by more parents than birth children.
Then she had advice for people who are thinking about adopting or fostering, "Look at this as a gift you give to invest in someone else's life." I'm sorry lady, but you're not a martyr. You are a woman who wanted a daughter after having three sons and you adopted one. Yes, she went through foster care which can have more ups and downs (and I won't pretend to understand all of those since I haven't been there). However, ultimately this woman wanted a daughter and she got one. Now, one could argue that having children in any way is investing in someone else's life. In a way it is. However, as I look at my sleeping son next to me, I don't think, "I'm so glad I gave him the gift of investing in his life." Instead, I look at him and think, "Thank God for blessing me with this son." We got the ultimate gift.
Then at the end, the adoptive dad said, "We want her to understand that her life is changed because we were able to give her a chance." Way to set her up with a guilt complex from day one. OK. I guess there are those parents out there who want their children to feel indebted to them for eternity, but I'm not that kind of parent. I want my children to know that they are an incredible blessing to us and ultimately to everyone they encounter (that's the goal at least).
So, long story short, children are a blessing. Parents are blessed.