The other day, I posted this sweet picture of my beautiful baby girl to Facebook:
Within minutes of posting the photo, someone messaged me stating, “I hope this doesn’t offend you, but your daughter looks JUST LIKE her birth mother. She is beautiful”. I smiled to myself and responded, “Of course it doesn’t offend me–she DOES! Thank you!”
It was presented to me by another birth mother whom I am friends with online. I understood her hesitancy. I’ve seen it all too often. I understand the logic as to why adoptive parents are hurt by this, but for the life of me, I can’t understand the responses I have seen.
I’ve seen adoptive parents sigh and roll their eyes. I’ve seen adoptive parents give the “PC” answer of, “Yeah..she does” and then run to a private group with other adoptive parents and state their true feelings on it. I’ve seen adoptive parents use this as an open door to insult or discredit the child’s birth family. I’ve even seen things said online in public forums.
“Yes, here is hoping she doesn’t act like her when she is older.”
“I don’t see it and I hope I never do.”
“Yeah, so I’ve been told.”
I’m not sure why appearance and morality are ever brought into the same conversation. Someone’s looks has zilch to do with morality. In some situations (esp true in adoption from foster care) these children come from less than beautiful beginnings. I understand that everyone has different morals. 1. Morality is relative. 2. By far, the majority of birth parents are completely moral human beings by the standards of those exact people. 3. Morality is not inherited anyway, so it’s completely irrelevant.
We all do the best we can to raise our kids “right”. Let’s face the hard, cold truth here. That does not mean that they will always take the path we feel is best for them. God knows, I didn’t take the path of least resistance as a teenager / young adult.
I’ve said it hundreds of times and I will more than likely say it thousands more: Adoption is about the child. Remember that children are very, very perceptive. You may not think they understand your comments, your expressions, your seemingly subtle outwardly displays of disgruntlement. THEY DO.
When I lived in Ohio, I ran a small private home daycare for many years. I also worked as a lead teacher in a daycare center for another year thereafter. I cared for over two hundred children of varying ages. I’ve seen a lot of split and / or broken families. I’ve seen adoptive families. I’ve seen foster families.
Sooner than you can even imagine, your little ones begin to pick up on your mannerisms, emotions, and your words (oh, your words) These children are a PART of their biological parents, no matter how they come into your family. When you say something ill about a child’s biological parent in front of them, to that child you are saying it to them as well. Your negativity towards them affects your children. Those thoughts WILL seep into your interaction with these kids.
Personally, no one should ever be afraid to tell me that my kids look like his/her birth parent(s)! They do! (It’s funny how genetics work like that.) They also have many of the mannerisms of their birth parents, and the temperament of their birth parents. I well know that they are not biologically mine. I’m not offended in the least.
As much as I’d love to look at my children and see physical attributes of myself, I do not. However, I DO see myself in oh, so many other ways. I see myself in my son’s sense of humor, his snark, his zeal, and his social graces. I see myself often in him. I see my husband’s love of learning, his gentle nature, and his routines. My daughter is young, and we are just starting to see things in her that remind us of ourselves.
My husband and I sincerely love our kids’ birth parents. We love that they will always be involved in our lives (to varying extents, but always involved). We love when we see glimpses of them in our kids. It is just a little reminder of the beauty that can be adoption.
At the end of the day, my kids kiss me goodnight. They know I am their mama and they know what that means. When they have something exciting to say, it’s me that they run to first. When they are sad, I wipe their tears.
I know my place in their lives. My husband knows his as well. We are secure in that. We also know that without the love of their birth parents, we would not have these beautiful babies.
So go on. Tell me that my sweet Ruby looks like her Lee Lee. She does. I promise to never be offended in any way. My daughter is going to be a beautiful woman someday!