Adoption

Adoption Pet Peeves, part 2 (edited)

Dear Adoptee,

This is my second installment to clarify the things I wrote in my prior post, Adoption Pet Peeves. The last point in my original post was also upsetting to a number of you.

The section of the original post is italicized. I’ve added comments/clarifications in bold.

Here is part 2:

A word or two about the proper adoption terminology.

Apparently, the term “biological” isn’t PC anymore.  However, I don’t like the term “birth parents” because only one person is a birth parent, the mother.  Where does that leave the father? [Someone said this point indicated I thought the child-parent bond didn’t extend beyond that of the birth. I argue the exact opposite. The meaning of birth is, as quoted from dictionary.com, “an act or instance of being born” and “the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring.” When I consider the definition of birth, it seems to use the term is to say the parental bond DOES NOT extent beyond birth.]

Also, I was there for Paige’s birth, so couldn’t I also be called the birth mother[That same person said my presence in the birthing room was coercive but if she had read any of my other blog posts, she would know I had no intention of adopting Ruth’s daughters when I became her birth coach.]

A second term I’ve heard is “first parents.” I don’t like that one because we adopted through foster care and technically we are our girls’ third parents. 

Another term I’ve heard is “life parents.” This is true because they gave my girls physical life.  However, I am giving them a life by raising them so that term isn’t accurate either. [All of these terms are a matter of semantics, I suppose. I’m a bit of a perfectionist in that regard and it comes out here.]

I recently heard the terms “real parents” or “natural parents.”  These terms absolutely disgust me!!  (The other terms don’t bother me; I just choose not to use them.)  It implies I am not an actual parent and my daughters don’t have real parents.  It also implies our family is unnatural, or wrong. [Until recently, I’d only heard “natural” and “real” parent used by adoptees who didn’t have good relationships with their adoptive parents and thought there was nothing good about adoption. Obviously, the tone with which those words were used put me on the defense. Thanks to adoptee activist Angela Barra, an absolutely amazing and lovely woman who uses the term “natural parent,” I’ve been educated about the term natural parent. I still don’t like the term but now I understand it.]

To me, biological birth parents is exactly what they are; people who gave my girls their biology but are not raising them.[I recently asked both my daughters and Ruth what term they prefer. They all said birth parent so that is what I am using from here on out. I still prefer the term biological, but will use the term they chose because I love and respect them.]

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Though, to be honest, I think Payton came up with the best term of all.  Shortly after she began calling us mommy and daddy, she began calling her biological birth parents “my other mommy and daddy.”

I have absolutely no problem with that – she does have two mommies and two daddies. [And this, Dear Adoptee, was the whole point. I am not the only mother in my daughters’ lives; to deny that is to deny a vital part of them. That is something I will NEVER do!]

Adoption · Musings and Personal

Adoption Pet Peeves, Edited (part 1)

dear-adoptee

Dear Adoptee,

I upset you a while back when I wrote a blog post titled, Adoption Pet Peeves. Believe me when I say that was not my intention. My hope is the edited blog posts will clarify my intent.

A section of the original post is italicized. I’ve added comments/clarifications in bold.

I’m starting with the part of the post that caused the most upset:

“I have been told that I’m a wonderful person for adopting a child through foster care; most people couldn’t do it.  Breaking news! Having a biological child is a crap shoot just as much as adopting a child through foster care. [I don’t sugarcoat things. My daughters’ parents are drug addicts/recovering drug addicts; the 16 scars from my heart surgery are ugly; my husband is bald. You get the picture.] In some ways, having a biological child is even more risky!

There is no return policy [I just added quotes to return policy so you know I’m not using this term lightly. I phrased it this way to make my writing succinct, not disrespectful.]  on your biological child but, believe or not, there is with an adopted child.  [I included believe it or not in the original post to express my surprise, not to promote adopting because you can dissolve it.]

A trial period of at least six months is required before you can finalize.  You also have two weeks post adoption to change your mind. [When this was explained to my husband and me when we signed the adoption papers, I was surprised. Guess I should have included believe it or not here as well.]

Regardless of this somewhat controversial fact, [I say somewhat because I believe the six-month trial period is a good thing. Children adopted through foster care have been through a lot. Making sure the family and child are a good fit is a good idea to prevent further upheaval in the child’s life.]

[THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH WAS MY WHOLE POINT OF THIS PART OF THE BLOG POST. It was originally written about five years ago as a note on my Facebook page. Its intended audience was friends who have no experience with adoption. My hope was the tongue-and-cheek wording would demonstrate how absurd it was to say I was a wonderful person for adopting through foster care.] I think there is something even more important to consider:  Why do you want children?  Is it for selfish reasons?  Or is it to unconditionally love and raise a child, regardless of challenges and joys?”

So there you have it, Dear Adoptee – the intention behind this post. Please forgive me for not taking into consideration how these words could effect you.

Dear Adoptee, I love you and support you on your journey.

Lynn Sollitto
Adoptive Mother