The term “real” is a source of frustration for those involved in adoption, and yet, people untouched by adoption continue to use it to refer to the biological parents.
If you ask an adoptee who the “real” parents are, chances are the child will point to the actively parenting, adoptive parents. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards have words describing active parenting, nurturing qualities. But when “outsiders” continue to push by saying, “You know who I mean! The people who gave birth to you!”, it is a negative reinforcer to any triad member who is forced to acknowledge loss. The child has lost a biological connection to his or her parents. The adoptive parent or parents have to acknowledge yet again the loss of a biological connection to their children. The biological parents may feel validated that they are recognized as parents, but they are not actively raising the child.
Fact is: We’re ALL real. No one side can ignore the reality of the other. We can put up blinders or go into denial, but those people aren’t going away. Again, the “outsiders” insist: “You KNOW it’s not the same! You don’t get the same love that you would if your REAL parents were raising you!” Oh, really? I can’t think of a single adoptive parent who wouldn’t risk life or limb for their adopted children. Adoptive parents are the only Certified parents. Many of us wish that all parents had to go through the scrutiny which we have undergone in order to raise the babies they have. We see so many children whom we’d like to protect from neglect and abuse, but cannot because society places blood ties ahead of us.
Adoption isn’t altruistic. We are not selfless givers worthy of praise. Our children don’t owe us anything for the act of adopting them. We are not saints worthy of praise by “outsiders” for somehow doing some noble thing. Then of course the comment, “Well, I couldn’t have done what you are doing” may be heard, which also is so destructive to people touched by adoption. Adoption satisfies hardship needs. People who are unable to parent their children find loving homes for them. People who are unable to conceive have children placed in their arms. Children who need immediate, loving parents are provided with them. Nobody in the adoption triad should be expecting to be put upon a pedastal for having their needs met. No one should be guilted because adoptive needs were met.
Realness can be demonstrated repeatedly, and not just by DNA. Parenting is a lifetime career. Just as a newly “Empty Nester” mom whose life was lived through raising those adopted children with every cell of her being.
What happens when those kids turn eighteen? We’ve heard, “Don’t you realize that one day he will go back to his own kind?” by the “outsiders”. Consider the adult adoptees that you know and with whom you have grown up. Real history has built their foundation of what it means to be in the adoptive family. That cement is solid and won’t go away. Being the active mother or father for all of those years, with all of the attachment and memories, the subsequent siblings, neighborhood, childhood friends: that’s Real. If we as adoptive parents have provided a loving, stable, supportive, responsible home for children not born to us, then we have nothing to fear when they grow up. Likewise, we need to feel secure about ourselves to know that other adults in our adult childrens’ lives will not displace us as their parents. Have the people in your adult life replaced your own parents? Chances are, no. History is Real.
This is not to say that we must step aside. I’m not advocating that at all. Be the parent that you would have liked to have, that you dream of becoming. Think of how your child must tactfully deal with all of the adults that he/she loves in his/her life. Become the support system upon which your child can depend. When all is said and done, a child has been born, raised, and became a productive and loving adult as a result of positive role models, dedicated and loving parents, and mentors. Your job as a Real parent is to make that your child’s Reality.
Written by KeadieAdopted, adoptee, adoptees, Adoption, adoptive family, adoptive parent, adoptive parents, biological connection, biological parents, triad member