Well, there is a little discussion over at Karen of Thenakedovary's comments about people saying that adopted kids are lucky.
Several of the commenters said that "parents will get themselves in a snot about it, if they are inclined to see it in a negative way, but really, what parent doesn't like to be told their kids are lucky to have them as parents, ie that they are good parents?"
I'll tell you.
Because it implies that that their children should be grateful. Not like a bio kid who is "lucky his mom makes cookies". Because we know that no one means that bio kid is lucky to HAVE A MOM. No, we take for granted he has a mom, if not, he wouldn't be birthed. No, he is lucky to have a cookie-making mom. It is a comment on the efforts of the mom to make cookies, not a comment on the efforts of the mom to bother to include the kid in her home at all.
Last night I went out (yes yes, with artsyguy and son to pick up his daughter... I was bumming eh, and the kids make me happier. excuses excuses).... and daughter had told her mom that I was adopting.
And the mom said "oh what a beautiful gesture". I said, giving up your seat on the bus for someone who looks tired is a beautiful gesture. (it was in french... sounds funny to say "beautiful gesture" in english). Me adopting is not a "beautiful gesture". (Dang, it is more like a complicated choreography than a gesture).
Anyways, she was like "well, you don't have to adopt, it's really nice of you to give a kid a home".
A beautiful gesture is giving $$ to Foster Parent's Plan, not going through homestudies and jumping through hoops to have a child after years of infertility. It is singlemindedly pursuing a goal: "becoming a mommy". I didn't see photos of homeless children on tv and decide "oh it would be so nice to help one of them little sad pitiful souls".
Quite the contrary. Me, myself and I want to have a child in my home. Heck, I'd practically pay someone to have one for me. I certainly paid enough to try to produce one myself. The family is for ME. I am not doing it whatsoever to help a child. I do not have to adopt. I CHOOSE to adopt, just as some people choose to build a huge house, or buy a yacht, or take equestrian lessons. They want to put their time and energy into real estate, or travelling the seas, or horses, because they love those things. The house, the yacht or the horses are not lucky.
I suppose that they can be more or less lucky, depending on if the homeowner upkeeps and decorates the house, or doesn't leave the yacht to sit in drydock, or is kind and attentive to the horses.
But really, the impulse comes from the person who decides to make that their life and put their energies in that direction.
Now children all deserve a home and a family.
ALL of them.
They shouldn't feel "lucky" that some lady with the time and inclination adopted them à la Mommy Dearest. And parents shouldn't feel that their kids are so dang lucky that their parents bothered to welcome them into their homes.
I dunno. It is not a beautiful gesture to adopt, for me. Perhaps some people sit around feeling just so on top of things, so full of money and privilege and whatever that they want to SAVE poor homeless children and give them the PRIVILEGE of being in their family.
Myself, I was terrified to NOT be approved for adoption, that I wouldn't live up to the standards necessary to be deemed a fit home for a child. I consider myself LUCKY to have the possibility of adopting rather than living out my life childless as thegoodlordifyoubelieve intended via biology. I consider myself LUCKY to have some poor child assigned to me vs someone else, whether they like me or not, this nonbioparent, complete stranger who says now "I am your mom forever".
I hope I will be a good parent. That I will be up to the task of shepherding another human being into this world on a day to day basis, of bringing up a child to be an adult in this world. That I won't screw them up too much. That I will continue to be emotionally, financially and physically capable of providing love and shelter and guidance to a child until they can be independent.
I fully intend to work my butt off, to be tired as heck, to be lost and frustrated, and afraid and challenged, as well as overjoyed, delighted, stimulated, comforted.
It is not a "gesture". It is not "saving" an unlucky child. It is not the same as making cookies.
I wish that the world would take for granted that my adopted child is my REAL my OWN my ONE AND ONLY wholey MY child, as a bio child and bio parents are, and that I could know, and that my child could know, that when a nice lady says "you are so lucky" to him/her, that they mean I am a GOOD parent. That I am a conscientious parent who takes parenting seriously and loves my child to bits.
But I am afraid that when the "what a lucky child" comes as a comment when we say we are adopting, or have adopted, that they mean we are some sort of disinterested outsider who miraculously, saint-like showed interest in an unfortunate wretch we could have just easily walked by. Sort of like if we stopped to give a sandwich to a beggar on the street.
It sets up this us and them dynamic. The privileged "nice" person, and the underprivileged "lucky" person.
And that makes adoptive parents sick at heart. It feels sort of icky and disgusting, like having white privilege, and het privilege and all those other things we don't ask for. And it feels untrue, because I didn't have magnanimous generosity and other-interest in my heart when thinking to adopt. More like desperate determination and overwhelming desire. It makes me feel guiltily sneaky to be misread. And it makes me feel like wrapping my arms around my child and saying "mine, mine, hers, hers, ours, together" as I am divided from her into two worlds.
So no, those of you who aren't adopting, people don't usually mean "how lucky you have a mom who make cookies instead of buying them", they mean "how lucky you weren't left to rot without a family".
and that is just icky.
Anyways, I need to learn how to say this in a nice polite nonangry nonconfrontational sweet smoothingover way. Cuz I don't know how to do it yet.
And I don't even have a child yet.