Had a chat with one of my friends. She's one of my closest friends. Love her to death.
However. She said something this morning that really disturbed me, and I need to go back and talk to her about it. I know I do. But I just had to write it all out here ... :)
The comment? "Those kids are just so grateful to [thier adoptive parents] that they are just the best behaved kids ever." Then later on in the conversation made the same comment using different words. There were a few more sentences (and a little more extreme, like a comparison to puppies) to her thought, but that was the gist.
Kids are grateful for being adopted. Ok.
Kids are good because they are grateful. Hmmm. Shaky ground here.
Kids are grateful for any family structure at all so they will be good so they won't have their adoptive parents abandon them? Um, huh?
What about the other side of the discussion?
Parents are grateful for children. No matter how those children come to them.
I went shopping over the weekend to buy some clothes for our trip ... no, we don't have a referral, but I wanted to make sure I was good to go with a few key pieces. When the sales girl asked me the purpose of our trip (I usually don't advertise why, but was feeling chummy with her), she said, "You're doing such a good thing! I wish I could give a child like that a loving home. Those children are always so grateful for parents!" My response? "Actually, I think its kind of selfish on our part. We want to be parents and are choosing to build our family this way. The child really doesn't have a choice."
Gratitude. Yes its there. As an adoptee, I know it is. But, people need to get off their proverbial high horses and think that they're going to heaven because you're "saving" an "unfortunate" child. These are children.
I get so upset (to the point of tears), when people say things like this. Ok, sure you see the children as lucky. But what about the parents.
My parents never made me feel like I was the lucky one ... and therefore making me feel like I owed something to them ... they always (and STILL) say that they were the lucky ones to have received the gift of me.
Same words, different order, but it makes all the difference to an adoptee. Like I've mentioned before, it makes a huge difference. I was a child. End of statement. I was never the "lucky" kid they adopted. I was a kid. Alot of a child's self esteem is tied to their identity -- ok, most of their identity is tied to their self-esteem. Children need to be cherished. Need to be children. Not told they were lucky. Not told they were "saved".
As a result of the way my parents treated me, I wore the badge of adoption with puffed up pride. I was so fortunate to have that. There are so many children (by birth and by adoption) that are not cherished, that are not valued. Their parents tell them that they are lucky for what they have. That may be true, but the parents are wrong.
So next time I talk to my friend, I'm going to be armed with a good conversation about this. I know she will take it to heart, and change the way she sees adoption in general. She's good that way.
The sales girl, well, she didn't say another thing the rest of the transaction (I was in the store for a couple of hours, and this was at the end of that visit). I know that with that brief phrase, she was embarrassed, but I also saw the wheels turning in her head. She was thinking about what I said, and in my opinion, thats a good thing.
I'm not out to "educate" but take the appropriate opportunity when I need to.