“All adopted kids are defective.”
“I can't believe he is their favorite. He isn't even really theirs. He is adopted.”
Oddly enough, these statements were both made to me, a very open adopted child, by two close friends, obviously forgetting in their hasty judgement that they were speaking of a matter near and dear to my heart. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't claim to be perfect by any means. I, however, must protest the title of 'defective.' And, last I checked, my parents consider me very much their child. They have raised me, kept me safe, educated me and loved me, and they deserve the credit for a great parenting job.
I have always known that I was adopted. There was no big dramatic reveal. The circumstances of my birth were just another part of me. For that, I am grateful to my parents for having the foresight to understand that I and my brother would want to know about our adoptions. Growing up, I felt that being adopted made me special. My parents said it did, and who was I to question those wise folks? I never realized how very divisive the subject could be. I never realized that many people actually think less of me because I am adopted. The two friends who made the above statements are sweet, caring, funny, moral women who I would never have dreamed would think such a thing. But, sometimes, a person's deeper thoughts and prejudices have a way of flying out of their mouthes before they can stop them.
What makes people think less of infants and children who just need and want the same love that everyone else takes for granted?
Why shouldn't we be 'the favorite' just because we are adopted?
Why am I less than you?
According to the National Adoption Attitudes Survey by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute,
“Forty-one percent of Americans think adopted children in general and almost two-thirds (62%) think children adopted out of foster care are more likely than others to have problems at school. A similar proportion--45% and 68% --think adopted children in general and adopted foster children in particular--are more likely to have behavioral problems. A third (32%) believe adopted children in general and more than half (53%) believe children adopted out of foster care are less likely to be well-adjusted.”
Again, I must ask why? Do people assume that a biological child would not have problems at school? Does being kept by biological parents automatically make you well-adjusted? Having met one-half of my biological parental unit, I am fairly certain that I am far more well-adjusted as the child of my 'adoptive' parents than I would ever have been as the child of my biological parents. Frankly, from what I have observed in my lifetime, behavior and adjustment is a complete gamble no matter what your birth circumstances are.
I have had people ask if I know my 'real' parents. To that, I have a standard answer.
Yes. They raised me.
You see, a 'real' parent is the parent that is there for their children. A 'real' parents gives their baby all the love and affection they have been saving up for that special child of their heart. A 'real' parent is there for the crying, the fighting, the messiness, the illness, the everything that a childhood is made up of. Having been fortunate enough to give birth to three fabulous children myself, I can honestly and without any doubt at all say that the easiest part of being a parent, by far, is conception and birth. The hard parts come later. The first skinned knee that needs a 'real' mom or dad to kiss it and bandage it up. The prayer at bedtime each night to protect your babies through the night until you can hold them again. The first time your child's tender heart is broken. The teenage years . . . now that is some hard stuff. These are the things that 'real' parents are there for.
Yes, I have biological parents. But, I am blessed beyond measure with real parents too. How lucky am I?