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I placed my daughter in an open adoption in 2002. I started this blog in 2004 as a place to journal and eventually I became part of a community. The community has moved on, but I have decided to come back.

Monday, July 25, 2005

There's Nothing Lucky About Adoption

I'm tired of being told how lucky I am.

Nobody is saying it to be rude- they're just clueless. It makes us all cringe.

My daughter and I are not lucky to have been separated at birth.

Sometimes I want to reply that her parents are lucky to be raising my child, but there is nothing lucky about not being able to have children.

The fact that she has great parents is due in part to good planning by me and for many other birthmoms is helped by the fact that there are more of them than us.

Yes, I feel lucky sometimes, but I really hate it when people sum up our relationship in "You're so lucky."

Yes, I see my daughter. It doesn't make me lucky. It's what we feel is best for the child we love.

I'm not lucky. A crisis pregnancy during which I decided I wasn't the best person to parent my child doesn't really seem like luck to me.

Yes, I'm grateful that I have a good relationship with my daughter and her family. Luck has nothing to do with it. We make a conscious effort to treat each other with kindness and respect.

Please, stop telling me I'm lucky. Change it to "That's really nice." Then, maybe I can agree with you.


marathon said...

OK, I won't say that you're lucky. Intelligent and thoughtful are perhaps better words. I would like to say that your daughter is lucky, at least a little bit, in that she has such thoughtful people looking out for her.

Poor_Statue said...

You made me laugh, actually.

I'm glad you're trying. It's hard to explain, but try to think about the things we attach luck to. I don't think that a biological family's separation qualifies. Adoption is built on loss. In my case, it's loss on all three sides- her parents, hers, and mine.

Heather Lowe wrote an article in which she addresses the issue of luck. I've thought about linking it because she says it so much better than I do. It's a tough article though.

marathon said...

Glad to provide a smile.
Have another one. :-)
I just hope that you weren't laughing at me. %-P

Really, though, I'd like to understand, or at least think I do. Help me out where I don't.

I understand that adoption is a tough situation all around. I wasn't trying to say that there was anything "lucky" about that. I'm not trying to say that your daughter was lucky to be separated from you. I wasn't talking about the biological separation part at all.

Part of the problem may be what we each mean by the word "luck". Someone I work with has a quote in her email signature that says "The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

I was trying to point out that there was at least one positive thing in the situation: both you and the adoptive family are thoughtful and reasonable people. That was what I meant when I said that "your daughter is lucky, at least a little bit".

A very good friend of mine runs a very small charity called Eleanore's Kids that tries to help out kids in orphanages in the Ukraine. He has been there several times and tells absolutely heart-wrenching stories of little kids who have been abandoned by their parents to fend for themselves. I would like to say that your daughter has something positive, some fortune, some luck, if you will, that those kids do not: caring, thoughtful adults who think about what is best for the child.

If that line of reasoning is out of bounds in your situation, I apologize. I mean well, if nothing else.

Poor_Statue said...

Definitely not laughing at you. You are clearly trying to be respectful.

You inspired me to write again about luck. Not sure if you read it, but it's there. I'll keep working on my explanation.

There are many positive things about my adoption story. I'm really glad it's turning out so well. Early on it didn't look good.

Your friend does good work.

Shell said...

As a birthmother, I always cringe when people tell me how lucky I am that I get to see my birthson and know where he is and how he is. I tell them that I would not have done it otherwise. I am often thinking, like you do, they are lucky to be parenting him. Although you are correct in that they are not lucky to have lived with years of infertility. An unplanning pregnancy and the grief of being a birthmother sure doesn't feel like luck.

I think you expressed it quite well.

xhopeful said...

I didn't intend to comment when I initially started reading your blog, but your words sank in and I feel it's necessary.

Thank you for being able to smoothly and directly put into words what I feel about the whole idea...

It's not luck. And I think the hardest part for some of us is that these people actually mean well; but they certainly dont know what they dont know. Ignorance is no justification for saying things that make no sense.

I hate the way that it is assumed that because we do get to see our babies, that it is somehow "easier". I'd like to validate that it most certainly is not. And easier in comparison to what? People's views are just so incredibly distorted at times (as mine can be, as well.) Anyways, thank you so much for your words.

Anonymous said...

I am a prospective adoptive parent, and when I originally read your post I thought "who would say that?" but I have to admit even the most educated, well-meaning people have said it to us and to our prospective birth-mother. I cringed, knowing how it might strike her. Thank you for offering this keen insight. While I do feel very lucky that our prospective match is very mature and thoughtful, I understand how there is nothing that feels "lucky" about this to her.