Popular Adoption Sayings This Mom Refuses To Use (And Why)

popular adoption sayings

I carried my child in my heart, not in my womb.

This is the cheesiest of adoption sayings. First, it minimizes the significance and magnitude of the birth mother’s pregnancy and connection to the child. Second, there is no correlation between the birth mother carrying her child and the adoptive mother “carrying” the child in her heart. I much prefer the adoption triad triangle (a triangle with a heart in it) signifying the union of three persons: adoptee, adoptive parent, and birth parent. The sides are equal and together they create a beautiful shape that interconnects them.

DNA doesn’t make a family; love makes a family.

Technically, biology (DNA) did create the first family. And no matter what happens, whether the adoption is completely open and healthy and happy, or the adoption is closed with lots of mystery and uncertainty, the adoption wouldn’t happen without the first family. Though DNA isn’t a ticket to being a forever family, biology does matter. I have seen this so clearly in my own children, all of whom have open adoptions with their birth families. The resemblance to their birth families is incredibly clear. Not only do they physically resemble their birth families, but their personalities, their talents, their gestures, many of these come from their first families. There is simply no reason to put a hierarchy in place, ranking the birth family and the adoptive family. Nature and nurture play a part in the child’s life, and DNA does create a family. This saying sounds like a “take that” to biological families, so it’s not something I’ll be using.

Adopted children are gifts.

To me, a gift is a thing, an object. A child is a person, a human, with thoughts, feelings, opinions, and personalities. They are not at all the same. Giving a gift reminds me of Christmas, or a birthday, but certainly not the passing of a child between a biological parent and adoptive parent. Adoption is complicated, so it can hardly be packaged as a pretty statement referencing gift-giving and gift-receiving. The objectification of a child is bothersome. Yes, my children are incredible, and I’m very thankful to be their mother, but they aren’t presents.

Adoption is the new pregnant.

Adoption and pregnancy are not the same in any way, shape, or form. Furthermore, adoption isn’t a bandwagon to be joined. Choosing to adopt or place a child for adoption should be carefully considered, not made haphazardly, because ultimately, the adoption has a tremendous impact on the trajectory of the child’s life. To me, adoption is a serious, life-altering decision, whether it’s placing or becoming an adoptive parent. The adoption process and action cannot be summarized or referenced into this light-hearted, attempt-at-humor comment.

Adopted kids are so lucky!

This is often said as a result of what the media has taught the public about adoption. It is assumed that all adoptees came from abusive or neglectful circumstances, their biological parents fit a certain bill (young, drug abusers, sexually promiscuous, irresponsible, poor), and that the adoptive parents are the saviors who gave the adoptee “a good home.” Furthermore, adoptees shouldn’t be made to feel that they  should feel grateful for being adopted or that they were rescued by their adoptive parents. Adoptive parents are quite ordinary, and many, when asked, chose adoption because they wanted to grow their family. It’s not necessary for them to be put on a pedestal.

Never underestimate the power of an adoptive mom.

Though adoptive parenting can be different, in some ways, than parenting a biological child, an adoptive mother is first and foremost a mother. A real mother. Any person put on a pedestal is bound to disappoint those who put her on in the first place. Furthermore, having higher expectations of an adoptive mother puts a lot of pressure on the mom to make sure her children are perfect. This is simply not fair to the mother or the child. The family was formed in a way that isn’t common, but this doesn’t mean the family is overwhelmingly different, special, or deserving of applause or criticism.

Keep calm and adopt on!

This saying is ridiculous for a few reasons. First, keeping calm during an adoption process? Who is laughing with me? Second, adoption is simply not simple. To summarize and glorify it like “Rock on!” is not anywhere close to the true nature of adoption. I know the “keep calm” sayings are quite popular right now, used for everything from baking to studying to parenting, but applying anything along the lines of “calm” and keep on to those of us in the trenches of adoption, just isn’t going to fly.