“I do not intend to be rude, but since you put yourself out here, I have a question. If the fact that some children are in need of parents is what made you interested in adoption, why did you choose infant adoption, when there is no shortage of parents for newborns?”
I received this question about adoption, and rather than answering back privately, I thought this was the perfect time to talk about infant adoptions versus adopting older children. I would like to say, “Thank you,” to the person that asked, because I think this is one of the big stigmas about adoption that needs to be broken. Keep in mind, everyone’s story is different, so I can only share my perspective. But, I did call on some friends for help, to help me find words for all of these emotions in my heart.
***DISCLAIMER*** I do NOT recommend asking anyone else this question. I opened up this blog so that people could ask me questions like this, BECAUSE I want to shed some light on what adoption really means. So, I am totally ok with this! But, it can be perceived as a very offensive question. It is very personal to each and every person.
Why adoption is for MY family
First, I would like to address the first part of the question. In the “Our Story” section of the blog, I talk about my Uncle telling my family about some kids in Romania, living in an orphanage, that needed families. I was in Elementary school at the time. This was not my first encounter with adoption, BUT the first time I had the impression that I wanted to adopt.
As I got older, and continued to think about adoption, I learned that there are several different ways to adopt. Infant adoption, foster to adopt, foster for reunification, International adoption, adoption with an agency, private adoption, transracial adoption, special needs adoption, open adoption, closed adoption, the list goes on. I researched a ton. But not just how to adopt. I researched the sociology behind it, the psychology behind it. I did a lot of self evaluation and wrote out my 10 + year plans. Most importantly I prayed about it. (Realize that this is my side of the story, not my husbands. He had his own journey).
Now, not everyone believes in God or spiritual promptings, but I do. Our whole adoption journey was completely dependent on Heavenly Father and his plan he had in store for us. If he would have directed us to Foster to adopt, we would have. BUT he knew where our son was and he led us to him. I believe everyone is directed to where their children are.
“It is not about finding A child. It is about finding THE child that was meant to be in my family.” -My good friend, Carly Thompson
As I also mentioned in the “Our Story” section, the reason we started the adoption process when we did, is because we had an opportunity presented before us to possibly adopt the baby of a family friend. That baby was never ours, but we truly believe that situation was placed before us so that we could be ready for our son. If we would not have prepared for that baby, we would not have been able to adopt our son. That was a true act of God.
We firmly believe that Tyce was always supposed to be in our family. It wasn’t chance. He is our son. He and Taelynn were meant to be siblings and grow and learn from each other.
Infant Adoption Vs. Adopting Older Children.
Now, to answer the question more logistically. All kinds of adoptions require different abilities from the adopting parents. This is really hard for me to put into words, so I have a friend, Kaitlyn Phillips, from an adoption group, that is helping me out a little. She said,
“Adopting an infant and adopting an older child are not interchangeable. They are very different experiences, and each come with their own unique set of challenges and blessings.”
Whatever route you decide to take in building your family, you have to be prepared for the challenges that come with each situation. I would add, this also includes building your family through giving birth.
For me, we were not in a position to adopt an older child or to get certified as a foster parent. I like how Kaitlyn put it,
“I don’t think a person should “just” adopt an older child because they want to adopt. If a couple is adopting an older child, they need to be in a position emotionally, spiritually, and physically to care for, parent, and be a good fit for an older child.”
The same goes for an infant adoption. BUT that does not mean that being prepared for one makes you prepared for the other.
An older child that is looking for a family has different needs than an infant being adopted. I see so many amazing parents that have adopted older children. Some of the skills that they have blow me away. They were meant to be parents to those children and those children were meant to be in their family. I can’t even begin to imagine the emotional roller coaster that so many of these kids go through, in their search for their forever family. They need parents that can give them the attention and support to heal and grow.
Unfortunately, I would not have had the right amount of attention or emotional stability to give an older child and a newborn.
Yes, There are so many older children looking for families. BUT, that can’t be your only reason to adopt an older child. You need to be prepared for what that entails. Otherwise, you will not be successful as a parent. This leads me to the “Savior Mentality.”
The “Savior” Mentality
THIS IS IMPORTANT! (It is such a strong opinion I have, I dare to claim it as a FACT.)
When you adopt, you are not the child’s “Savior.” You are their parent. I didn’t “save” my son, and if he ever feels like he “owes” me because I adopted him, I will truly feel like I have failed as a parent.
Although, Taelynn and Tyce will always be free to try and repay me for the sleepless nights, the several ounces of spit up I have caught in my eye, mouth, bra and who knows where else…I JOKE!!! My point is, I am their mom. I expect the same respect and love from them that any mother should hope to receive from their kids.
I didn’t choose to build my family through adoption because I wanted to “save” children. I am not God. This misconception makes me so sad. I chose to adopt because I knew that I had a child out there that I had to find.
I am often told things along the line of, “Tyce is so lucky that you adopted him.” “You are so amazing to take on that child.” “wow, I couldn’t do that.” I know you mean well, and I thank you for that. But, would you ever go up to me and say those things about Taelynn? Maybe you would, but up until this point no one has given me praise because I conceived her. WHICH IS HOW IT SHOULD BE! At least in my book.
In a way, I guess you could say we were all saved. Heavenly Father had his hand in this whole experience. And my family was “saved” because we all get to be together. My kids personally “save” me everyday. I don’t know what my life would be without them. BUT Matt and I didn’t do the saving.
To summarize- Matt, Taelynn and Tyce are my family. I get to carry the proud title of “Mom.” Being a mom gives me so much happiness. We all build our families in different ways and adoption just happened to be in the plans for us. We were led to Tyce. If you believe in destiny, I guess this would be the best description of it.
Thank you all so much for reading my ramblings. I hope I could answer this question with justice. You are free to send me questions as well, and I will answer them in the best of my ability.
4 thoughts on “Adoption Stigma: “Savior” Mentality and Types of Adoptions”
I love this! Thanks for writing and helping people (like me) understand better.
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I think you explained this really well. In my own situation, my husband and I were planning on doing older child foster tp adopt (I think I did want to save children, from things like no one to walk them down the isle,celebrate milestones and answer questions the way only a mom can.)
And then God in his wisdom flung open doors that I never saw coming.
We ended up raising our twin Great niece and nephew as infants and adopting them at age 3. Sometimes the why of infant or older adoption is just not clear cut.
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Thank you so much for writing this and sharing! You have put into words what I would love to say to so many loving and well intentioned friends. 💗