Is Your Child’s Love Enough to Make Adoption Worth It?

Dawn Davenport


Adoption: Is your child's love worth it?

Is the love for your child and the love your child has for you enough if your child doesn’t like adoption?

In the comments to my blog Is There Such a Thing as a Happy Adoptee? a prospective adoptive parent said, “All I was really looking for was some reassurance that I wasn’t guaranteed to make some child miserable just because I could never be biologically connected to them.”

Mei-Ling, an adult adopted from Taiwan as an infant, responded: “You are looking for the reassurance that love is enough in adoption. While I wouldn’t say adoption in itself equals a life of misery for any child, in a permanent state of forever, I do wonder if knowing that a child who has been given a ton of love and “the world” (metaphorically speaking) and who still ends up not liking adoption, would be considered “enough.” That is to say, if the child dearly loves his/her parents, and the parents love that child to the end of the earth, yet all this love in the world is not enough to prevent the hurt caused by adoption, then is it still worth it? If you love your child more than life itself, and your child loves you just as much, yet your child does not like that the adoption had to happen in order for you to have become the parent… then would you still do it, knowing this?”

Wow, talk about a thought provoking question. I can’t speak for all adoptive parents (I don’t believe in the concept of the generic adoptive parent any more than I believe in the generic adoptee), but I think our children’s love would be more than enough for most of us.

Don’t get me wrong–I want very much to protect my kids from the hurts of life. I would give anything to protect them from the potentially big “hurts” such as learning disabilities, birth defects, and having been adopted. Heck, I’d give a lot to protect them from the lesser hurts of life as well, such as not making the soccer team, being passed over for much deserved school recognition, and from snarky mean friends.   Unfortunately, this type of protection is beyond my ability no matter how much I love them.

Most adoptive parents aren’t seeking a perfect child or a child without the scars of life. Truth be told, no person will get through life without events they wished had not happened; events that have scarred them. A fair number of parents come to adoption from the awful experience of infertility. They too are scarred; they too wish that they hadn’t had to endure that experience. In the end, most are reasonably happy well-adjusted people madly in love with the children they are parenting.

I wish my children had not had to experience adoption in order for me to be their parent. I imagine my kids will feel the same.   At the same time, I’m immensely thankful that I am their parent, and I hope they are relatively happy that they are my child. I hope they are also happy that they are the child of their birth family. A lot of adoptive parents wish they had not had to experience infertility in order to become a parent, but they are thankful that they are parenting the child that they have.

All most of us parents want, regardless whether we arrive at parenting through adoption or pregnancy, is to love and be loved, and the privilege of walking through life from childhood to adulthood with this beautiful child of ours.

Image credit: jsrcyclist

20/03/2012 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 6 Comments

6 Responses to Is Your Child’s Love Enough to Make Adoption Worth It?

  1. Avatar Dani says:

    John, I concur that helping the adopted child grow their ability to love and be open to love is at the center. This is true when helping others work through grief of any kind and something worth remembering. Often childhoods are focused on ABC, 123, sports, and the million other things that we as a culture value. Love should be right at the top of the list.

    theadoptedones: I agree that adoption and the “parties” involved are full of human frailties. I do celebrate the local efforts around the world to embrace all babies so many can stay in their extended families, communities, culture. What is heart breaking is the number of children who are no longer babies who need TLC, homes, school, etc. How do we take care of them, provide for them best within the “business model” of adoption? I don’t have any answers but it has been weighing on my heart.

    Thanks, as usual, Dawn for posting and generating these important discussions.

  2. Avatar Jerry Clarke says:

    I think one of our jobs as adopted parents is to help the child understand that he or she can love us and others, and yet grieve the fact that they were not able to live with their birth family. Life is full of losses and if a child can learn to handle them, they’ll be stronger because of it. I want my adopted child to love me, but more importantly, I just want him to be able to love.

  3. Not speaking for Mei-Ling…there are two sides to not liking adoption – the fact you had to be adopted and not liking how adoption is practiced.

    I do believe that some AP’s don’t believe that a perfectly “happy” adoptee can also not like adoption, how it is practiced, and promoted as the be all end all.

    A very poor crude analogy:
    I can love my house that is primarily wood and still dislike/hate the fact that trees to build it were cut down during a time when clear cut was the method of logging, and that the logging industry practices are not always environmentally sound to this day. That they need to continually evolve to only environmentally sound practices.

    I think people who want to be AP’s or are AP’s need to be comfortable with adult adoptees critiquing how adoption is practiced. Read it and try to take away your story and really analyze what was said. Any other business model works on a continual improvement process system – why would that not apply to adoption – because it is a business whether you like it or not. If the improvement means less babies for adoption, because only babies really in need of adoption are adopted, then that is a cause for celebration, right? There really shouldn’t be any “but what about all those people who want to be parents” tacked on to the answer.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      theadoptedones: Right on! “Any other business model works on a continual improvement process system – why would that not apply to adoption?” Yes, it should and yes, adult adoptees need to be heard on how to improve the model.

  4. Avatar amy says:

    I had never thought of it this way…

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