Should our adoptive children be constantly thanking us for giving them a home?

How many of you adoptive parents have heard comments that imply that your child should be grateful to have been adopted by you?  It might be a variation of the “He’s so lucky” comment.  Or it might be like one of our Creating a Family community heard, when her 11 year old adopted daughter was acting like a typical snotty pre teen who was being told “no”.  Said daughter stomped out of the room and slammed her bedroom door to emphasize her disappointment.  A visitor commented to the mother: “You would think she’d show a little more gratitude after all you’ve done for her!”

I hate to burst that woman’s bubble, but gratitude is not inherent in the nature of most children. I will get an occasional spontaneous “thank you”, a few more when demanded, and even more when they want something, but usually my children take what I offer as their due, which in fact, I suppose, it is.  I don’t mean to say that my kids are disrespectful, although on occasion they are that as well.  What I mean is that they are not particularly grateful for their existence or presence in our family.  I think that my kids—or least my older two– appreciate that they could have done worse in the parenting department, but they’ve never thanked me for bringing them into this family.  I don’t expect them to.

I think this is pretty typical of kids regardless how they came to be yours.  Just because you went through five years of infertility treatment, three failed IVF cycles, and $100,000 doesn’t mean that your child will go through life in a permanent state of gratitude for your persistence and fortitude.  The same is true for adopted children.

No child deserves the pressure of feeling undying gratitude for being rescued.  Most people adopt because they want to be a parent.  It’s an added bonus that the child gets a home and a great family.

Image credit: Nakeva