I was in my late teens or early 20’s and spending the night with a friend. My mom and I had gotten into an argument—-not uncommon in those days—-and I was venting.
My friend, perhaps in an attempt to make me feel better, said soothingly, “Well, it isn’t like she’s your real mom anyway.”
The remark left me feeling like I had been dunked in ice water. It’s a mindset that is unfortunately shared by many, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard its kind: “My kids are my actual kids, so I can’t relate to people wanting to adopt,”, is another I remember vividly.
Such comments are incredibly hurtful, tone-deaf, and ignorant, implying that women who are unable to have kids by giving birth can’t have “real” children, and that adopted children don’t actually have parents. It implies that blood relation is the only relation that matters. Never mind the fact that people have drowned “their own” children in bathtubs, beaten them, starved them.
My mom, for her part, has supported me and instilled so many valuable life lessons: good work ethic, being kind, finding the humor in situations. To brush her off for not sharing blood with me is beyond ridiculous.
It’s an incredible thing to decide to adopt, and it’s time we end the stigma attached to it. Let’s celebrate the people who choose to love children, no matter which circumstances brought them together.
In fact, I offer this counter to anyone who agrees that adoptive parents aren’t real parents, and that they would never adopt: I am glad they decided not to.
Children need big hearts and open minds, two things those people seem to be sorely lacking, but which my real mom has in abundance.
(And by the way, I’m no longer friends with that person.)