Out on our weekly date at a favorite lunch spot, we were barely seated when I heard her voice. Although her back was to us, we heard every word without any effort. In fact it would have been impossible not to hear her.
She was engrossed in loudly telling the woman seated with her about a mutual friend. It went something like this, “She’s been having to deal with her daughter, you know the one she adopted, the girl’s not really doing anything wrong, not really, but she’s just not really cooperating either.”
What the heck??
Why the label?
Her words stung my heart, reminding me of countless times I have heard that very same phrase over the years.
The first time I remember hearing someone say that, was back in the mid 70’s, before I was even married or had the joy of being an adoptive mom ten times over. I was in a conversation with a man as he was telling me a story of a friend’s son who had made some regretful choices. He commented to me, “His son got in trouble with the law, he’s the one they adopted!”
I wasn’t brave enough at the time to respond, but every fiber of my being wanted to come back with, “Are you serious?? Did you forget your second oldest son, whom you birthed, was quite the thug for years and that fourth kid of yours, whom you and your wife also birthed met the law personally, remember?” Regretfully, I didn’t have the guts back then to say anything.
But today is a different story. This silver haired mom of many has had enough!!
In fact in 2004, I remember watching the live broadcast of former President Ronald Reagan’s funeral and as the announcer was talking his television audience through the processional he was saying, “Here we have Maureen Reagan seated by Michael Reagan – his adopted son….”
I was aghast!!.
When in the world would Michael Reagan just become Ronald Reagan’s “son?“ Apparently never in former President Reagan’s lifetime! It had been almost 60 years and the media had not been able to let go of the label that Michael was adopted!!
And we wonder why kids who have been adopted often feel unaccepted??!! Really?
Big shocker there!!!!
I mean, seriously?
What is going on? The paperwork for Michael Reagan has been done for nearly six decades and this “professional reporter” is still referring to it!!
And to make matters worse, almost every time I have heard the label, “they adopted that one” refers to one who is causing trouble.
For the record, let’s just say it – we all have known many, many, many, many, many birth children who have given their parents a stinkin’ run for their money. Children birthed by good parents, engaging parents, involved parents, nice parents, parents who have gone to parenting conferences, parents who have spoken at parenting conferences, parents who have even raised their kids in “the church” – yes, plenty have gone sideways making yukky, lousy and regretful choices.
But somehow it’s never goes like this….NOT EVEN ONCE – “This kid here, the one they birthed, has been arrested and gone to jail” or even a bit more up close….“This kid here, the one I birthed, has gone sideways and I don’t know what to do.”
Why is that??
Why does the “adoption” label just keep sticking?? And especially when it comes to kids who struggle??
Isn’t it time to peel it off?
Somehow most seem to think it’s okay to remind an adopted male or female that they didn’t come into a family quite the same way. And if they go sideways, even a little (heaven help us!) the big “A” word is worked and whispered in hushed voices, “Ohhhhh! That’s the one they A.D.O.P.T.E.D.!”
The stark reality is this:
All kids are capable of making horrific choices. Yes! Kids who are birthed, home-birthed, born in water in a tub in your home, fostered, nursed, co-slept with, adopted or otherwise.
Because we all have our own ability to make choices: good choices, bad choices and downright ugly choices. Period. We are all sinners – all of us, me included.
Sadly, we apparently have an entire nation to educate that the paperwork in an adoption means that they have every right as a birthed child and that no distinction can be made by anyone legally or otherwise!! And that – believe it or not – birth kids cause trouble too.
Call me crazy, but it seems like it’s time to purposefully and intentionally peel the label off.