I learned about the differences in social classes as a child growing up. My grandparents were the people who adopted each of my parents. Yes, both were adoptees.
On my mom’s side, her adoptive father was a banker and her adoptive mother a socialite. There was opulence and wealth in their household. My grandfather died relatively young. My grandmother then did whatever she wanted to – traveling the global and doling out charitable largess.
On my dad’s side, they were entrepreneurial and poor. They lived modestly. The contrast was always obvious.
In the family I grew up in, my dad was a union worker and my mom held jobs outside the home before I even entered public school. Eventually, she was able to talk my dad into letting her get a degree in music, supplement the family income by teaching music lessons and working on her own compositions. Though she never sold the sheet music she offered for sale, she died doing what she loved and was passionate about.
In learning about my original grandparents, there wasn’t really any wealth there. One of the first stories I heard was that my mom’s father’s family existed in such poverty that the chickens under the house could be seen under the floorboards and sometimes her half-sister went to bed hungry.
My dad’s mom had a hard life. Both grandmothers lost their own moms to death early in their childhoods.
Many of the children who end up adopted are surrendered due to poverty and a lack of financial resources. While some extended families actually do assist a vulnerable mother, that was not the case in any of my family’s experiences. As a society we could do much better and even fewer children would end up relinquished for adoption.
3 thoughts on “Class Differences”
That is an issue in adoption today. There are people who say that instead of adopting, adoptive parents ought to use the money to help a child stay with its birth family (usually birth mom). But that isn’t going to happen because the reason people want to adopt is to raise children of their own (big difference, for instance, between adoptive children and stepchildren, especially where the other biological parent is in the picture). But you are calling for society as a whole to do a better job. In some ways we are doing a somewhat better job, but today drugs and mental health issues also get in the way. There is no doubt that adoption is not all the rosy picture painted by some. Both my children are adopted, as is my brother.
It is not to say that adopted children do not always have a better situation. I know a few horror stories of my own and my youngest sister’s mental illness certainly precluded her from raising her son as well as he ended up being raised by an adoptive mother. And yes, society is not doing as well as it should in regard to drugs or mental health and sometimes it is both in one package. I do not claim to have ALL of the answers or even any real answers – I have simply become aware of some of the problems. Thanks for commenting.
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That is sad, but I have seen it happen, too. And, yes, drugs often are self-help for mental illnesses.
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