Confusing Lust As Love

A less common definition for Lust is a passionate desire for “x”.

A woman in my all things adoption group wrote – To love someone is sometimes a decision you make every day. Between posts from Second Chance Adoptions and adoptive parents in other groups, I’m seeing a lack of unconditional love in adoptive families. How many times have we seen from hopeful adoptive parents “I’m in love with a child I haven’t met yet.” That’s not love, it’s lust. Some people are seriously confused about what it means to “love.”

Another woman notes something I have long know is true of how most people do define love.

Most people sadly place conditions on their love. I love you as long as you love me. I love you as long as you do what I say. I love you as long as you never upset me. I love you but only if you never struggle. I love you until you say you hate me. I love you until you say I’m not your real parent. I love you until you decide to go live with your biological mom. And the ultimate one, “I love you as long as it’s convenient and beneficial for me.”

I am an unconditionally loving person. I can love even the worst scoundrel on some level. But I agree with this remark – unconditionally loving someone, doesn’t mean, I have to do things for him or her that hurt me or my family. This is where I have sadly had to arrive with my youngest sister, who traumatizes me and leaves me obsessed if I have too much interaction with her. I do love her. I wish her well in the most obvious definition of that word but I have to also care about myself and my other family members.

Another woman defined it this way – Real, true unconditional love has no conditions. True unconditional love comes with respect, compassion and understanding. True unconditional love says that no matter how something may make me feel or how it may make my life harder, if you need it, I will do it for you because I love you.

I think the operative word there is “need”. Sometimes what someone needs is very hard for us to do but we do it anyway. Like when I had to ask the court to determine my sister’s competency to manage her own affairs. That was all that was required, that I ask it be looked at. Of course, she didn’t appreciate it but with our parents both dying, it was something she needed and a family member had to ask for it. Then it was the judge, the social worker and the psychologist who made the determine how much assistance she should have. I am glad that wasn’t a determination I had to make. I do value freedom and self-determination and I never wanted those taken from my sister and for the most part, the judge has left her free except in the overall management of her finances. She is still able to spend her budgeted allowance any way she choses.

Another woman stated her honest opinion – Oh, I hate that shit! “We’re so heartbroken that the biological mom decided to keep her baby. We were already in love with her.” Like, baby isn’t even born yet but don’t tell me you wouldn’t take absolutely ANY baby.

To which, another affirmed – Right. They’d just move on to the next. It doesn’t matter what baby, as long as it’s a baby.

Then there is the “I chose you” facade so many adoptive parents perpetrate –

My adoptive mom used to tell me that they got to pick me and that biological parents just get the kid they’re given. It’s bs. They didn’t pick me! They took the first baby available. They would have taken the next baby in line if I’d been given to someone else.

Which comment elicited sympathy – I can’t even begin to imagine how it feels to know that. I’m sure most domestic infant adoption adoptees know that, and I’m sure y’all just wish your adoptive parent would at least be honest.

I found this a good analogy – As I told an ex once, “You weren’t in love with me, just with the *idea* of someone to fit the role you envisioned.” I know it is possible to become deeply attached to what someone represents, without unconditionally loving that person. 

Tricky Situations

I get it.  Sometimes family isn’t really safe.  What’s a foster parent to do, in order to keep lines of communication with original family open ?  And do it safely ?

First of all it may take time to build trust and allow the original family members an opportunity to get to know you as a real and caring human being.  When the original family can see clearly that you are caring for their children in a manner a loving parent would want their child cared for that can go a long way towards developing that trust.  It is about having rapport with one another in common cause.

As a foster parent you may have to put aside your thoughts of worry and/or fears.  Begin by just engaging with these kids’ parent(s) from a perspective of one human being to another human being.  In other words, common courtesy and good manners. Don’t bring up conditions like – “you need to be safe for contact to begin or continue.”  Wow, is that ever a sure way to get anyone’s heckles up. Of course, if something dangerous actually happens, then as the responsible party you will have to make the appropriate call, but don’t anticipate it.

No finger pointing, looking down your nose at the original parent or assuming the worst about them.  Try to put yourself in their shoes.  Think about how hurt you’d feel if some stranger put conditions on seeing your baby.  If this parent does get violent, well of course, you are going have to end that visit.  Logic would dictate that you don’t need to tell a parent in this situation.  In child protective situations, they already know the issues.  As the foster parent that will just need to be the move you make IF the time comes.

Don’t  listen only to or form an opinion solely based on other people’s opinions.  Depend first on your own personal knowledge of the original parent(s).  Your direct experience.  Give this parent who has already suffered the worst possible loss a chance to redeem themselves.  People change.  People learn from mistakes.  It is terrible to be stuck into a permanent box over temporary behavior that was so very wrong – admittedly.  This is not to be in denial of danger or to reject out of hand what you’ve been told but balance that with what you experience for yourself.  Forewarned but NOT pre-judgmental.

Get away from the governmental system as much as possible.  Try navigating the first family relationships organically and as naturally as possible.  If possible, make contact with other extended first family members.  Extended family – aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents – can be absolute gold in a foster child’s life.

Realize that child protective services and social workers may not be motivated to assist you.  You may have to find the extended family yourself.  You can try searching on Facebook and reaching out to them privately and directly.  It would be a rare case that someone in the child’s genetic extended family didn’t want anything to do with these kids.  There would likely be someone who would love to be in their life and has been prevented with obstacles put in the way.

I want to be clear that I have never been a foster child or adopted, I have never been a foster parent or an adoptive parent and I have never been a biological/genetic parent who had my rights terminated.  I have been intensely educating my own self for 2-1/2 years (even since I began to learn the stories behind all of the adoptions in my own biological/genetic family).  I work very hard to gain an accurate understanding by considering and listening to ALL of the related voices and perspectives.  My desire is to be as balanced as possible, when I write blogs here.