It often comes up in the adoption group I am a member of whether it is really possible to love adopted and genetically related (biological) children equally. Many doubt it and some from experience.
A woman who gave up a child for adoption writes –
I am not sure if I could love an adopted child the same. I mean, it would be a child so of course I would love them. But love them as my own? I can’t honestly say yes.
People always point out how my son and I are so similar. Yes we look alike. But he has my anxiety, my compassion, my sensitive nature. If I had adopted a child, if people told me we were so much alike, some part of me would think they were just pacifying me.
I can’t imagine being adopted and having these thoughts. I struggle with the fact that I have a family member out there that I sentenced to these thoughts. I wish there was a lifelong revocation period for real.
An adoptee responds –
I used to laugh at people when they said me and my a dad look so much alike- we don’t. I used to love to say- that’s funny cause I’m adopted, just to make them feel silly. Somehow it made me feel better to discredit the mention of resemblance.
One woman made the point that an adoptive parent simply has no “biological” obligation to the adopted child. That is hard to argue with. A legal obligation certainly. A financial obligation, one would hope. I know my mom had told me her adoptive parents couldn’t disinherit her and her adopted brother because Texas law forbid that.
One woman notes she has seen this in spaces where the adoptive parents can remain anonymous. She says, adoptive mothers who have both biological and adopted children do validate the inequality, especially if put in the context of a theoretical question like – “if the house was on fire…who would you save ?”.. Certainly, adoptive parents who have only adopted children do believe they love them the same as if they were their “own” offspring but when the comparison is there in reality ?, that clarifies the issue.
A very honest example matches my illustration above –
I was raised by my natural mom but we are very different people. My next sibling and her always clicked in this way that she and I never did and it definitely f**ked with me.
I don’t know if it’s related but the entire narrative about how you’re supposed to love an adopted or fostered kid from the getgo “like they were your own” always struck me as really f**king bonkers and super gross and violent towards the kid in question.
Like, you’re strangers. They don’t even know if they’re gonna like you yet, leave them the alone and let them figure out their feelings in their own time and space.
One more, as an adoptive parent I would never speak for all adoptive parents, but in my experience as both a mother to a biological and an adopted child, it is NOT the same. There is more nuance, more complexity, more layers. I have often likened it to a marriage commitment. I choose to love her no matter what. Sometimes the feelings are there; sometimes they’re not. But I would also say that it’s true for every relationship. True love is a commitment and a daily choice.
Be sure to choose love regardless of whether the child is adopted or your own. Love is a state of being and how one acts towards another person. Love does not need a genetic relationship to exist. If the love isn’t there, find yourself a good therapist !!