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Adoption Double Standard

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Guest blogger Jana Mathews: It's okay to be frustrated with your child ... unless that child is adopted.

mom upset with son

Maybe it's just me (and I hope that it is!), but it seems like there is a double standard when it comes to parenting: moms are allowed to get angry with their biological children, but a mother who expresses any emotion other than undefiled joy in relation to her adopted child is a horrible parent and an ungrateful person ... at least according to some people.

"How can you get angry with someone that you wanted so badly?" is my favorite line.

It frustrates me when people hold adoptive parents to a higher standard of parenting than non-adoptive parents. I don't feel that I should have to prove my commitment to or love for my adopted child any more than I do my biological children.

For the record, I do in fact remember how desperately I wanted to be a mother and how overjoyed I was when I learned that I was going to be one. My daughter is the light of my life and I love her dearly. The way she came into our family is special and every time I look at her, I am filled with gratitude for the blessing that is to raise her and call her my own.

Letting that gratitude bleed into favortism, however, doesn't do anyone any favors. My daughter is my child, not a house guest or visiting dignitary. She has chores, just like her brothers. She goes to time-out when she misbehaves, just like her brothers. She also has daily "special time" with me and weekly date nights with her father ... just like her brothers.

Some people seem to be genuinely shocked that parents treat their adopted children the same -- no better, no worse -- as their non-adopted children. I am surprised by those who think that we wouldn't.

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8 comments so far | Post a comment now
JackieMacD February 7, 2009, 10:32 AM

Jana Matthews, I could just kiss you. YES, YES, YES! I agree with every word and could’ve written this myself. While my daughter hasn’t been home as long — and we’re still adjusting in some ways — she is two and expected to do the same things my boys were expected to do at 2. (which really, is not all that much but still!)

I sometimes get the feeling that I’m supposed to be picking flowers and sharing an ice cream cone with her daily, and not actually parenting her.

leelee February 7, 2009, 11:31 AM

As the adopted child in my family (I have brothers) I think all children should be parented according to who they are, not how they arrived into the family. My mother never considred me adopted (yet it was never hidden - just didn’t matter) since I was so young (still a baby). Children, especially adopted ones, don’t want to feel singled out and treated differently. We want the same disipline, rules and love that the other children get. We have enough issues as it is!

Agreed February 7, 2009, 6:15 PM

You are right. Not that it is the exact same thing but it goes for stepparenting as well. Just b/c a child isn’t BIOLOGICALLY yours doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to get frustrated at them when they misbehave!

michelle February 9, 2009, 10:27 AM

Thank you!!! I’m a single mom to 2 beautiful girls whom I adopted 7 years ago. In the beginning, if I was frustrated by the same things all parents get frustrated about, friends would say, “But you ASKED for this! Welcome to parenting!” Well, don’t people who have biological children “ask for it”, especially those whose kids are planned? My sis has children the same ages as mine and we have similar parenting styles. My girls have chores, rules, etc just like all kids. How they come into the family doesn’t matter - they’re kids. They still need guidance and boundaries.

Anonymous February 9, 2009, 10:33 AM

I have an adult relative who was adopted and she uses it as a manipulation. SHE SAYS if you ever get upset with her, you’re picking on her beacuse she’s adopted. (eyeroll)

T&C mom February 20, 2009, 9:43 AM

I have two children. One adopted and the other biological. My adopted child is 2yrs old and his brother is 7yrs old guess who is making me crazy in the house now. It doesn’t matter. biological or adopted kids are kids.

Barbara April 3, 2009, 1:25 AM

My husband was adopted when he was five years old. He was adopted with his younger brother and sister. His new parents treated him like he was not wanted and was always the butt of their jokes and was disciplined much stricter than his brother or sister were. Now, please tell me what is fair about that? I am now dealing with all his tormenting past and it is very hard for him to be close to anyone, even his wife who loves him completely. He should never have been adopted by those horrible people! Just a wife’s opinion of his life…which was all bad for him. He has spent his whole life trying to prove that he is worth something, darn it. He IS the best man in the whole wide world and proves it every day to me.

Cakprayg June 29, 2009, 1:29 AM

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