Please STOP Telling My Adopted Kids How Lucky They Are

Every time I hear someone tell me “your boys are so lucky that you guys adopted them,” a strange and uncomfortable feeling comes over me. For a long time, I couldn’t describe exactly why. When I would respond with a simple “thank you,” even that phrase felt weird. It was like I was admitting that these boys were indeed lucky. Deep down, though I never believed that to be true.

I was 20 weeks pregnant with my first born when I received a phone call asking if we could take a foster placement (sibling group). My husband and I had 45 minutes to make a decision. We reluctantly said yes. Agreeing to take on two siblings who had no doubt experienced trauma in one form or another in their young lives, wasn’t something we were prepared for. We did the trainings and online classes. The experts told us the possible scenarios we could expect. A home study was conducted and someone thought we were at least a decent fit to help raise someone else’s child(ren) for what would most likely be a temporary time. So what could go wrong?

Temporary. Right. We can do this. It’s no problem. We have done hard things before. Like, really hard. Caring for our elderly grandparent’s while newlyweds in our twenties, caring for a sick and dying parent, pregnancy loss, job loss and negative bank accounts just to name a few. It’s no big deal, we got this!

It was an October night in 2012 when our two oldest sons came walking through our door at 10:30pm. In front of us stood two tired and scared little boys. Only 7 and 8 years old, but wise beyond their years. I would be lying if I said it was instantly love at first meeting. My husband and I were also scared and wondered if we were doing the right thing. And I think this is part of the reason why I get uncomfortable with being told that they are the lucky ones. Over several days, weeks, months and eventually years, we have learned so much about ourselves and the world around us.

First Day of School in Their New City

Thank you, boys.

Where in all of this did they somehow become lucky? Being torn from a life you knew from day one. Remembering events in a previous life that no one would ever wish upon another person. Waking up every day and being fearful that you would be taken away. Going to another new school where you were only one of a handful of kids who looked like you. Being told that you should stop talking to that group of girls because they don’t like the color of your skin. Having a “friend” tell you that he doesn’t trust you because of the color of your skin. Whoa! That’s not ok and we as a society should not ignore these things. My eyes are opening wider.  Thank you, boys.

 Are we still talking about them being lucky? Just checking.

There were many ideologies that needed to be undone and it wasn’t my kids who needed to do the work. It was me. I don’t know about you, but when I’m given the gift of epiphany, I feel like the big winner. These kids are forgiving, fighters and strong beyond measure. They love without caveats and seemingly ignore my imperfections. They’ve unknowingly encouraged me to delve deeper into the world of mental illness. Their birth mother is sick despite the fact that she raised my kids for the first 8 years of their lives. Our parenting philosophies don’t match, but she made some pretty heartbreaking choices so that the chance of her boys succeeding in life would be a tad bit greater. I’m not mad at her. I pray for her and so do my sons. We wish her the best and I’m so grateful for her sacrifice. Wide eyes over here. Thank you, boys.

    The Bonds These Boys Have is Unbreakable

Supporting causes that speak up and speak out for minorities has become a passion for me. This mama cannot stand in silence just because I’m afraid of offending my more conservative counterparts. While some ideas aren’t popular, I’m totally ok with that. The older I get, the wiser I’m becoming. It’s not about the number of friends you have but the quality of the friendship. Intentional relationships are where it’s at. Because when you’re consumed with trying to raise men, there isn’t much room for other things in your life. More life lessons. Crazy wide eyes. Thank you, boys.

 

 ~Our Tribe~

I know the “luck professors” don’t mean an ounce of harm. In fact, I’m sure they’re intentions are nothing but well meaning; but I encourage you to stop saying that to adoptive parents. We are the lucky ones that someone, in one way or another, chose us to raise the precious children in our care.  

 

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15 Responses to Please STOP Telling My Adopted Kids How Lucky They Are

  1. LeeAnn Dalgleish September 13, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    Beautiful, Right on Point!

  2. AnnaMaria September 14, 2017 at 6:34 am #

    Love this so much! Your family is beautiful. You inspire me!

  3. Rachel Mackay September 16, 2017 at 8:36 am #

    Thank you so much AnnaMaria!

  4. Michelle September 18, 2017 at 9:48 pm #

    As an adoptive parent of two this speaks to me! I also have been told my kids are lucky when I think that we are the lucky ones!

  5. G September 21, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    Spot on – my daughter is the reason I have a family

  6. Cindy Hutfles September 22, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

    You and your precious family are so blessed!

  7. Lauren September 22, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and your perspective. I love that you became aware of the racism your boys experience and are fighting against that.

    One thing that I’d like to point out though, is that you say, you aren’t afraid to offend your conservative counter-parts. I’m not sure what kind of statement you are trying to make, but it seems like you are saying conservative = racist. You might want to be careful with that language because it makes a blanket statement about those who have conservative viewpoints. While there are some conservatives that are racist, not all are and a vast majority of those that are alt-right. Not conservative. It would be like saying all liberals are communists. Just a thought 🙂

  8. Alicia September 23, 2017 at 12:44 am #

    We are less then 30 days away from adopting our foster son. I hear the same thing all of the time and it makes me cringe. WE are the lucky ones to have him.

  9. Terry September 24, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. So much of this resonates with my families situation.

  10. Caprice September 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm #

    Thank you so much! My husband and I have 2 fabulous sons brought to us via foster/adoption and we couldn’t have been luckier. I also cringe when people tell me the boys are so lucky, I usually reply, saying ‘It’s a mutually beneficial relationship; they needed parents and we needed kids!”

  11. ina rimpau September 30, 2017 at 1:38 am #

    What beautiful sons you have.

  12. Deb Burnell September 30, 2017 at 2:04 am #

    Wonderfully written. My sister and family adopted a beautiful 10 month old, now 20 year old child from China. Her family resides in Canada though they are US citizens so it was quite the international adoption. Six weeks before they were told they could finally come and pick Emma up after waiting 2 years and already investing $10K into the process they were told they would need to bring an additional $10K in paper expediting fees (aka bribes). My sis of course did not have this money and all of her family and friends chipped in to come up w/ the additional funds. Emma has always known she was wanted by her whole family and community and that we have been blessed by her presence in our lives never the other way around. Now that she is old enough, she has been told the story of her last minute fund raising effort to get her home so she truly knows how very wanted she was.

  13. Laine November 10, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

    As a fellow adoptive mama, I couldn’t agree more! You have a beautiful family! Much love xoxoxo

  14. Jennifer Talbot June 21, 2018 at 5:34 pm #

    I wish it would stop being about who is the lucky ones, the children or the parents. It is like we are placed on seperate teams when this happens. Yes, you love your sons and they are teaching you alot. Noone is debating that. But what was their alternative had you taken those 45 minutes and replies “no, this really isn’t the best timing to take on that kind of challenge.” Do you think about that when someone tells you how lucky your boys are to have you? Because that is what they mean when they tell you this. Yes, they face great adversity, and yes their lives will have challenges, but how do these challenges compare to the ones they may have faced had they been placed in a foster home that had less benevolent intentions for your boys. I am not sure what makes someone almost unable to accept a compliment, but let me tell you, that there is nothing wrong with it. It doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate everything they have added to your life, and it does not mean that they are not an absolute blessing upon you and your husband, and I am sure it shines through in the way you are with your children how much you love them and feel they are a gift, but when someone says your kids are lucky to have you, it is because they are complimenting you and your beautiful heart that made the choice to adopt those amazing boys and bring them into your life. They would not have found you by themselves. Noone is minimizing their worth, they are simply acknowledging YOURS. And rhat is OK. Yes, there are alot of less than favorable parents in this world, and the ones that are loving and awesome, and in this case CHOSE to help some children that could have been placed anywhere else that would not have been as wonderful for them as with YOU. So take the praise. Parents are always so busy praising their children that they are marginalized, all the attention being on the children and building their self esteem, leading to a world of entitled youth like we have on our hands today. I am sure your kids appreciate you, but sometimes we give our kids a bit too much credit believing they can judge situations for themselves when they do not know life like we do, and must learn to appreciate their parents, and every compliment that tells them that they are lucky, that not everyone is as fabulous as you, especially with your younger boys who have never known an alternative, it is helping them learn to appreciate everything you do for them. It is ok for you to feel like the lucky one, but to act like they aren’t lucky too is just silly.

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