What an absurd question to ask. Does anyone really know the answer to that? Can you go back in time, stop my adoption from happening, see how I would have been raised, had my biological parents kept me and then make a judgement call on which set of parents did the better job? The answer is no. You cannot. So why is that a question, or general assumption that is held, that adoptive parents are better at raising their adoptive children than others raising their biological children?
It honestly flabbergasts me that people think that. In my experience, my parents tried to treat me exactly the same as my non-adoptive siblings. This was both a good and a bad thing. As an adult, I understand the thought behind it. They did not want me to feel any differently, wanted me to feel the same as my siblings, like I belonged. And I appreciate the sentiment. The problem was, I was never going to feel like I belonged. Not in the sense they wanted. There hasn’t been a single adoptee I have ever talked to who has truly felt no different than their adoptive family. That has not had some sense of feeling like they did not belong. It is not something that can be loved away. It is not something that the best parenting in the entire world could ever change. It just is.
You cannot manifest a connection that isn’t there from birth. There is nothing that can replace the connection a son or daughter has with their mother. Nothing. That is a fact. That is what adoptive parents NEED to understand. That when their adoptive children act out, or have behavioral problems, that it may not be a direct result of their parenting. That is maybe because we have been traumatized and it’s a trauma no one recognizes. Many adoptees have been diagnosed with PTSD. I have been diagnosed with depression. These things are not uncommon, but they are not usually recognized or treated. Do I blame my adoptive parents for this? Not directly, no. I blame ignorance, in general. So much was unknown about adoption and its impacts until the last decade, maybe. Should my adoptive parents have done more research and realized that trying to make me be exactly like my siblings wasn’t the best way to treat me? Probably. But I do think they did their best. I think they tried to love me the way they knew how, which was just like the rest of their kids. I do know that their love never felt like enough to me and that makes me sad. I still feel like an outsider, despite their attempts. I still feel like the black sheep. I know I was a terrible teenager. I felt so much rage, anger, hurt and sadness inside and I didn’t really know why. I knew I didn’t feel loved. I felt like I had no place in the world.
I have always been told, by multiple people, that I am so much better off being raised by my adoptive parents. That it was infinitely better than being raised by my single, biological mother. But how do they know? I know I wouldn’t have felt all those feelings I described in the above paragraph. I at least know that. I also know that I would really like for society to stop making generalizations like this one. I would like people to stop assuming that adoptees are “better off.” It puts a lot of pressure on us to be this person that we are expected to be, because of this opportunity we were given, to be adopted and raised by “better” parents. Just one more added layer in the complexity of the life of an adoptee.