I follow a fair few people on social media, and there is always been lots of discussion. around whether adopted people should be grateful to have been adopted. Grateful to their parents for adopting them. It’s one that I’ve always found interesting, because being adopted myself, and having also adopted my daughter, I think I can bring thoughts and experience from both sides. What I do want to make clear now though, is that there isn’t a right or wrong view. Experiences are personal and they shape people’s opinions. It’s ok to think differently to others. It’s ok to disagree.

I think the old view of adoption is that the adopted person is very lucky to have been adopted. That they are lucky to have escaped the terrible situation they were in. That they are lucky to have the chance to grow up safe and loved. Lucky to have such amazing parents who saved them. Historically adopted people have been expected to feel grateful for the new life and everything that goes with it that adoption has given them. They have been expected to be seen to be grateful to their parents.

This view I think comes from a much less acknowledged and openly talked about knowledge and acceptance that although adoption can be, and is a good thing, everything about it also carries loss and trauma. I think we now understand how adoption is a loss of identity, a loss of family. For most, the reasons for adoption are traumatic, the repercussions of which will stay with that person for the rest of their life. The actual adoption in itself, although healing can also be traumatic. Imagine being taken from everything you know and living with people you’ve only just met. Imagine not seeing those you people you trusted, and thinking they’ve gone for ever. Of course steps are taken to minimise trauma that results from adoption, but it’s always still going to be there.

When you think of all these things, it’s easy to see why adopted people are often not grateful or thankful to have been adopted. Some didn’t ever want to be adopted. Some never asked to be. Some were never given any chance to say what they wanted to happen to their lives. For some, despite the difficulties in their birth families, they’d rather have them then have their connections to their biological family severed by adoption. I can really see why some adopted people are angry they were adopted. Some are angry at the system, some at their adoptive parents. Some at everyone/everything.

Now, I personally struggle with the view adopted people shouldn’t be grateful and thankful to be adopted. For me, adoption has been a overwhelmingly positive. I am indeed grateful and thankful to have been adopted. I know my story, and I know that the alternative to adoption would have resulted in a very different life for me. Adoption has literally given me life. I know I wouldn’t be where I am, or have achieved what I have without it. I know I am loved, and have learnt to love because of adoption. I feel incredibly blessed to have the parents and siblings that I do now, and I wouldn’t be without any of them. It was my positive experience of adoption that made me want to adopt a child myself.

I don’t think I should change my views or opinions about being grateful for being adopted. I don’t think I’m any less of a genuine adopted person because I feel like I do. And, yes, sometimes I have been made to doubt myself, my experiences and feelings because they don’t match with others. Feeling grateful and thankful doesn’t take away from the difficult bits. I still lost my birth family. My identity was still changed. I still have unanswered questions and lots of gaps of knowledge about my early life. I still wonder about what life would have been without adoption. There is still trauma there, there will always be. However, it hasn’t made me feel that adoption has been a negative or bad experience for me. I feel incredibly lucky to have what I do because of it.

So, now I am now an adoptive parent, I do think a lot about how my little girl will feel about adoption as she grows. We talk quite a lot with her about adoption. We talk to her birth family, and are in regular contact, both directly and indirectly with some of them. We have talked about her being lucky before. Not because she’s adopted, but when we’ve donated to charity or given things away to people who might not have the material things that she has. We talk about being thankful for the things we do have.

I absolutely do not expect her to be thankful/grateful for being adopted. I don’t expect her to be thankful/grateful for us being her parents. After all, we have contributed in part to her trauma. I don’t think I realised that at the time, it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve really understood that adoption in itself is trauma. I think we do try to help her work through her thoughts and feelings, and we validate what she tells us. We are honest with her about adoption. She knows how much she is loved by us, and her birth family. We try hard to help her still have connections to her life before us. We work hard to try to help others learn how beneficial and important these connections are.

If she does express that she is grateful to have been adopted, or thankful to us for adopting her, then that’s ok. I can’t very well say I’m grateful to have been adopted, but she’s not allowed to be. Our stories and experiences of adoption may be different, so we will probably feel differently about it it. But, it’s ok to feel the same too. What I will tell her though, is that we are incredibly grateful and thankful to have her in our lives. She has bought so much love and joy. She has enriched our lives so much. We came to adoption, yes because we thought we could give a child a safe, loving home, but also selfishly because we wanted to be parents. We chose adoption for our family. She did not. We know that love does not fix everything, and she really doesn’t have to be grateful to us. I’d quite understand if she were the opposite.

To end, I want to say thank you to those adopted people who have opened my eyes to the bigger picture of adoption. You’d have thought that as an adopted person myself, I would have ‘got it’ before I did. I’m sorry that I didn’t. Even though it’s been hard and painful for others to share their experiences and feelings, I’m grateful they did. Hopefully by taking them on board, I’ll be a better, more understanding parent to my daughter. I hope she grows up knowing we tried to do what we thought was best with what we knew. I hope she grows up feeling loved, but under no obligation to feel grateful or thankful for being adopted.


Dear Darling,

Tomorrow you are six! For us that’s 3 1/2 years of loving you. I know you’ve been loved since the day you were born, you are so loved. We may not have known you since that beautiful day 6years ago, but we will love you forever more, for sure. I don’t remember what we were doing that day, but I did take this very pretty picture. I’d written that I love spring and the new life it brings, little did we know that on that day, a very pretty little girl was born. We waited another 2 1/2 years to meet you, but it was so worth the wait.

So, this year, it’s flown by. You’ve continued to get taller, and more clever. Your feet at size 2, and you’re in age 9-10 clothes! You’re starting to help to do your hair, and you love a pamper session at the hairdressers. You can properly read and write now. You’re really good at maths too. You love music, and it’s lovely to hear you playing. Music really relaxes you. Hopefully this year you can start learning to play an instrument. I can’t wait to hear what you play. I love your stories and drawing. So creative and expressive now. You’ve done amazing at school, and have become a school councillor. You’re great at thinking of other people, and wanting to help them. You’re a really caring, thoughtful girl. We were really proud when you got a merit certificate before Christmas, for your writing. It certainly has got so much better recently. Very well deserved.

You’ve loved gymnastics, and have now got two proficiency awards. You work really hard in lessons, and always come out telling me all about how you’ve done. You’ve got a new bike, and hopefully once we can go out and about again, you can practice a bit more. You still love scooting, and love the little seat we got to put on the front, so the doggies can have a ride.

We enjoyed a lovely summer, and had some great fun. I think your favourite activity was swimming in the outdoor pool. You did really well at holiday club, and often brought your creations home. We went on holiday in the hottest week of the year. Luckily we went to the seaside, so you spent a lot of the time cooling off in the sea. And eating ice-creams. We were very grateful for our air conditioned room, so we slept very comfortably at night.

We are so proud of how you have taken to increased contact with your Birth Relative. It’s a lot, for the grown-ups to take in, so you as a little girl have done so well. I’m so glad we get to see your relative more now, I’m sorry we didn’t do it sooner. I love it when we see them. I love seeing how happy and relaxed you both are. I love that you have this connection. I love that we have lots of happy photos as memories. I love that we are finding out about your life with them before you came to us. I am sorry you can’t see them as much as we’d like, but what we’ve got is a start, and hopefully we can build on that as time goes on. It was so special you being able to speak to them on your birthday. I know it will have made their day, and made them very very happy.

You are such a sunshine girl, and bring smiles, laughter and fun on the hard days. This year has had its fair share of hard days for sure. In the summer we lost the 2nd baby in my tummy. You didn’t know, I’ll tell you one day, but I didn’t want to make you sad. You would have loved to be a big sister. One day I hope you will. Until then, we’ll make the most of having you to ourselves. Having you here on those tough days have kept me going. You are the best medicine I could ask for. One of our favourite songs to sing to each other is 🎶 ☀️ You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You’ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away☀️🎶 My little love, you have no idea how much sunshine you’ve bought to my life on those dark days. Thank you.

This year has certainly been a challenge, and we’ve only had a few months. I am so incredibly proud of how you’ve coped with everything thing that the Corona Virus has thrown at us. You woke up on the Monday morning to be told you weren’t going to school, and now 5weeks later you’re doing amazingly. Your whole world turned upside down in an instant, with no warning. But then I think about how you’ve sort of done this before. Every time you moved to a new home, you started all over again. I hope that having us with you this time has made it a little more reassuring for you. I hope you feel safe. For a little girl who is so sociable and friendly, it’s really really hard seeing you not be able to play with your friends or family. For someone who loves being out and about, it’s frustrating having to keep you indoors so much. But, I have loved spending this bonus time with you. I have loved watching you learn and play. I have loved cooking and reading with you. It’s been fun to document what we’ve been doing. I think it inspires others. Hopefully we’ll look back on this time as a fun, relaxed time. Hopefully we won’t have to do it again, but I am so grateful to have had you. I don’t know how I would have got through it without you. You have kept me busy, you have kept me motivated. Thank you!

Your sixth birthday, wasn’t quite what we had planned, and you missed out on so much. But do you know what, we all had a lovely day, and it went as well as we’d hoped it would. I am so proud of you, you haven’t moaned or complained once. For a little girl who is only six, a lockdown birthday is really not what you’d want. I hope you still had fun. I hope you feel very special and loved. I’m so glad you loved your cake. Daddy and I loved making it for you. I know you said you never ‘happy cried’, but I think you did, and it made me cry too. I’m so glad we made you happy on your special day, I hope we do everyday. Once we’re allowed out again, we’ll have another birthday for you. We’ll have another cake and a big ballon too. So, you’re a special girl with two birthdays this year. Hopefully looking forward to that will keep us all going u til we celebrate with family again.

So, here’s to this next year. I’m sure it will be filled with fun and adventures, and exciting experiences. You’ll be in year 2 at school, I’m sure the teachers have lots of interesting learning planned for you when you go back. Hopefully we can do some more cycling and swimming at some point too.

Lots of love, Mummy Dearest….. XXXXXX