Today I was talking to my little girl about why she was going to dress up in spotty clothes and take some money to give to Children in Need at school. I told her it was to help children who were not as lucky as she was. She responded by telling me that she wasn’t lucky, and I explained to her that really she is. By this I meant that she has all the clothes, food, toys that she could ever need or want. We talked about the children who didn’t have all those things, and how donating some money would help them.
But, talking about being lucky got me thinking…..I know that some people feel that when children are adopted into loving families who give them everything they need and more are ‘lucky’ Lucky to be ‘saved’, lucky not to be in the situations they were in. Lucky to have a lovely Mummy and Daddy at long last. I want to make it clear that when these children are adopted, although they do have all the love and everything else a child needs, they are not lucky.
Many adopted children have backgrounds that no one would call lucky. Being adopted does not make them lucky, The very reason they are adopted means that there is trauma in their life. Even if they went to their adoptive family at birth, there is still trauma. Trauma can begin in the womb, and even trauma this early can have life long lasting effects. Adoption brings with it much sadness and confusion. Adoption often means losses for all the people involved. Adopted children are not lucky to have to come to terms with some of these in their lives. They are not lucky to have to live with the damaging consequences of others actions. Adopted people are not lucky to have all links to their past severed, to have contact with birth family taken away. I think that some adoptees are made to feel that they should feel lucky, or grateful for being adopted. From what I’ve observed, it’s when they’re pressured to feel like this but don’t really, when resentment and bitterness creep in. I think it’s really important to acknowledge and accept that some adoptee are not grateful, and do not feel lucky to be adopted.
I think it;s the adoptive parents that are the lucky ones in adoption. Because of adoption they have the chance to be parents, when they may have felt that they would never be one. It gives them a family, a hope, a future. But, I sometimes think that adoptive parents feel the pressure to be lucky all the time. I think that it’s sometimes very hard to feel lucky when its incredibly challenging. They might feel that they didn’t ask for this, but that they should be grateful because they are lucky to have children. The message that is sometimes given might be ‘they signed up for this, so they should get on with it’. I guess during the difficult times it’s helpful to remember that yes, it is really tough for us parents, but whatever we feel, its probably even more tough for the child. I think it’s helpful to think back about what positives and good things the child brings to our family. To think about the ways in which we are all lucky together.
So, lucky, it’s a complex term in adoption. As an adopted person myself, I think I do feel lucky for being adopted. I do know for sure that I am grateful for my adoption. I know I would not have had the love, nurture, opportunities and experiences if I had not been adopted. I don’t know how my little girl will feel about being adopted when she’s older, but I do hope that she she knows that I don’t expect her to be lucky for adoption. I hope she grows up knowing we try our best, and that we love her, I do hope she does understand that she is fact lucky to live a comfortable life, but that at the end of the day we are the lucky ones to have her as our daughter.