Remember how my kids are adopted through foster care? No? Well, they were. Three at once. My husband and I rescued them from a terrible life of bed bugs and behavioral issues. I’m a hero, truly. You should be in awe.
That’s what some people think, anyway. Their eyes get all misty as they tell us how amazing we are. Some of them tell us God meant for us to have these kids. Of course, if God meant for us to have these kids, that means he meant for them to have shitty lives before they met us, which would make God kind of an asshole. I’m pretty sure these people are telling us God is an asshole.
But I digress. I’m not here to bitch about God and whether he personally arranged our adoption. What actually bothers me is the rescue scenario people seem stuck on. It’s not a good scenario to be stuck on, and I’d like to tell you why:
It puts a lot of pressure on us. If I rescued these kids, I owe it to them to be the perfect mom. I have to constantly prove that I’m the best person to raise them, and my kids have to constantly be grateful for being rescued. No one can live up to those expectations.
My kids actually had a foster family caught up in this rescue scenario. They took three little kids to every museum, restaurant, and store they could think of. They bought the kids tons of stuff. They worried endlessly and convinced themselves these kids had Terrible Problems. (After all, if they didn’t have Terrible Problems, they wouldn’t need rescuing.) The kids, in turn, were always tired and nervous and desperate to please these rescuers.
In the end, the parents burned out and the kids had to be moved without warning. That botched rescue actually did cause Terrible Problems for a while.
But the pressure isn’t the only problem. It’s the people who coo and sigh over how selfless and noble adoption is. Just doing that marks us. It makes us other, unusual, outside. The same people who get all misty about me rescuing kids can get a bit worried about those same kids causing trouble. After all, who knows where they’ve been? They probably come from bad stock. If I’m a hero, my kids might be villains.
If the adoption works out and my kids are doing well, I get most of the credit. If things go sideways, well, maybe some kids just can’t be saved. It was really nice of me to try, though.
So sure, it’s flattering to be put on a pedestal. It’s great to be told I’m so great. But anyone who’s been on a pedestal knows that they’re lonely and dangerous places, and no place to raise a family.
Featured image by Vera Kratochvil via publicdomainpictures.net