After recently adopting my daugther I have times where I feel guilty that I haveAnd another blogger has posted on the subject at Parenting the Adopted:
taken her from her culture and life in China. No matter what I do (e.g. Mandarin lessons, chinese dance, playing with other Chinese children, etc.) it will not be the same life she would have had in China. And, I'm under no illusion that just because she came here, her life would be "better". It's still a loss for her.
I also question how I get to be her mother, when her birthmother MAY have wanted to keep her but couldn't due to any number of cicumstances which may have been out of her control. I have a sense of "guilt" about that, that I am trying to "work through". I do love my daughter and I am so happy that she is a part of our family but I still have these feelings too. Just wondering if others have had these feelings and worked through them.
Most, if not all, moms feel guilty about one thing or another. It’s just the way we are. As an adoptive mom, though, I have felt more than just the typical mom guilt. I go through periods of guilt for adopting Lucas and for proceeding with adoptions for Rhett and Claudia.
All three of them have living mothers. All were relinquished by their mothers to their respective orphanages for the express purpose of adoption. All listed their reasons as extreme poverty. Were it not for the unrelenting lack of food and resources, would they have continued to raise their children themselves?
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Because I just cannot stand that any parent should have to make an adoption plan for their child simply on the basis of lack of food, I feel guilty for being the adopter. Shouldn’t I have instead offered a way to support them instead of taking their children?
I wrestle with that question every day.
Short answer from me: YES. I wrestle with guilt, too. It doesn't take away from the love I have for my children, but I do feel guilty for the losses that adoption represents for them. Guilt isn't always rational, so I get to feel it even when I realize that my kids have gained a permanent family that they likely wouldn't have had in China. But doubts about that -- would money to pay over-quota fines have made a difference? -- ratchet up the guilt.
So the majority of my guilt is reserved for the plight of their birth families, especially their birth mothers. I definitely feel guilty that I get to raise their children mostly because they are poor and I am not. What I spent on the adoptions probably would have allowed 20 Chinese families to pay over-quota fines and keep their kids. So, yes, I beat myself up over that fairly frequently.
So the answer to the reader who emailed me is, "you're not alone." Does anyone else out there suffer from "adoption guilt?" Or are WE alone on this?! How have you dealt with the guilt? Are there any resources that have been particularly helpful? Are there specific things you do to combat the guilt?
One thing I do, and it is pitifully small, is donate to Love Without Boundaries Unity Fund. Love Without Boundaries has long provided medical care for children in Chinese orphanages. The Unity Fund provides medical care for children to keep them out of orphanages and with their families:
In 2005, many of us had our lives changed forever on a very special medicalThis fund is especially meaningful for me since it is possible that the inability to pay for Maya's medical care played a role in her family's decision to abandon her. I know, it's just a little bandaid to assuage my guilt, but so be it!
mission to Henan, the most populated province in China. We had gone to operate on orphaned children, but as word of our medical team spread, the crowd of rural families wishing for their children to have surgery began to grow. Farmers, who were unable to afford the life changing surgery for their children, walked on foot for days in the hopes that their children could finally be healed. We met family after family who told us stories of their worries about being able to heal their children and many who told us they had considered leaving their babies at the orphanage so that their children might receive medical care. It was then that we realized that in providing medical care to families living in poverty, we could possibly prevent children from becoming orphaned. What an amazing thought that was.