Hip Hip Hooray—But Not for DNA!
Nearly every day, I listen to The Adam Carolla Show
, a podcast hosted by comedian Adam Carolla. Hearing Carolla's gruff rants about everything under the sun always makes me smile. Not long ago, he had Olympian Dan O'Brien on as his guest
. O'Brien shared his personal journey of becoming one of the world's best decathletes. His story began with his telling Carolla that he was adopted as an infant. Carolla asked him something along the lines of, "Do you think your parents were as proud of your athletic abilities as they could have been? Do you think they cheered a tad less because you were adopted?" O'Brien quickly responded that his parents were extremely proud of him and were always in the stands cheering him on. Carolla went on to explain himself by saying that, when he was playing football, his father would proudly boast, "Those are MY genes that make him such a good player." With adoption, you don't have that biological claim
to your child’s talents.
Carolla continued on to say that he has always been jealous of adoptees. This is because it's obvious to those children that their parents really wanted them. They weren't just accidents. Adoptive parents have to go an extra mile or two
to bring a child into their home. Carolla said he imagined that knowledge would be so comforting for a child.
I was taken aback by hearing adoption discussed on this comedy podcast. At first, I was a bit offended by Carolla's question about O'Brien's parents not being as proud as they could be. I then remembered that Carolla is always blunt with his words. And odds are that, if he said them, there are many other people out there who are thinking the same thing. That's why he's always at the top of the most downloaded podcasts. He says what others wish they could.
So, could it be that some people see me cheering on my daughter
during her soccer games and think, "Well, she'd be cheering a lot louder if it were her genes that gave her daughter that super-hard kick." Or when I boast that my son got a near perfect score on his geometry test, are people thinking, "Well, I'm not sure why she sounds so proud -- he didn't get his math skills from her!"
I would like to think that the majority of people with whom I surround myself and my family would never have these thoughts. And if they did, they know better than to mention them to me, in fear of a verbal assault. But do people outside my bubble of friends and family think this? Looking back on my childhood, I'd like to think that my parents were cheering at my sporting events because they were proud of me, and not my genetic make-up. In fact, I would have been offended to find out that my parents were proud of themselves, by way of their genes, when I was the one practicing every day and playing out on the athletic field.
Carolla's comment is one that I'll keep in the back of my mind whenever I tell my children that I'm proud of their accomplishments. I will make it clear that the pride I feel is for whatever they succeed in and the work they put in, and that I don't care if it was due to genetics.
As for Carolla's other comment, about being jealous of adoptees because they were "wanted"? Well, I can't speak as an adoptee or as someone who has had that thought about adoptees. However, as an adoptive mother, I completely agree with his comment. I tell my children often how much I wanted them and how hard we worked to adopt them
. If they translate that into being more special than others, that's fine by me. In my eyes, they always will be.
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