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Adoption Blog: Inconceivable Family

Who’s the Lucky One?
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Have you ever heard someone tell you that your child is “so lucky to have you”?  I suppose most parents hear that at some point and maybe it’s just that I’m particularly sensitive to this as an adoptive parent.  There is something about, “She’s so lucky to have you” that sounds as if Anna is somehow indebted to me - and what’s worse is that I hear as often, “imagine where she’d be if you hadn’t adopted her.”  I don’t know…  it just rubs me the wrong way.

First, it’s ME who is lucky to have HER.  The child saved my life.  I’m not exaggerating.  I don’t know where my mental or physical health was heading prior to her adoption, but I know that I wouldn’t have lasted much longer continuing to be as taxed as I was on a daily basis.  Ulcers, weight loss, headaches, nightmares, panic attacks…  you name it, they were my constant companions.  Anna’s life was a miracle to mine and so the notion that she is lucky to have me seems like a joke.  In my lifetime I wonder how I can ever be as valuable to her as she has been in just the last 22 months. 

Second, imagining where she’d be had we not adopted her is not in my frame of mind.  But I can very easily imagine where I’d be had we not adopted her.  It’s a little place commonly known as HELL.  Daily tantrums, fits of illnesses, sibling jealousy, and the dirty diapers have nothing on the horrors of living a life without her. 

Just the other day I was introduced to a new member of my little play group.  After learning of Anna’s adoption, the mom asked with genuine interest if we had adopted because we wanted to save a child?  I had to laugh out loud and immediately, without a social filter I responded, “Seriously?  No, I wanted to save myself.”  The room seemed to stand still and then someone said, “That’s why I like you Jenna.  You just tell it like it is.”  Out of the corner of my eye I could see another mom who was clearly appalled by my statement.  I wonder what it is about adoption that makes people think it was either a consolation prize for the helpless infertile or the work of a completely selfless and altruistic person.  Somewhere in the middle is me.  I was supposed to be a mom to Anna and Meghan and this is how it happened.  Period.

There is something else to that “she’s so lucky” statement that has thrown me.  It most often is spoken just after Anna has had a major meltdown (and I mean meltdown in the atypical, something-is-wrong-with-my-child way) or when she is a tornado of energy without focus or consideration for social expectations.  Anna has some significant developmental issues that we are working on (more detailed information is coming on this topic).  Hearing how lucky she is to have me is like telling me that there is something wrong with her that no one else would want to handle.  Like, “Thank God it’s you and not me”.  ugh.  It both turns my stomach and breaks my heart.

Here are some other, kinder ways that would seem to say the same sentiment:

What a great family you all make!
It’s truly a miracle that you all found each other!
It’s amazing how things seem to work out even when they seem impossible.


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Meet the Author

Jenna Nadeau

Jenna Nadeau

New Hampshire

I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
U.S. Newborn

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