The Unspoken Rejection of Adoption
by Stacey Gagnon
I should have spoken out, but I didn’t. In fact, I sat a while and wondered why I hadn’t. Its because the words when spoken come from a genuine place of caring. So, I’ll put my words to paper and write what should be known and understood.
I was never the best choice for my adopted children. Its taken me years to learn this. I think it’s very important to understand that when you adopt, you were not the first or best option. I lived with the notion that adoption was the same as the best choice and when I realized this wasn’t true, it was really hard to accept.
As a mother and as a family, I felt we were a good option. We were a loving home with two parents and a large support system, but the truth is that my children all lost greatly because of adoption. They were not ‘blessed’ to have me as a mother, or lucky to be adopted into our family. They have experienced a profound loss and this will nip at their heels for a lifetime.
And the day that each of my children has asked me why they were adopted…
is still the hardest parenting moment I have ever sat in. There is no good answer….and I’ve even ridden in my car alone and practiced the answer. I’ve sat and said these words out loud, “your mother loved you very much. She was unable to care for you……” and the ashes of loss choke me. But I still have to answer the question that no mom or dad can really answer satisfactorily. Because any words I speak will only succeed in rendering a deeper wound.
And here’s what I secretly wish… I wish I could lie and say I birthed them. I wish I could pretend they were mine from the beginning and that I did not need to say the words that are laced with unspoken rejection. Instead, I tightrope between truth and bruising reality and there’s no net, just a fall from the top. Because no matter how it is arranged or explained, adoption is loss and you pray your child will allow you to shoulder the pain with them and walk through the unknown. Deep inside we all yearn to know our beginnings and I cannot give this to my children because I was not there.
I don’t like the pain and heartache that is wrapped in the beauty of adoption. I see it rear its ugly head every time a birthday rolls around and my child wants to know about the day they were born. Or, a family tree project is assigned at school. I see it when we fill out the questionnaire at the doctor’s office that has half the questions left blank and lots of “UNKNOWN’s” marked.
And I saw it today, when you read his medical file, looked at him and said, “How lucky he is to be adopted by you”. I cringed…because he’s not lucky because he was adopted, any more than a natural born child is blessed to be born and exist in your home. He is simply my son, and the adoption did not make him lucky. Saying it to him implies that he should be grateful that we adopted him, and there is nothing further from the truth than that.
So please, next time you see us, say this, “What a lucky mom you are to have such an incredible son”. That’s it, simply stated – I’m the lucky mom.
Darren and Stacey Gagnon have been actively involved in foster care and adoptions since 2006. They have two biologic children, and 5 adopted children. Their two oldest children are now teenagers, and their most recent adopted daughter just turned two. Darren has been a high school science teacher and basketball coach for over 10 years. Stacey is a nurse section manager over public health for our local county. The Gagnons are dedicated to raising awareness about the current orphan crisis in Eastern Europe, specifically Bulgaria. God has given them a heart for special needs children, and now is leading them to start Lost Sparrows.
You can read more about their journey here: