So it’s only been about five months since I first posted here.
I’ve been really encouraged though by others who are writing about adoption and care experience. Some people, have even offered support and kind words about writing here so thank you. Some of the things, I have read recently have been really inspiring, brave and thought provoking. I will try and share some links in my next post, which hopefully won’t be five months from now.
There is no lack of ideas here about what I want to write about either however it takes courage to share so openly. It can feel quite exposing opening up my writing to others too. Striving for perfection is something, which I struggle with. I’m far from it however I place high standards on myself. If I’m not happy with my writing then it’s just not going any further than my own page, which was ever just a slight hindrance at uni. I wonder if any other adoptees experience this too. As I wrote this paragraph YouTube coincidentally started to play an ad about a website called Better Writing with Grammarly…
Anyway here is my first post about luck.
“Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins”
The quote above comes from one of my favourite children’s books ‘Walk Two Moons’ by Sharon Creech. It’s a beautiful book about grief, loss, change and family. I think this quote makes sense when it comes to the judgements we make about other people’s lives. We can never really know what something feels like for someone else unless we have experienced it ourselves.
‘Aren’t you lucky to be adopted’? ‘You were so lucky to be adopted’ ‘We were so lucky to find you’ and so on. Lucky is something that some people assume you are if you’re adopted. Do other adoptees hear this too? The luck comments though can feel as though people see it like a wheel of fortune outcome. I’ve spun correctly and landed on the jackpot prize- woohoo you’ve chosen to be adopted.
With any adoption though there is loss. Not just for the adoptee but the birth parents and potentially the adoptive parents too. For an adoptee the loss is something they may always be coming to terms with and suggesting that they are lucky to have been adopted can be confusing and not easily reconciled. Human beings often attempt to try and find the optimistic aspects in challenging circumstances. Maybe this is where luck entered the adoption conversation, as a way to manage the complexities of what can be an emotional set of circumstances.
It’s OK to feel lucky to be adopted too. Please just don’t tell an adoptee that they are lucky. That is something, which they will decide for themselves. I am sure there are adoptees who do feel fortunate however, they may also be reminded that there are birth parents who weren’t so lucky and that can be challenging.
In my own life there are things about adoption, which don’t always make me feel lucky. Being adopted at times is confusing. I sometimes feel like an outsider, looking in at work and in friendships or relationships. I do feel lucky too though about my life. I don’t want this to come across as though by disliking the conversation about luck, I am going around every day thinking, how unlucky I am. That is not the case at all however it’s better to be honest. How you feel about your own adoption is personal. Walk two moons in an adoptee’s moccasins first and then decide. I like to think luck is something we have some control over and especially in how we describe our own lives. It shouldn’t be for others to label our experiences for us.
I think the alternative to being lucky was that I left foster care and wasn’t ‘languishing’ in the care system, something which I have actually been told. I would say this is unfair to those who grow up in care. Are they not allowed to be lucky too? Are they not allowed to have good and loving experiences in the care system whether they are adopted or not? For some children adoption is not an option at all and the alternative should still be love, care and stability, not perceived misfortune.
It can be a wonderful and special thing having a home with a loving parent/carer or parents/carers. All children deserve this and it shouldn’t be seen as lucky or unlucky, it is something that should just BE. Perhaps we should just take luck out of the adoption narrative altogether or at least limit its use.
Whether adopted or not, we all experience good and bad fortune in our lives. For some we make our own luck, and for the philosophers Hades and Johnson luck is a cognitive illusion. A discussion for a whole other time. I feel like I should go and buy a lottery ticket now.