Wow, you're [adoptive] parents must be such special/good people to have adopted you. [Translation: You're parents must be such amazing people in contrast to you--the lowly little charity case. They really must be saints to have been willing to take you into their family and home because, man, obviously neither your original family nor anyone else in their right mind wanted anything to do with you.]
You're so lucky. [Translation: You're so lucky that you don't know a thing about your original family--whether they are dead or alive.]
You must feel so grateful. [Translation: You must feel so grateful that you lost your original family and have no idea what happened to them].
You are so fortunate that someone adopted you. [Translation: You are so fortunate that someone wanted you.]
Don't you feel blessed that you got to come to America? [Translation: The country you came from was such an awful, terrible place and the people didn't want you anyway, so you should feel fortunate that America is so much better and so much more willing to accept someone like you--someone your own country and own people wouldn't take care of...]
Wow, you must be so glad that you didn't have to grow up in [country of origin]. [Translation: The country you came from was such a poor, uneducated crap hole, it is best that you stay away from that place anyway.]
You're not [ethnic origin], you're AMERICAN. [Translation: Just ignore and forget about who you are and where you came from, how different you look and how differently others treat you--it's not important anyway.]
It shouldn't matter to you whether you ever find your biological parents, you already have a family. [Translation: You're being ungrateful and foolish. You shouldn't want to know who or where you came from or what happened. You should just be grateful.]
* * *
I know that when people say things like what I listed above, they generally mean well. That's actually one of the primary reasons I posted this list.
Just because someone is well-intentioned, does not automatically mean therefore, what he or she is saying or doing is helpful or beneficial, and in fact some of the most "well-intentioned" words or acts can often have the most unintended detrimental and hurtful effects.
Particularly when it comes to adoption, many people have good intentions, but they are MISGUIDED or MISINFORMED intentions.
If you've ever said these things or thought these things or they just generally reflect your view of adoption, I'm not bashing you. I'm simply trying to "enlighten" you, or in simpler terms, just trying to educate you and correct your misconceptions.
If you're an adoptee and someone has ever made the above statements to you, I also recognize that such statements may not translate in the same way to every adoptee. Other adoptees may be less sensitive or may have different perspectives regarding their own personal adoptions.
I'm just sharing these things based on my experience and the experiences of other adoptees I personally know.
Certainly it is not an exhaustive list, but I think it communicates the overall point: Generally, most people prefer to see adoption as an act of saintly charity in which the heroes are the adoptive parents and the adoptee is the lowly, grateful recipient of their charity.
Often, ignorantly and unintentionally, people end up coating adoption in thick layers of euphemism and misconceived notions, because the practice of adoption is more comfortable and more digestible that way. To others, it feels better to view it that way.
But it doesn't feel better to the adoptee.
It's not that I do not love my family. I do. More than I can even express.
But it's also not that I do not grieve and ache over what has been lost. I do. More than I can express.
And the ongoing struggles and issues with which I must cope as an adult adoptee do not diminish or magically disappear, simply because I have found my biological family or because I am now an adult. Rather, they grow and intensify. They remain.
In more ways than I know how to explain.