Why It's Not Helpful To Tell Adoptees To Be Grateful They Weren't Aborted (Part Two)

This post is the second in the , Why It’s Never Helpful to Tell Adoptees to Be Grateful They Weren’t Aborted series. In Part One, we looked at this issue in light of the fact that there are adoptees who wish they had been aborted, for various reasons. 

Photo Credit: One Tiny Spark, Flickr
After exploring this subject and bringing some enlightenment to those who had no clue of this fact, I’d now like to move on to bring some of my adoptee and first mother friends to talk about another related issue in response to this question. That is, the fact that adoption and abortion are not the same issue. After they share, I’ll wrap things up.

Deanna: Adoptee friends, why is it not helpful to tell  adoptees to just be grateful they weren't aborted?

“It is no more appropriate to tell an adoptee to be grateful they were not aborted than it would be to tell a non-adoptee that. ALL of our mothers made the same choice to give birth, whether they were married, single, rich, poor, young, old, whatever. Any of them could have aborted but did not. We need not be any more grateful for being alive than anyone else who is breathing. Adoption is not the opposite of abortion, giving birth is. The opposite of adoption is being raised within your own family.” 
 Julie J., Adoptee 


“Abortion and adoption are two different topics entirely.  It’s so painful to know my biological mother carried me nine months, gave birth to me, then met me eighteen years later and still doesn’t want me. “ Ashley Flannery Zermeno, Adoptee 

“It is not helpful because abortion and adoption are two entirely separate things. Abortion is about ending a pregnancy. If the decision is one of continuing the pregnancy instead of aborting, then there are options, not just adoption. People who ask such questions seem to assume that adoption is the opposite of abortion. But this is not the case. A mother, father or both can parent the child. Or perhaps the child could be relinquished to others for raising. As such, I am no more grateful for having not been aborted than the person who was raised by their natural parents and who was also not aborted.” Julie Stromberg, Adoptee

“Because it completely glosses over and does not acknowledge the pain and loss that adoption brings. It’s a way to yet again silence the adoptee’s voice. Our rights have been taken away, we are denied access to basic information, and with that statement, they nullify our pain and loss. That is how that statement is most damaging. If I hadn't been born, well then I wouldn't be suffering right now... but I was born, and I do suffer. The statement is akin to telling a rape victim that they 'asked for it' by how they dressed.” Tracy A. Hammond, Adoptee

“When people have said that to me, I respond with "Anytime you feel the sting of life, how about I tell you, "at least you are alive/ not aborted. Would that help?” People SAY yes... but in reality, no. It doesn't help, when in the midst of unbearable pain that accompanies life sometimes to hear , “At least you aren't dead…”  And I agree that abortion and adoption are two VERY different topics.” Heather Milburn, Adoptee

“Because it is usually said to shame someone into compliance or silence. Most of the people in the pro-life movement who ask for an adoptee’s story seem to try and shut them down unless what they say promotes adoption. I happen to be pro-life, but every situation is different and adoption starts with trauma of  separation from one's mother. Telling someone to be grateful they weren't aborted is extremely offensive.” Jenny Mendez, Adoptee

“Because I'd wager that 50% of the general population adopted or not were probably "at risk" of being aborted; yet no one thinks it's appropriate to come out and say that to anyone else other than adoptees .” Lola Kisco, Adoptee 

“It's not helpful because it's a moot point. I wasn't aborted. Am I glad? Well of course I'm glad to be alive. I'm against abortion, but I still don't get why that question comes up. Adoption and abortion are two different issues.” Kim Asti, Adoptee

“I'm a mother but I'd like to add my two cents. My daughter was wanted. I never wanted an abortion. It was legal (Thank God!).  Whenever I see right to lifers (and they are everywhere) I go up to then and dispel the myth of “adoption not abortion.”  I tell them that adoption is the abortion of the mother. I tell them of my struggles at 54 years of age -- successful and very happy in many ways, but always devastated by losing my first born. If there is enough time, I explain adoption coercion. I take every encounter I can to dispel this myth. And my younger daughter is sick to death of me telling my story. Sorry, MT, this is my life and story. Hopefully she will never even think to allow adoption into her life. “ Barbara Monckton Thavis, First Mother

“Yes, I personally am glad I wasn't aborted.... but what does that have to do with adoption? I have difficulty making logical sense of that one!   Option? Yes, I guess so for some. But  what if we asked someone that said that to us:  "Are you also happy you weren't aborted?" It doesn't have anything to do with how it feels to be adopted. The question makes as much sense as asking if we were happy not to be born a cat!  WTHeck?” Tracy Teza, Adoptee

Deanna’s thoughts:

I’ve shared more extensively in this post I wrote, Attention Christians, Adoption and Abortion Are NOT in Competition!  I recommend this post to anyone who wants to further explore the separateness of these issues.

The bottom line is that the opposite of adoption is not abortion…it’s parenting.

Why we would limit the destiny of children to two choices, I do not know. But there are many people, Christian included, who believe that only one of two things can happen with an unexpected pregnancy. Is your God so small that you believe only two choices exist? 

My God is bigger than two man-made choices.