March 26, 2014

Adoption and the Dead or Alive Card

When adoptees speak out and share our feelings or the need for reform in the institution of adoption, people soon pull out the dead or alive card.

It goes like this:

“Just be glad you’re alive.”


“Just be glad you’re not dead.”


Doesn’t that apply to anybody and everybody on the planet?

Any of my friends could be dead or alive -- adopted or not.

But people love to pull the dead or alive card on us. If all else fails and they don’t like whatever it is that we’re sharing the ol’ “just be glad you’re not dead” card is pretty standard.

And know this, adoptee…when a person pulls the dead or alive card on you, it means they have run out of anything intelligent to say.

This dead or alive card is code for: “You’re making great points and I can’t refute them with anything that actually makes sense. All I know is you are making me so uncomfortable, so I thought I’d just remind you that you should be glad you aren’t dead.”

It would be laughable if this dead or alive argument weren’t so common!

When people remind me how glad I should be that I’m alive, I smile and say, “You too!” And they look at me so perplexed. As if only adopted people have the potential to be dead.

*Photo Courtesy of