Adoptive Parent Guilt

An open letter to my children (who happen to be adopted).

Narda Emett February 25, 2017
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Dear children,

Our home seemed so quiet without the pitter-patter of little feet. We longed to be parents and wanted to give ourselves to children who needed a home.

We waited with anticipation for a call telling us someone chose us to be your parents. The wait seemed unbearable at times. We dreamed of you. We prayed for you. We prepared our home for you. Our hearts were pure; our intentions loving.

As each of you entered our home, we felt blessed. We felt God brought us together. Our love expanded to include your biological families in what became “open adoptions.” We believed it was a win-win-win situation. We had children, you had a family, and your birth families had peace knowing you were loved and cared for. But now when we look back, we realize we won. We had children. Our hearts were filled, while your birth families’ hearts were broken, and your heart has a void it doesn’t quite know how to fill.

As you have grown, we have watched you mature and make important decisions. You, like any child, have felt happiness, sadness, confusion, anger and excitement. You are a typical child in many aspects, but unlike other children, you have felt a loss that longs to be filled. In our naivety, we didn’t realize that as you would grow and develop, you would feel torn between two lives; the one you currently have as an adoptee, and the one you wonder about, if you had never been placed for adoption. Adoption has changed every aspect of your life.

We feel terrible that we cannot fill this empty space for you and take away your pain. We can never “look” like you. We will never know what it is like being a different race than our parents.  We don’t understand your genetic heritage like your first mother would. We do our best, but we will never replace your first parents.

We sometimes feel guilty and selfish for adopting. People pat us on the back and thank us for adopting children, like it is some heroic action. We know differently. We know that it is wonderful for us, but we know it was painful for your first parents and at times for you too. We know you love us and feel secure in our home. We see that most of the time you are happy and that makes us happy too. We just wish we could give you more, be more for you, understand you more.

We hope you know that we continue to dream of you, pray for you and prepare our home for you. Our hearts are still pure and we want you to have the best life possible. We love you. We will continue to keep your birth families in your lives because we know they love you too. We know that without them you would never be ours. They shared you first; we will share you too and hope that these loving intentions make you feel more whole, rather than torn.

Love always,

Your parents (who happen to be adoptive parents)

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Narda Emett

Narda Emett is a mother of six, four of whom were adopted. She has been part of the adoption community for over 16 years, serving on local and national boards for Families Supporting Adoption. She has adopted both domestically and internationally and is happy to be part of a transracial adoptive family. In her free time (does a mother of six ever have free time?), she likes to read and make amazing wedding cakes.


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