I have spent over 15 years on adoption forums and in adoption groups and communities. There seems to be a recurring theme that is disturbing to me. I often wonder if I’m the only one who sees it. Some adoptees are blaming the negative things in their life on adoption while the examples they cite aren’t really adoption related at all. They complain about the many ways their parents weren’t good to them growing up. I’m not talking about those who experienced emotional or physical abuse. These complaints are just everyday rotten parent issues. Sometimes parents, adoptive and biological, just suck at being parents.

I get it. I was adopted. I no longer speak to either of my adoptive parents. They were not very good at being parents, especially not in the later years. That doesn’t have anything to do with my adoption though. Being a parent is difficult, and it doesn’t come with a set of instructions. I’m sure if it did, there would still be plenty of people who were bad at it. One problem is that a person doesn’t know whether they will make a good parent until they are one. By that point, it’s too late. That’s not the fault of adoption. That’s just life. Here are some examples I have seen blamed on adoption, but were actually just bad parenting.

1. My parents didn’t pay enough attention to me.

There are many causes of this. Parents can spend too much time working. They can become too involved in each other or themselves. Some parents just do not have what it takes to be a nurturing person. Others feel like as long as they are providing, they don’t have to do anything else.

2. My parents aren’t supportive of me.

Your parents don’t encourage you to follow your dreams? They don’t share in your exciting life news? You are not alone. It is frustrating and disappointing. At times it can be downright hurtful. This isn’t an adoption problem, it’s a parent one.

3. My parents give my sibling, their biological child, more time, money, love, etc.

Unfortunately there are plenty of parents out there playing favorites with children and grandchildren. I don’t know if it’s because they share more in common with that person or because they feel that person is less independent and needs more from them. No matter what the reason, many more families are affected by this than those touched by adoption.

I feel that a lot of adoptees have this image in their head of what a perfect family is supposed to look like. Because their life was pieced together intentionally, they expect their life to fit that picture. The raw, dirty truth is that no family is perfect. Most are far from it. You can’t use adoption as a crutch. Your adoption was an event that happened in your past. Issues with parental behavior are difficult to deal with on a daily basis year after year, but they are not exclusive to adoption. You have to do the best you can with what life has given you to work with.