Biology Isn’t Best

Robyn in the Mirror (1976)When you spend a lot of time in the online adoption community, as I do, you see a lot of the same sentiments come up, again and again:

  • Adoption should be a last resort.
  • Babies don’t need stuff. All they need is love – love from their biological families.
  • It’s always best for a child to remain in his or her biological family.

I disagree.

Of course, most people would say that I disagree because I’m an adoptive parent. As a parent through adoption, I can’t believe that biology is best, because that would mess with my entitlement issues, or something.

The thing is, I’ve always thought biology isn’t best. Way before I knew about adoption. Way before I knew how babies were made. Way before any kid really should.

I don’t really want to go into it, but I had a crap childhood. It wasn’t Lifetime Movie of the Week bad, but, let’s just say Child Protective Services (CPS) was involved. Heavily involved for awhile, actually. I now believe that, if we – or my dad – had been black, my sister and I would have been removed from our home. Maybe that’s why I don’t have enough guilt over “white privilege.” My “white privilege” left me in a place that was not safe.

Love isn’t enough. I know my mom loved me. I have no doubt in my mind about that at all. But she didn’t have the skills to be a good parent. Good parents are supposed to keep their kids safe, first and foremost. At least, that’s what I’ve believed, my whole life.

Now, maybe I’m still being a hypocrite, because, with as many siblings as each of my parents have (or had), my sister and I would have been placed with biological family. Probably one of my dad’s older sisters, or perhaps my mom’s oldest brother. When I was a kid, I wanted to go live with my Aunt Sue and Uncle Bruce (my mom’s youngest sister and her husband). I see now that that wouldn’t have been a good idea – they’re awesome people, and I love them very much, but they would not have been good parents to me with as young as they were and as damaged as I was. I think my Uncle Joe and Aunt Lynn (mom’s oldest brother and his wife) would have been a better bet for everyone involved. I always had a soft spot for my Aunt Lynn, and, when I grew up and learned about her childhood, I realized why. (Of course, if we lived with them, we wouldn’t have had cable, and I think I might have gone into some sort of detox shock. But I digress.)

No child should have to live through what adults deem “extreme” before they can be safe. To adults, there’s a lot of gray area. I know that to me, as a kid, there was not. I was not safe. I should not have been where I was. I distinctly remember telling a social worker that. But the system places the utmost importance on biology. So, as long as I wasn’t ending up in the hospital, I should remain where I was, even if that wasn’t what was best for me. I firmly believe, even now, that remaining in my home was not best for me. But the adults in my life thought they knew better than I did.

Having been a part of the adoption community for almost 10 years now, I have read so many stories of children in foster care who are returned to unsafe situations, simply because of biology. But biology isn’t best. Biology doesn’t make you a good parent. The act of giving birth doesn’t make you the best parent for a particular child. Genes don’t determine your parental fitness. DNA doesn’t mean you’re safe to be around.

Love isn’t enough. Biology isn’t best. I say this not as an adoptive parent, but as a child who should have been removed from her biological parents. And yes, at the time, I probably would have thrown my whole biological family under the bus to be anywhere else, DNA be damned.

3 thoughts on “Biology Isn’t Best

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I know that adoptees would probably question that and say that non-adoptees and adoptive parents to that, have no idea as we haven’t been in their shoes. But your story is so similar to mine and the fact of being “with your own DNA” and having no issues with genetic mirroring was in no way comforting when you lack basics such as a minimal sense of security in your own home..As 10 year old I wished my father disappeared from my life for ever.

  2. Pingback: My Kids Have Two Moms | Holding to the Ground

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