Negative Adoption Assumptions

I really get irritated when people jump to conclusions about adopted children.  Yesterday, I was asked if there might be a history with my adopted daughter or her family that drove her toward being violent.  I was asked if she might have some kind of chemical imbalance.  The violence they are talking about is biting.  About two months ago Madilyn started to bite people.  She has been doing it about once a week, which in the grand scheme of things is not really too bad. However, early this week she bit two people on the same day after going two weeks without biting anyone.  Madilyn is two!  As most parents know almost all two year old children go through a biting stage.  Caleb was a far worse biter than Madilyn and no one ever told me they thought he was violent or had a chemical imbalance.

These questions irritated me  because I know if Madilyn was my biological child no one would suggest that she has a chemical imbalance.  If she were my biological child this would not be viewed as violent behavior, it would be viewed as typical two year old behavior.  Scarily, the person asking the question is currently completing a doctoral degree in Early Childhood Education.

When I show pictures of my children to people I don’t announce that Madilyn is adopted.  Friends and family know and on a rare occasion it will come up in conversation with acquaintances.  The sad part is that when it comes up in conversations people will say, “She is beautiful, what’s wrong with her that made her parents want to give her away.”  With adoption people assume that if the child is white and appears healthy there must be some other underlying health or mental issue that caused the biological parents to place the child for adoption. This assumption is not always true. I don’t want my daughter to grow up feeling like something is wrong with her because people make assumptions about her that are totally off base.  Madilyn is beautiful, smart, healthy and has a biting problem that she will learn to control. People need to quit making negative assumptions adopted children.

10 Responses to “Negative Adoption Assumptions”

  1. JJ says:

    Came across your blog via twitter and I wanted to say she is a very cute little girl and you guys are very lucky. My sister-in-law and husband has adopted 3 young children now and regardless of their past they are still young children and they are theirs.

    Remember its not about her past, its about what you make of it for her future..

    Best of luck…

    Reply from Donna:
    You are right, it is about what we make of it for her future. Adopted children are just like any other child. They start life out with a clean slate and it is up to parents to guide them and love them .

  2. Greg says:

    “the person asking the question is currently completing a doctoral degree in Early Childhood Education.”

    There’s your problem right there. To much schooling messes up education. People like that are looking for the clinical answer to everything. They hear hoof-beats and assume a zebra must be somewhere near when chances are it’s just a horse.

    “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – mark twain

  3. Janet Donald says:

    Hello Donna- Sometimes people are ignorant regarding issues and have diarriah of the mouth! Trevor bit his siter once, and she bit him back. He never did that again! Some kids do not know how to defend themselves when they feel threatened so they bite.

    You have too much going for you to be upset about what others say. You need to relax, just brush them off with a smarta@* response, and not get so upset. Madilyn will grow up to be a happy and successful child. Her biological parents obviously loved her enough to know that they could not provide her with the things she deserved. Thus, they chose your family to be the lucky and loving people to raise her as your own. I have a tremendous amount of respect for mothers who know they can not give their child what they need. Giving up your child is the most selfless and loving thing you can do. In addition, adopting a child, loving them, and raising them as your own is also the kindest thing. Please do not allow someone else to rain on your kind heart! Madilyn is so lucky!

    Reply from Donna
    Hey Janet. Thanks for the encouragement. I am not really upset- just more shocked that she would to the leap from biting to “Must have a chemical imbalance.” That is one of the reasons I started this blog was to educate those in my own little world and those who stumble into it about adoption and the misconceptions of adopted children.

  4. Shannon Lumley says:

    OH MY GOSH!!! Donna! Are you serious??? Sounds to me like someone needs to go back to class! I don’t think I know of a single child who did NOT bite when two years old! What an asinine response! I really hope you told her she was an idiot. If not, give me her number and I will!

    Reply From Donna
    Yep.. Serious as can be. I let her know that she needed to retake Child Development at the undergrad level. It is common knowledge that all children push their boundaries in this way.

  5. Chris says:

    We went through biting with our middle son. He was only 1.5 years old and was kicked out of the gym for quite a while. It was very frustrating and embarrassing. It’s amazing to me that people would assume it’s a result of her being adopted. Under that logic any biting child might be adopted. What?? Anyway, Michael has mostly grown out of it as he approaches 2.5 years old and your daughter will as well.

    Reply from Donna:
    I remember Carleen having a hard time with trying to work out and M2 biting kids. I guess I was just floored that as so-called highly educated person would leap to the assumption that she is biting due to having something wrong with her. It is something all kids go through.

  6. Carmen says:

    I could not agree more!!!! There are a lot of stereo types about foster children too… I’m sure you know that!

  7. Jess Montour says:

    WOW! I can’t believe how idiotic some people are! Unfortunately I understand how you feel Donna. When Madison was that age, she bit. Like all the other kids but, SHE must be doing it because of her “problems”. After biting, when she felt threatened, she would hit. That’s just how kids are. They feel threatened, they do what they know how to protect themselves. Has nothing to do with being adopted or having a few special needs.

  8. Karen says:

    That lady must be crazy, I don’t know of one two year old that hasn’t bitten someone. My niece bit me several times, she is 28 years old now, there is nothing wrong with her. My son bit my dog when he was 2, today he is 21, and there is nothing wrong with him either. It’s a phase they go through when they don’t get their way.

  9. Jenn Wagner says:

    Donna, I did in home daycare for 2 years when B was little. I had a little boy that was a biter. His mom used to say that the babies would provoke him. ROTFL – But I mean seriously I probably would have punched this girl in the face. How stupid can one person be?

    I have lived with my mom (stepmom) since I was 4. We share no blood, personal traits, etc. However, I have noticed that as time goes by we do begin to pick up charteristics from our family members. I notice sometimes when I laugh or say something it sounds like her etc.

    I know that I am rambling but, I can figure out how to wrap my brain around why someone would make just a Stupid bold comment. And this is coming from me – everyone knows I’m bold, outspoken, etc. blah blah blah, you get it. She pissed me off.

  10. Renee Michael says:

    Does she/has she EVEN had children????? I can’t believe someone can be so unthinking in what they say. Oblivously she wasn’t thinking or she wouldn’t have said it…If she has any doubts, just tell her to observe Madilyn…She is a great child and always puts a smile on my face when I see her. I would never had known she was adopted had you not told me, since she looks so much like you guys! I believe that God has great plans for her with everything that you guys have had to go through…She is a blessing from God, not an imbalanced child. I’m with Jenn…she has pissed me off.