“You Can’t Pick Your Family”

While browsing the Facebook pages of fellow adoption agencies I saw a question on The Adoption Network page: “You can’t pick your family. Discuss:)”

This question received two comments, and one from The Adoption Advocate struck me as interesting.

TAA responded to the question by saying: Hmmmmmm… loaded comment/question… especially when discussing with an adoption theme… My first thought is that some might make the leap that “with adoption you can.” However, I dislike the term “pick.” It gives me the visual of a couple strolling down a supermarket aisle and picking a child off a shelf… grrr. I maintain (and always will) that Little Lady L and her birth family chose us. Not the other way around. But families are built differently, even with adoption. So I’m interested to hear other perspectives weigh in…
Also, coming from non-adoption related thought process, I’d say that you may not be able to “pick” your blood relations but you can very much choose who you allow into your life and cultivate relationships with to the point where you call them “family.”

The thing I appreciated about TAA’s response was that they pointed out “pick” was not the correct word as it relates to adoption. I completely agree that the term infers potential adoptive parents are going through a group of babies and choosing the one right for them, and we all know this is not the case.

If I were to answer the question myself, I’d agree that there is no picking your family. I’ve heard from several adoptive parents that the second they held their child they knew it was meant to be. Other potential families have said that they were able to handle the stress of waiting by reminding themselves that if they weren’t selected by a specific birth mother, then the baby wasn’t meant to be theirs. There is no “choosing” by the adoptive parent, which a lot of people not touched by adoption may not understand.

Whether you are referring to adopted or biological family members, there is no “picking your family,” and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We may argue, we may have our differences (I know my sister and I certainly do), but in the end if you can’t count on your family, who can you count on at all?

I’d be interested to read how others answer this question.