I’m Not A Hero, I’m “Just” A Mom!

This morning I was included in a Twitter convo about how Gareth Cliff had called adoptive parents “hero’s of our generation”.

It’s not the first time I’ve been confronted by comments like that. I’ve often been told that what we’re doing by adopting is honourable. But I really want to set the record straight.

I’m not offended by those comments, not in the least, and I know they come from a good place, I know they’re meant as compliments, I know that people think that adopting is honourable, I know that some people would think that we are hero’s for adopting, I know that some people think that we have some how saved our child or blessed her in some way by choosing to adopt her.

But I can’t wear any of those labels with comfort. That just don’t sit well with me, they make me uncomfortable and they make me feel like a fake and a phony and here’s why:

Our motivation for adopting was a purely selfish one. There was nothing selfelss about it. I wasn’t trying to be a hero, I was trying to save a child, I wasn’t trying to do anything honourable. I just wanted to be a mom. I just wanted to experience motherhood in whatever way I could.

Having a baby is an impossibility for me. It’s a door that has been closed and one that I never want to reopen. But I still longed to be a mother, adoption was our only option. It was a purely selfish choice that was made after much heartache, sadness and grieving.

Adoption was our obvious choice. But when we started the process, we hadn’t considered the implications of our birth mom or of our adopted child. We just wanted a child and would take it in anyway we could. It’s only with a deeper understanding of adoption and about the emotional ties in the adoption triad that our motivation became a little more “honourable” it is ultimately a purely selfish act on our part, born from my desperate desire to be a mother.

Don’t get me wrong, there are thousands of adoption hero’s out there. There are plenty of families created via adoption who are honourable and who are hero’s but we’re not one of them. Families created from horrible situations, from abuse, neglect and abandonment.

I know that no harm is meant by those comments and I truly am flattered that I’m included in such statements but can you understand why it’s a little uncomfortable for me?

We are not Ava’s salvation but she sure as hell is my salvation. We are not hero’s but her birth mother certainly is.

I’m not honourable, I’m not a hero, I’m just an infertile women who was desperate to be a mom.


  • Melinda

    January 16, 2013 at 10:54 am

    People always say, when they find out we are adopting, that we will be so blessed …my response “Yes, a little girl is allowing us to share her world, how much more blessed can I be”

    • Sharon

      January 16, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Yes, you will be blessed and your little girl is a blessing but people should always remember that our children are our salvation and we are not necessarily their’s.

  • cupcakemummy

    January 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

    in my opinion you’re a hero. every “real” mother is, those selfless woman who put their children first and foremost, a mom made via adoption or just the chose to keep and nurture a child had. a mom is a mom and biology doesn’t make a mom any more than it makes a dad. so yes, you are a hero, maybe not cause you adopted but because you are a mom.
    *gets off soapbox*

  • Laura

    January 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

    What a lovely post! I think often people (like Gareth Cliff who isn’t a parent yet) think that everyone who adopts is doing so “to help” not because they can’t have kids – if that makes sense?

    When Gareth has kids one day he will realise that for a lot of us moms surviving the day sane makes us all heros :))

  • Mash

    January 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Agree. 100% agree.

    Also goes back to that Primal Wound book (which I haven’t yet read) and all that stuff which is so crucially important, about how the adopted child should not be made to feel that they are so “lucky”.

  • Charlotte

    January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Your a Hero to me not just because you adopted, but after everything you went through to get to this place of being a parent, you are doing all you can to help and support others. That makes you a hero

  • Susan

    January 16, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Beautiful post Sharon. I couldn’t agree more.
    We haven’t adopted yet and aren’t parents yet (also due to infertility), but when discussing adoption with some people, they have mentioned that we would be “saving a child’s life”. Now I know where that uncomfortable, guilty feeling came from that always made me change the subject. It’s because we are doing it for selfish reasons too, not to be “honourable”. We just want to be parents.

  • Lisa-Marie

    January 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

    His comment stems from the fact that he actually doesn’t know the whole adoption package. I’m not knocking him – he’s my favourite dj.
    People are often in AWE when I tell them that Isabella is adopted; and many of them have welled up too. They see it as very special; without knowing what is involved.
    I must agree with you that BM’s are the real hero’s here; and often just not thought of enough. It’s probably because ppl think that BM’s are giving up a child and we are stepping in to take over. But SO MUCH MORE is involved. If only people knew…
    The hero’s to me, are people like Brangelina; going into poverty stricken places and adopting children who have nothing whatsoever.
    We are not the hero’s, Shazz – you are right. Our BM’s are.


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