Back in June 2005, I wrote a blog post titled: No Fairy Tale For Me, Thanx! and in September 2010 (after I was already married) I wrote Something To Think About, mainly to add my voice to a number of posts on the interweb at the time about dating a single mom.
In both posts the same issue got a mention – that I was always, ALWAYS, afraid that my son would be regarded as “not really ours” by any family I married into.
As my knucklehead was almost an adult when I met my husband this was less of an issue for me than it would have been if he was a little boy, but it still worried me.
All three of my siblings and at least three of my cousins are parents to children who were not born to them. I have many friends whose children are parented by someone to whom they were not born, and I have friends who are parents to children they have adopted- for lack of a better word– as their own.
My generation- born and raised in the seventies and eighties- sees these children simply as “our children”. We love them and parent them, and our children are equal to each other. They are brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces. They’re included in family portraits and special occasions. All our children’s school concerts, favourite foods, parents’ evenings, achievements and accidents are equally important.
…older generations seem to see these children differently.
It has to be pointed out to many of them that we as parents – and aunts and uncles – are deeply hurt when our children are set apart from their siblings in any way.
I have heard grandparents talk about how a biological grandchild is a little more special to them than his or her siblings because he or she was born into their family and the others were not, and I have seen pictures of these very children excluded from a great-grandparents’ photo galleries…
With very few exceptions this is not done to be spiteful, its simply human nature to separate things that are not the same.
Let me reiterate – the people who speak of these children separately from the ones they are related to by blood, do not do so to be mean. Well, almost never.
For them, these children are “clip on children“, or “not really ours“. They do love them and they include them in celebrations and special occasions, but in their minds they remain separate from their biological family.
If there are children who have become a part of your family rather than being born into it, remember that to the parents of that child or children, they are no different to their siblings or cousins.
However you may think about them, or classify them in your own head, keep it to yourself.
Whether you approve of them or not, they are a part of your family. Please, for your family’s sake, keep that in mind when you speak of them.