The President's Statement For National Adoption Month Is Wrong, And This Is Why

by Jill Robbins
Jill Robbins

November is National Adoption Month. I love the fact that adoption is celebrated during a month we’ve set aside to give thanks. I’ve also always loved the fact that National Adoption Month is declared by presidential proclamation. That just makes things more official-like, right?

We’re a family through adoption, but we don’t so much identify an “adoptive family” as “just a family.” Our most recent adoption was finalized over four years ago, and although there are aspects of our adoption that touch our everyday life, our everyday life is pretty mundane. Probably a lot like your everyday life, except that our breakfast table conversations are peppered with phrases like “birth mother” and “adoption day.”

Sometimes, our “out in public” events include such unexpected conversation starters like “Did my birth mom have brown eyes?” or “Why am I adopted?”

It’s hard.

I want to be transparent and encouraging. I want my children to feel positive about their adoptions. You might not want to have a serious conversation about adoption in the middle of Target, but sometimes, that is when your kids want to have a serious conversation about adoption. You can’t shush them because the question is inconvenient or not on your time.

But back to the whole presidential proclamation thing. It’s always something I’ve been very proud of.

I love that National Adoption Month has received White House endorsement. I like to see adoption awareness being spread to (what I hope is) a larger audience, and I hope somewhere out there is an awesome family that opens their eyes to adoption being a possibility.

Adoption is a beautiful, heartbreaking, often-frustrating, complicated, rewarding, messy blessing.

It makes me happy to see the November spotlight shine on adoption, and although part of me wishes for this level of interest all year round, I understand that all things have their season.

But I take issue with the wording in this year’s presidential proclamation for National Adoption Month. I’ve always been proud of the president’s stance on adoption, independent of my feelings on the sitting president or my political views.

“Adoptive parents are a selfless and loving part of God’s plan for their future children.”

I have a one-word response:


I’m not selfless. I wanted children. My husband and I adopted because we wanted to be parents. Period.

Jill Robbins

We decided to adopt of our own free will. Actually, I had to convince my husband that this was the right path for our family, but that’s another story.

There was absolutely nothing selfless about our decision to adopt. If I’m being honest, the decision was totally selfish.

Our daughter had just left the nest. We were still relatively young and unencumbered. The empty nest wasn’t to my liking. I missed someone to “do for.” I missed everyday mothering, conversations about closet monsters, and cutting someone’s meat.

I am not selfless. If anything, my decision to hit the parenting reset button can be described as selfish.

Also? Our adoption was not part of “God’s plan.”

I’m a Christian, and my faith definitely helped guide me through the messy, broken road that is adoption. That, and copious amounts of wine, dark chocolate, and Kleenex.

I don’t think it was “God’s plan” for my boys to be abandoned by their birth parents. I don’t think it was “God’s plan” for my children to be born in a country where special needs were taboo and where giving up a child for adoption isn’t supprted by the current laws.

I don’t think it was “God’s plan” for me to have to have the hard, tearful conversation with a 7-year-old about “why his real mom didn’t keep him.” That conversation was gut-wrenching, and I don’t yet have words to describe it. It was painful all around, and no part of my brain can accept that that level of pain was “God’s plan.”

Adoption was our family’s choice. Our faith absolutely helped guide us along the journey to adopt, and in the hard post-adoption days. Jesus, espresso, chardonnay, and the shoulder of a few select women who didn’t care about the fact that I spewed snot on their shoulders saved my butt.

Mr. Trump, I’m not part of God’s plan for my adopted kids. I’m firmly plan B, and I’m okay with that. I’m also pretty far from being selfless.

I think you have this one wrong.

I appreciate this administration’s nod to National Adoption Month, and gosh, I hate to be that ass who refers you to “how the last guy that had your job did things,” but well, maybe you should compare the wording and get yourself educated about what it really means to be an adoptive parent.

It’s November. I’m thankful for a lot of stuff.

But I am not selfless and my kids being in my family isn’t a result of “God’s plan.” I’m a damn good mom all the same though.

One of the most important jobs many of us will ever have is being a parent. Throughout National Adoption Month, we celebrate all those who have invited a child in need into their hearts and into their homes, and we express our profound appreciation for all who help make adoptions possible. Let us continue strengthening the adoption process so that all children can learn, grow, and thrive with the support of a devoted and permanent family.

Adoption is a lot of things: beautiful and broken and complicated.

To say it’s “God’s plan”? Well, I think that’s a miss. To term all adoptive parents as “selfless”?

Also a miss.

I’m all for adoption awareness, Mr. Trump, and I hope some good comes of your 2017 National Adoption Month Proclamation. I hope it reaches families who are looking for children. I also hope the way you worded things doesn’t give someone a jacked-up view of adoption.

But I think you need to do a little bit of homework. Get to know some adoptive families and find out their motivation for adopting.