Quora: A parent's love for adoptive children vs biological children

Originally posted to Quora.

The original question was "Do parents love biological children more than adopted children?"

Someone who was a biological father without adopted children, who was therefore speculating, posted:

...I think that we derive a certain fulfillment and gratification from natural children that we don't get from adopted ones. If you were a great athlete in high school, for example, it would be more gratifying to see your natural son or daughter excel in that way than it would to see an adopted child do so. You would still be very happy for them, but not in the same way.

My Response:

I'm an adoptive parent, and wish you hadn't speculated about this.

I wanted to provide a counterpoint to the example you put forth. Our adopted son is a very good athlete: he has natural athletic ability that he combines with a willingness to work hard, listen to his coaches, and focus. My husband and I are both very lacking in athletic talent, but we know that we are essential in developing our son's work ethic and desire to learn to excel.

When our son is competing, I cannot tell you how proud we feel of him. It is beyond gratifying. We see him achieve things that we would never have been able to ourselves at the same age, and that is a real thrill. All the while, we know that he wouldn't be achieving them were it not for our showing him how to harness his natural skills.

Why should parents be gratified or proud of what our genes encode? To me, that's like being proud of being tall or having brown eyes. I can only understand being proud of the effort you put in, obstacles you overcame, things you learned, goals you achieved. And that's the same for all parents, regardless of whether their kids are adopted or biological.

Sue Raisty

Product management geek, born-again engineer, adoptive mother of boys, coach & mentor, mountain trail runner, tinkerer, no-bull communicator, wannabe writer, room mother & compulsive researcher.

Silicon Valley, California http://blog.sueraisty.com