I went looking for quotes for my book online and used the list of names from the Superman Was A Foundling exhibition to start looking at fictional characters and quotes about adoption or being abandoned or orphaned.
The first ones I found were from Oliver Twist.
“Let the tears which fell, and the broken words which were exchanged in the long close embrace between the orphans, be sacred. A father, sister, and mother, were gained, and lost, in that one moment. Joy and grief were mingled in the cup; but there were no bitter tears: for even grief arose so softened, and clothed in such sweet and tender recollections, that it became a solemn pleasure, and lost all character of pain.”
And some others:
“You got to let go of the stuff from the past—because it just doesn’t matter! The only thing that matters is what you choose to be now.”Kung Fu Panda II
“Then I discovered that being related is no guarantee of love!” Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
“Was it the act of giving birth that made you a mother? Did you lose that label when you relinquished your child? If people were measured by their deeds, on the one hand, I had a woman who had chosen to give me up; on the other, I had a woman who’d sat up with me at night when I was sick as a child, who’d cried with me over boyfriends, who’d clapped fiercely at my law school graduation. Which acts made you more of a mother?
Both, I realized. Being a parent wasn’t just about bearing a child. It was about bearing witness to its life.”Jodi Piccoult, Handle With Care
“My life has been shaped by the decision two people made over 24 years ago. They decided to adopt a child. They got me, and I got a chance at the kind of life all children deserve.”Karen Fowler, Reflections On Motherhood
While looking at that I looked at famous people and their experiences and thoughts on adoption and found some really interesting quotes that stood out to me.
“There’s some notion that because I was abandoned, I worked very hard so I could do well and make parents wish they had me back, but that’s nonsense.”Steve Jobs
“Knowing I was adopted may have made me feel more independent, but I have never felt abandoned. I’ve always felt special. My parents made me feel special.”Steve Jobs
‘I could say, “Parents are not gods because I don’t live with mine and, therefore, I know.”‘John Lennon
“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother”Oprah Winfrey
“After all, children are children no matter their background” Julie Andrews
“Adoption has the dimension of connection-not only to your own tribe, but beyond, widening the scope of what constitutes love, ties and family. It is a larger embrace. By adopting, we stretch past our immediate circles and, by reaching out, find an unexpected sense of belonging with others.”Isabella Rossellini
“Adoption is a very complicated road filled with incredibly emotional and challenging aspects. At its core, adoption is about loss. It’s one that needs a lot of good support for everybody, so that everyone is clear about the feelings that are being stirred up for everyone. Birthdays, for instance, are very hard for adopted children. For everyone else it’s a celebration of the moment of birth, but for adopted children, it’s the remembrance of a birth family that they don’t have. So it’s complicated terrain but still a beautiful way to make a family. You have to just be really open to all sides of it.”Jamie Lee Curtis
“It has been said that adoption is more like a marriage than a birth: two (or more) individuals, each with their own unique mix of needs, patterns, and genetic history, coming together with love, hope, and commitment for a joint future. You become a family not because you share the same genes, but because you share love for each other.”Joan McNamara
And of course I wanted some ordinary people’s experience and knowledge and opinion.
“You are with your family because they are meant to be your family. Family is not based upon biological makeup alone. There are plenty of blood relatives who don’t get along. In fact, I probably get along better with my family than some of my friends (who are not adopted) do. Family is about love, and adopted children should be confident that their adoptive mother is their ‘real’ mother and their adoptive father is their ‘real’ father. The same goes for siblings.”Adoptee, 17 years old
“Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.”The Reverend Keith. C. Griffith MBE
“When she looks in the mirror, we want our daughter to know herself. It’s hard to face the world when you don’t know where your face came from.”Adoptive Parent
“There is so much loss wrapped up in adoption that it is unfair to ask a child to be thankful.”Brooke Randolph, Therapist, author, speaker
“The adoption journey doesn’t end when your adopted child is finally in your arms. The journey is one that never ends. It is a journey filled with joy and it is a journey filled with heartache. It’s the realization of one dream and the loss of another. But, is adoption worth it? Absolutely.”Christina Romo, Diary of a Not So Angry Asian Adoptee
(DISCLAIMER: Header image is not mine. It can be found here.)