Orphan Sunday and its MAJOR problem.


As an orphan who has found a home, I am greatly offended by those people and churches who celebrate this thing called “orphan” Sunday.

I am deeply bothered because the “so-called” orphans, are actually no longer orphans. So why are we celebrating something that no longer is part of the child’s life?

Also, keeping in mind that at least 80% of children who are deemed “orphan” are actually not orphans but the Western World bends the rules to satisfy their need for a child….not the child’s need for a family. 

As an adoptive parent, I would NEVER subject the child I am raising to a day where she legally lost all of her connections. Thanks to the fact that her adoption was more of a kinship adoption, she has a very open and free relationship with her family. She has access to them just like they have access to her. Because they after all ARE her family.

I am being borrowed to do my best with her and prepare her to return if and when she so chooses. I see myself as the “donor”, but she is borrowing me. I am not borrowing her, I am not fulfilling a desire for kids that I could not have on my own, and I am not fulfilling God’s “promise.” All the reasons I listed above are really code for me being selfish.

But wait, to some degree, I am still selfish. She after all is not being raised by her own, but by me. I have to own that. I have to be ready and open to have this conversation as she gets older.  Her story is not mine to tell, it is hers.

As an adoptee, thinking about a day where I lost everything and didn’t have contact with my family growing up, I want to just throw up. Why would a people group (usually white) celebrate a time when kids were orphans. Wasn’t that celebrated within the orphanage?

Day after day after day?

Were we not reminded daily of our fate-why do we need another reminder?

Here’s why….because it was never about us in the first place. Orphan Sunday is not a reminder of pain, and sadness, it is a celebration for adoptive parents. It is a day where adoptive parents reminisce about the day we came into their lives, forcing us to leave behind our essence and cling to something that will never be fully “Real”. And that will never be fully “ours.”

Orphan Sunday is a day for people who may not have been able to have their own children.

Orphan Sunday is a day for people who wanted to expand their family. 

Orphan Sunday is a day for people who lost a child.

Orphan Sunday is a day for people who believed God lead them to remove a child from everything they knew. 

Orphan Sunday is a day for people who coerced a first-mother into thinking they didn’t have the power to raise their own flesh and blood. 

It was never a day for the actual orphan but more so for the person who “saved” someone from a deathly fate.

This is one of the reasons I and so many other adoptees can’t stomach Orphan Sunday. We can’t stomach it because the celebration itself has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with our adoptive parents and what society expects.

It should really be renamed “Adoptive Parent Sunday.” This way it is real, honest and truthful.

But it really is about wording, isn’t it? 

Who would go to a celebration called “Adoptive Parent Sunday?” Probably not many people.

You see, adoptive parents don’t want things to be obvious. They struggle with the truth of adoption and what it could mean to the adoptee. It’s like when they rather call a first mother birth mother. It helps assuage their guilt and reminds their kids that they are the real mothers, not the factory makers.

How about the word adopted. I wrote an article about this word a few weeks back. Adopted.…shouldn’t it really be called ADAPTED? Isn’t that what we adoptees are really doing? Aren’t we adapting? Changing and being molded to be like them?

How about the word biological? Doesn’t that word leave something nasty on the tip of your tongue? When an adoptive mother says biological, it makes me sick, because I feel they are saying “yes, you are connected by EVERYTHING but we love you more.”

Let’s look at the phrase Given Up? Doesn’t it feel better as an adoptive parent to say the child was given up as opposed to saying “the mother was coerced into relinquishing her child.” Given-Up is one-sided whereas coerced takes more than one person.

It really is about language.

How many adoptive parents get offended if the adoptee refuses to call you “mom”…or for the fathers out there….”dad.” It hurts…doesn’t it?

We adoptive parents put so much into raising someone else’s child that we get downright upset if they don’t see us as parents. Its like, we feel like we are owed something.

But here’s the thing….no matter the supposed love you give to an adoptee, LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH and LOVE will never be enough because love is an action and most of the time, as adoptive parents our actions are FUCKED UP and SELF SERVING.

Circling back….Orphan Sunday. A self-serving day for white people (most of the time) to celebrate the loss of their no-longer-orphaned adoptees.

Like Gotcha Day…Orphan Sunday celebrates loss, pain, and hurt…and RARELY is a child even asked their opinion.

Because at the end of the day…it was never about the adoptee.

So how about this time we DON’T celebrate “once you were lost and now you were found” verse in the Bible.

How about we don’t celebrate ourselves and how we listened to God’s call…..which was probably not His call at all.

How about we sit back and reflect on how each adoptee in the home feels about spending one more year with us and not with their first family.

How about we love our adoptee as opposed to loving ourselves…..let’s make love a verb….Let’s love the fact that today, we learned something new about adoption and we will not continue to repeat the same mistakes.

Or….let’s be honest and call it what it is. #AdoptiveParentSunday. At least you won’t be lying to your adoptee and pretending it is about them.

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9 Responses to Orphan Sunday and its MAJOR problem.

  1. Ellen Hawley says:

    I’m childless myself and my partner and I have been extra adults in a number of kids’ lives. The world doesn’t owe us children. It’s good to see someone addressing the selfishness of some adoptive or would-be adoptive parents.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I keep thinking as I read this “what have I done”? Would the baby I adopted be better off if i had not essentially intervened? I did not save my son from anything. He saved me from the constant grief of infertility.

    As for this Orpan Sunday business, I just want to throw up.

    • solifegoeson says:

      It really is up to your son to determine whether he feels you saved him or not. It is also not his job to save you. I agree with the orphan sunday thing… its gross but it happens all around the country… i think US and Canada mostly

    • anenomekym says:

      It was never his choice to “save” you, and it shouldn’t be his burden. Have you considered some therapy, if you haven’t already, so you can appropriately give back to him and his community, rather than taking. I’m an ICA/TRA, so I’m aware that I lost so much during the process of getting adopted (and also have been expected to fill the shoes of a child that never existed).

      But, yes, it’s ultimately up to him to determine what role or how he feels about all that happened in his life.

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