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New York Times Clarification

I gather from some of the responses to the way I compare my relationship with my biological child to my relationship with the child I helped my ex-girlfriend to raise that I have been taken out of context. My situation is unique to my experience and it was this specific relationship that I describe in my memoir. I am sorry to have offended anyone, as it was not my intention.

However, I still do feel that this dialogue is important and worthwhile.
March 20th, 2007

Comments:

Comment #1 by Janet on March 20, 2007 - 9:46pm

Rebecca I understand where you are coming from, as a mother of 3, ex-fostercarer and having helped my partner to raise her child I can honestly say although I love all the children who have been part of my life the only ones I would die for are my own. Biological is different they are a part of you having carried them for nine months. I could add more but I will leave it there, I hope that you and your mother will find the peace you both deserve in your relationship and not leave it festering. I had a turbulent relationship with mine, she died before we found peace with one another. Take care and be strong....hope amazon hurries with my order.

Comment #2 by Chris on March 22, 2007 - 12:20am

As an adult adoptee, I always saw your relationship with the child you helped raised with your ex-girlfired as different because you two did not adopt the child together. Am I incorrect? You came into a relationship with a child already there.Janet, I have to admit that your comment is hurtful.

Comment #3 by kari on March 22, 2007 - 4:49pm

Chris,I do not know Rebecca but I just read her new book and your understanding (as far as I can tell) is correct.

Comment #4 by Dawn on March 22, 2007 - 6:01pm

I think the mistake is thinking that the bio connection is all when really -- and I think your experience with your mother testifies to this -- so much about relationships is about context, preparation and intention. I know with absolute certainty that I would die for my (adopted) daughter the same as for my (bio) son. I understand that my stepmother -- who came into our lives late -- would not die for me but would die for my half-sisters. The problem is when we generalize our experience to other people's experiences.

Comment #5 by R on March 27, 2007 - 3:18am

I do not want to speak for all the infertile women in the world who cannot birth their own "natural" children but your comments in the NYTimes about adoptive parents not experiencing the same level of love as biological parents were about the most insensitive I have ever experienced.

Comment #6 by deshi on March 28, 2007 - 4:52pm

it pained me thoroughly to read your comment in the ny times about your ex-partner's son and the flippant remark about how its a good thing he has someone in his life who would die for him. there are just certain things folks don't need to say out loud no matter how true it is, especially in an article in a newspaper that millions of people read. especially considering your relationship with your own biological mother. if anyone deserves an apology for being offended i would think it would be your ex-partner and her son. have you thought about how he would feel if he read that comment? i'm not trying to be mean or hateful or anything, i was just really, really shocked to hear that kind of thing coming from you.

Comment #7 by Rebecca Walker on March 28, 2007 - 9:15pm

Deshi, thanks for the concern. I actually think it is healthy to talk about all the different kinds of love, and I'm pretty sure my first son's love for me isn't the same as his love for his biological mother. And once again I feel the need to clarfiy that I never said non-bio love was a "lesser" love, but I have emphasized that it is different. Interestingly, in the last city an interviewer shared that psychologists generally advise parents not to say that the love they have for each of their children is "the same," because the love you have for each child is, actually, different because they are different people and have created different memories and experiences with you. Finally, unlike in many other cultures where there are many different words for love that are used to describe different kinds of relationships, we only have one. In this era of complex modern family configurations, we owe it to ourselves to explore the different bonds between, say, "daddy donors" and non-biological moms without feeling pressured to make them all the same. Because they are not. Good luck and thanks for writing!

Comment #8 by PunditMom on April 2, 2007 - 8:11pm

Except that's not the way you present it in your book, if your book has been quoted correctly in news reports. Those quotes suggest you are speaking generally in all situations, and NOT just about your situation.As an adoptive mother, I can tell you I love my daughter just as much as the next mom, regardless of how that mom came to motherhood.

Comment #9 by D on April 6, 2007 - 3:29am

Rebecca, I really appreciate your honesty on this issue. Pretending it doesn't exist can cause incredible damage. I am the biological daughter of parents who also adopted. My parents always made a huge point about us all being loved "the same," but it wasn't the case and we all knew it. This denial and the fact that we are really close in age compounded the problem (we're now 33,34,35, and 36 with my biological sister and me sandwiching my adopted brothers). It's taken years of therapy to deal with the guilt this casued me, as well as the resentment my brothers still feel towards me. For a long time I couldn't imagine I could be deserving of an adopted child's love, or that a biological child could deserve my love. I now have a biological son (the noisy baby in the back in Pasadena!), and someday I may also adopt. I don't know if the love I feel will be any different, but I'll definitely adopt children who are much younger than my biological kids, and go into it with my eyes wide open to issues my parents didn't foresee and then couldn't bear to face. If we're going to create healthy homes for all of our children, we need to be able to talk about this stuff.

Comment #10 by Faith on April 8, 2007 - 6:34am

Rebecca, I haven't read the book, but this is a general comment to you or anyone else. Actually, this is a direct response to Janet's comment:If you are not willing to die for the child you've adopted/parenting that's not yours biologically, then you shouldn't raise that child. Period.

Comment #11 by Julie on April 12, 2007 - 4:33am

It seems to me that you are actually comparing the love of a parent toward their biological child vs. a love of a parent toward a step-child. That is very different than comparing the love a parent has for a child they gave birth to vs. a child they adopted. I personally have one biological child and two children I adopted. I can speak from personal experience and say that the bond I have with all three is the same. They are all "my own" and I would die for any of them. My husband feels the same way and often says, "I didn't give birth to any of them, so they feel the same to me".

Comment #12 by Violet on April 18, 2008 - 10:26am

I can see why you wanted to be honest within your family. But I'm not sure why you needed to tell that part to the world, especially knowing the child you were talking about would have to bear your words in a public arena. As an adoptee, your comment rubs salt in the wound of a very deep and personal fear that many adoptees feel that they are not good enough and are just a consolation prize for someone who really wanted their own biological child. I get it, you were just being honest, but you might take this opportunity to try to see how this must feel from another's perspective.

Comment #13 by Anne P. Keyes on August 11, 2009 - 9:20pm

Yes, I'm late to this party, but...I have never had any biological children, but I know without a doubt that I would in fact die for my daughter, who I adopted. Meanwhile, her biological parents have never even asked about her. So I think your comparison was way off base and so hurtful. You say you are only speaking for yourself, but that is not how it sounded when reading your words. You said, "I don't care how close you are to your adopted...child..." Do not presume to tell me how I feel about my daughter. I'll be honest-what you said really pissed me off.

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