Friday, May 17, 2013

Was or Am?

A few weeks ago I read a sentence on a blog that has stuck with me. Unfortunately I don’t recall who’s blog it was (an example that I might read a few too many blogs….)


The sentence was something like this:
 “I know children who are adopted and adults who were adopted”.
It caused me to pause…. 

Why is the semantics different for children and adults? At what age does adoption stop being a current/ongoing event to something that happened in the past?

My own semantics are completely opposite to the original posters. When I talk about myself, I will say “I am adopted”… an ongoing state of being, much like I refer to myself as being brunette. And yet, when I’m talking about Liam, I am more likely to say “he was adopted.” I hear myself doing it, and I’ve often wondered why?

Having thought about this sentence for the last week or so, I think the difference for me is that I have embraced adoption as a part of me. It has shaped the person I have become. And yet, I’m not quite ready to use it to define Liam. Perhaps my view is skewed as I’m the parent in his case, and I do see his adoption as something that happened on a specific day. He may one day see himself also defined by the fact that he was/is adopted and then he too may say “I am adopted”.

Which version do you use? Does the persons age factor into your choice of words?


Heather said...

I use "was" for both myself and the kiddo. I think of it in terms of being a means of joining that family; people use "was" for being born into, so why wouldn't it be "was" for how we joined? It is how we came to be part of our family. That made sense in my head but I'm not sure it does out loud. You know me... :)

Anonymous said...

Was or Am - always an interesting topic.

If I was to guess you see the act of adoption in regards to your son because you were the one adopting. For you - you are adopted because you were the person being adopted.

The best comparison I can make is to marriage.

I am married because I continue to be married, despite the legal ceremony/event having taken place in the past.

Adoption has both the actual legal act, and the continuation of being adopted for your lifetime. Both answers are correct.

I will forever be adopted, so therefore I am adopted.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

I'm glad you raised this issue, and the answers given are helpful to me.

TTABaby said...

Thanks for the post. I think I use both but tend to lean towards "was." I think like theadoptedones stated it depends some on specifically what i'm discussing (the legalities of it or how she came into our family) as well as who I am talking to. I try to be aware of the words and their impact but I know I'm not perfect.