It seems like in American culture, adoption is always a last resort. In movies or TV, adoption is an option for two kinds of people: celebrities/rich people who adopt children from other countries (with the implication being that it's just for the press) or couples who can't have children. It's always really bothered me that people act like adoption is something that should only be done when all other options are taken away. Even worse is when adoption is looked down on. I can remember when I was a kid, a friend of mine whispering to me about how another kid in our class was adopted, as if he was telling me they were a leper. I'm positive we've all seen a TV show or movie where a kid is teased by being told they're adopted (whether it's true or not) and it's a staple of storytelling to have parents struggle with telling their adopted kid that they're adopted. These are things that we need to work out of our way of thinking.

To begin with, let's get rid of all this blood is thicker than water nonsense. About three years ago I gave a speech at my sister's wedding about how blood may be thicker than water, but it's love that is thickest of all. Just because a person is adopted or married into the family does not mean that they are any less a part of that family. Your family is the people that you love most in the world. They're the people that you drop everything for to help. Sure, you might not like all of your family as people, but that doesn't mean you stop loving them. We need to stop with this Godfather nonsense where we act like anyone who isn't born with our blood isn't the same as the rest of the people in the family.

Adoption shouldn't be considered just a plan B to having children naturally. That isn't to say it can't be, for those couples who find themselves unable to have kids naturally, but just that we should stop considering adoption only as an option for these couples. There are more than 400,000 kids in America alone, right now, who need parents. Do you know how many married couples there are? More than 2 million (in 2014). Isn't it staggering to think that any of the kids who need parents aren't snatched up? I mean, that 2 million doesn't even count those people who don't want to or weren't legally allowed to get married in 2014! Why does it matter so much that our kids should share our DNA? Sure, they might not look like you, but if you raise them and love them, they'll probably end up acting, at least a little, like you. Isn't that enough?

Stop acting like finding out someone is adopted is like finding out they're from Mars. Let's stop acting like adopting a kid is like giving up a kidney to a stranger. These things are what makes it so hard for parents to decide how to tell their adopted kids about their origin. Parents don't want to lie to their kid, but they also don't want the child to feel like they love them less. This societal mindset of adopted = weird/loved less makes it hard for parents to tell their adopted child that it doesn't mean anything. Because, and here's the kicker, it doesn't mean anything. If you love someone like they're your kid - then they're your kid. Plain and simple.

So, seriously, let's knock it off.