Why I Hate The Word “Blessed”

You hear it all the time.

“Oh I feel so blessed.” “God has really blessed me.” “Let’s ask for God’s blessings.”

I call bullshit. Not on the whole God thing. I believe in God, but don’t feel the need to justify whether I do or don’t in this space.

My problem is how people say it. As if God is up there (up where, really?) looking down and randomly choosing people saying, “Yes…let me bless that real housewife of Beverly Hills with zillions of dollars and a new car and fame and Botox…” All the while, turning his back on the people in the world that really need a blessing.

People like Davion Navar Henry Only.

He is 15 and has never had a real family or a real home. Now I have to give a shoutout to the folks who have been providing him with a foster home. Fostering a child is a very noble act and one that requires a great deal of commitment. (Yes there are people who abuse the foster care system, but I’m not going there).

But think of it. Here is this young man who normally our society wouldn’t give a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding. He’s a black male born to an imprisoned woman with a drug problem. Odds are that he would be dealing drugs, raping women, murdering innocent people or – God forbid – dead already.

But he isn’t.

Instead, he stands up in church and asks for a family. No, he pleads for a family. I cannot imagine having to plead for a family. Having to plead for someone to love you not because they’re paid by the state, but because they genuinely care about you. He wants to feel connected to someone. Anyone. And when it comes right down to it, don’t we all?

He wants to play football. He wants to use the restroom without having to ask that it be unlocked.

These are simple things that shouldn’t be denied to our kids. And yet, they have been denied to Davion.

My heart sank this morning when I read this story. How does this happen? There are about 400,000 kids in the US Foster Care system. My question is – why are there so many kids in need of permanent homes when there are so many people unable to have biological children who are yearning for the chance to parent a child?

Is it because there aren’t enough families interested in fostering or adopting older children or those with troubled backgrounds?

Is it a lack of money?

Not enough awareness?

Are these kids not pretty enough? Young enough? White enough?

Have you read Nia Vardalos’ book “Instant Mom” ? I have and to say I devoured it would be an understatement. Long story short, she and her husband were unable to conceive a child through all of the normal and medical routes. With a heavy (but open) heart, she explored alternatives. Blowing away all Hollywood stereotypes, she and her husband adopted an American child from the Foster Care system. Her story was real and compelling and I couldn’t put the book down. Now, she’s an adoption advocate who works aggressively to get the word out about the growing number of children who are aging in a failing foster care system.

Many of you know I placed my son in an open adoption 25 years ago. I’ve shared my story in a number of places. Adoption isn’t for everyone, but it was the right choice for me and my son at the time. I feel extremely fortunate to have a close and loving relationship with him and his family to this day.

Yeah, I hate the word “blessed.” I believe in a very loving God. One who looks out for all children. Not just the uncomplicated ones.

When I think of my two young daughters that I parent with my husband – and my son who was raised by a phenomenal family and is making his way in the world as an independent young man – I don’t feel blessed.

I feel enormous gratitude.

I feel like we’re the lucky ones.


23 thoughts on “Why I Hate The Word “Blessed”

  1. Great post. I have thought about this very same thing also and even considered blogging about it. For me, when I hear people saying, “Oh, I’m blessed!” it sounds arrogant. It’s like saying, “Oh, I’m rich, I’m beautiful, I’m (fill in the blank).”

    You said it perfectly. We should feel gratitude.

  2. “Yeah, I hate the word “blessed.” I believe in a very loving God. One who looks out for all children. Not just the uncomplicated ones.”

    I completely agree. It was REALLY hard through the years of infertility when many, many, many women would tell me about how they were blessed with 2, 3, 5, 7, etc children, and then look at me with pity – the poor girl who just wasn’t blessed.

    You’re right. He loves us all.

    • It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me sometimes, because you’re right – it’s as if those who say it are implying that you aren’t as blessed as them. Thank you for your comment 🙂

  3. I can relate to this post. I just saw someone tweet that they are “beyond blessed.” And yes….I wonder about all those who at the same time are not “blessed” at all….because of misfortune.

  4. GIIIIIRRRRL! My friends in Atlanta have been foster parents for years. They have 3 foster kids now and they already have 6 of their own. 3 of them adopted through fostering. Maybe thats my next step. I so badly want to be a father and I couldn’t care less how old they are or where they come from. I am full of love and opportunity to raise amazing children as I have watched all my friends do.

    You inspire the world!

    Love Shaquandra

    • You would be the greatest most caring father! I say go for it! There are so many kids out there who have spent way too long in the system. The older they get, the less “attractive” they are.
      And thank you for your sweet words…it was the first thing i read this morning and it made me smile. YOU’RE AWESOME. Love you xoxo

  5. Reblogged this on A Few Pieces Missing From Normalcy – An Infertile Man's Perspective and commented:
    A great reblog from one of the many great people in the adoption community. Though I am not religious. I wouldn’t use the word blessed, I would use the word lucky in certain circumstances. I am lucky that I have such a wonderful wife. I am lucky that we received a clear quick IF diagnosis and that we didn’t need to go through any treatments adding to the emotional stress infertility has brought us. I never want to see my wife go through what many women have. I consider myself and us lucky not blessed because things could be worse despite not being better.

  6. Well, it is like this – i’ve spent hours and hour looking at the children who are in foster care awaiting homes. (Many are listed online, pics and some history.)

    I believe that EVERY child deserves a home and to be wanted and cared for.

    In my search, however, inevitably, many if not most of the children listed are down as “needs experienced parents.” For people who want children but are leery about taking children who are older, this is a bubble-popper. Yes, we are confident, but we are not remotely “experienced” and it is scary to think this child can only be managed by someone who has done this before.

    Each story is individual, for the children and for the parents. The fact is, no matter how much i desire children and want to be a parent, we are not able to foster or adopt. I have physical disabilities that would make it difficult for us to have children without full-time help, and we can’t afford that. I’ve already had one doctor tell me that he will not sign off on our adopting.

    So, my heart is for all those children who “age out” of the system without anyone to care. Can we become “aunt and uncle” to children like that? Somewhere that they can come for a quiet weekend or a place to join in on holiday celebrations? Someone willing to be there and care when they have their own children without family back up. I think we should start such a system, but i don’t know where to begin.

  7. There was always an uneasy feeling I had about the word, and it’s misuse, but not until recently I really do not like hearing that word. I think about Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, and parents saying that they were blessed for their child not being killed. I really do not think that is a blessing, especially when you think of the unfortunately ones or un-blessed ones.

  8. Wow, I love this post. Some of my Christian friends use this expression and I cringe, but I’ve struggled to explain to them why it bothers me. The thing is, I’m a non-believer, so they just dismiss my discomfort as being “an atheist thing.” But I’ve tried to explain it’s not that at all — I have nothing “against” God nor religion, I merely disbelieve in gods and the supernatural and am ambivalent about religion (as I think kind people are encouraged to good things in the name of religion, and cruel people use religion as justification for cruel acts). The “blessed” thing, though, does sound to my ears like someone is saying “Gee, I’m so thankful that God has chosen to favor me while he’s overlooked all those other poor slobs.” It seems…I don’t know…smug and self-centered. I so much prefer when people refer to themselves as “lucky” or “fortunate,” whether they’re believers or not. It seems to make less of an assumption that God has somehow deliberately ignored or forsaken the misfortunate.

    • Thanks so much for your comment. This post -more than nearly any other I’ve written – has elicited so many responses and comments. Thanks for your insight and for reading 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s