In what I like to call my everyday interweb adventures, I usually stop by the reddit subforum, birthparents. Recently, an expectant mother posted there asking for advice regarding the adoption option. Of course, in stark contrast to most of the advice she received, I posted some truthful answers about adoption in the vein of what I wished I had known before relinquishment. In response to my reply, I was asked, “you sound like your adoption experience wasn’t pleasant. May I ask why?”
Upon reading this, my immediate response was to chuckle to myself. What exactly does a pleasant adoption experience look like? No matter the circumstance, how can giving away one’s child EVER be considered pleasant? My experience wasn’t the horror show that happens to so many other women, to be sure, but I would never categorize it as something on the pleasant part of the adoption experience spectrum. I’m not sure anyone can.
The question itself (at first glance) seems innocuous. In my experience, however, a question like this is asked to discount my input. It is a different way of saying, “I’m sorry your experience was bad, but not all experiences are like that.” Or maybe this mother was hoping to figure out how she could avoid the unpleasantness I experienced. The thing is, adoption is always unpleasant, for both first parents and adoptees. It is something to be avoided, if at all possible. The fact that this mother would ask a question like that leads me to believe that whomever she has been discussing her options with has not presented her with a full, truthful portrait of what adoption means. That is unacceptable.
Most of the advice doled out by other first parents on this forum is equally unacceptable. One mother advised her to seek out counseling from an adoption center and to try not to think about how her child might feel in the future. Excuse me? What kind of advice is that? Shitty advice, that’s what kind. But hey, who I am to say, my adoption experience wasn’t pleasant, afterall.
It is one thing to not get all “anti” on mothers who have already relinquished. To a certain extent, I agree with not berating these mothers who are happy with their experience (for now). There are times when I wish I could go back into the fog. It is quite another thing to lead a mother questioning their ability to parent their child down the adoption primrose path. It is not okay. It is not okay to let another mother believe that adoption can ever be pleasant. With all of the sorrow, grief, and despair that first mothers feel, even in a “happy” adoption situation, how can we ever mince words and give encouragement to the option of adoption. I would never wish all of this angst on another human being, and essentially, that is what many first mothers do. It is wrong. Our role in giving advice to other mothers should be to present the full and honest picture of what adoption is, let mothers know how soul crushingly difficult it is throughout the rest of our lives. To present it as a solution to a problem is wrong, especially when what they need to make an informed decision is the absolute truth.
I get called angry and bitter a lot. Not in real life, but in virtual life. In real life, I would be described as a middle-of-the-roader. I am a person that never wants to upset the apple cart. Most times, I may have a strong opinion on a subject, but don’t feel comfortable enough to take a position and argue it with people I do not know very well. I am a confrontation-avoider.
The truth is, in real life, adoption isn’t something that comes up in conversation much. I run into the occasional person in the process of adopting, but I don’t really feel it is my place to get in their face about how they are going about it. I have yet to be asked what my thoughts are on adoption in real life. That is probably because I don’t have “birth mother” tattooed on my forehead.
In virtual life, adoption seems to be everywhere. There are adoptive parent blogs, first mother blogs, adoptee blogs, prospective adoptive parent blogs, and a myriad of adoption facebook pages. There are blogs and facebook pages for every position under the sun, for or against, anti or pro. I also have many personal, real life friends on facebook that have adopted or are in the process of adopting.
I do a lot of posting on the internet about my opinions about adoption, mostly domestic infant adoptions. While many of my comments are on pages that are similar to my perspective, I also do a fair amounting of commenting on pages which carry the opposite perspective. I do this because there are so many pages devoted to painting adoption as a beautiful, miraculous event and I feel it is a small thing that I can do for a woman who may be perusing those pages to see another side of the coin.
Inevitably, there are people who do not like that. And, of course, I get called angry and bitter…A LOT!
I embrace being angry. Anger is an active emotion. It is the reason I write about adoption issues. It is a motivator. I am angry that women are lied to. I am angry that families are being separated. I am angry that I am not raising my son. I am angry that people are making money from adoption. YES, ANGRY! My anger motivates me to seek out ways to change the system. Anger is not apathy. Anger is a stepping stone to change. Being called angry is not an insult, it means I am getting to you.
I don’t view bitterness as an active emotion. Bitterness implies a constant state of wallowing. Bitterness is taking in anger without letting any of it out. It is identifying oneself as a victim without working toward changing what made you a victim. So no, I am not bitter. I refuse to let someone turn me into merely a victim and sit on the sidelines watching while another woman is bulldozed over. I will not be that.
So, I love adoption peeps, call me angry, call me rage-filled, call me anything, but not bitter. Not anymore.
There are very few things on this earth that get me rattled as much as crazy Christian speak. As soon as I read something like, “It was God’s plan that we adopted this baby. Thank you, Jesus!”, I feel like Mrs. White from Clue (see video below).
Let’s entertain this notion that God had something to do with you getting “your baby” for a moment.
Even in the best of circumstances in adoptoland, giving away a baby is tragic. Even if the mother has never had a second thought about giving you that baby, it is a TRAGEDY. A baby not being raised by their mothers and fathers is a fucking CALAMITY!!! I’m not big on God, but let’s say he does exist. So if it was God’s plan that you were able to adopt a baby, he planned for some poor, probably unwed mother to not have access to the resources she needed to raise her own child? That kinda seems like a round-a-bout way of doing things, no?
If it was “God’s Plan” for you to have a baby, why not just knock you up??? Why did he make you infertile to begin with??? Seems like an awful waste of energy. I bet you have a snappy comeback to that too…lemme guess…God works in mysterious ways? BINGO! Well, if that’s true, God is ONE FUCKED UP DUDE.
Please adoptive parents, I beg of you, spare the world your crazy Christian diatribes about how God chose you to parent our children. It makes you sound like uneducated loony birds. It also makes you seem inherently better than the mothers from which “your chosen children” came. Like their mothers are somehow BAD and were punished so that oh-so-wonderful you could have the child you were chosen to raise. It’s insulting.
It seems to me, and hey, I’m just spit-ballin’ here, that perhaps if your God truly does exist, that maybe he would want you to spend all that time and energy you’ve invested in procuring your “chosen child” into helping a mother raise her own child???? I’ve heard it takes a village. I could have sworn I’ve read a few things about that Jesus dude wanting all of us to help each other, but maybe I’m wrong. It’s been quite a while since I’ve set foot in church.
I wonder if people really believe that God chose them to raise someone else’s child or if it’s just something they say to make themselves feel good about the horror of stripping a baby from his natural parents. I guess it’s reassuring to believe that it was all part of God’s divine path, so I’ll say it again…God is one fucked up dude!
I can vividly remember my adoption “counselor” asking me over and over again if I was sure I did not want the adoptive parents in the delivery room or in the hospital after he was born. At the time I wasn’t angry I was asked so many times but looking back on it I had already said NO so that should have been respected. Thankfully I have the knowledge that I stood up for myself in that aspect and denied them access.
Today, it seems everywhere I look, it’s fairly commonplace for the prospective adopters to have a presence at doctors appointments, in delivery rooms, and in recovery rooms. I have even seen the grotesque practice of having the adopters cut the umbilical cord (cringe).
This practice is classic coercion. In fact, I would argue that prematching adopters with mothers is coercive. Here’s why…
As an expectant mother your hormones are all over the place. As a young expectant mother who is considering adoption instead of parenting you are extremely vulnerable to outside influences. In my case, I did meet the adoptive parents and I can tell you, without a doubt, that putting a face on the people who so desperately wanted a baby to parent made me feel obligated to them. From that moment on, every time I considered keeping my baby I had to also consider their feelings if I did. If I kept my baby, these people would most likely be devastated and I did not want to be the one to bring on that devastation.
This is what adoption agencies count on. They count on expecting mothers to feel obligated to adopters. And this is classic coercion. Adopters should not even be a blip on the radar for mothers considering relinquishing their children.
In my case, all I needed to do was meet these people and there they were in the back of my mind all the time. I can not imagine the strength of character it takes for mothers to decide to parent who have received assistance from adopters, or have allowed adopters to insert themselves into their pregnancy in various ways. Unfortunately, most of us are not that strong.
Here is a good example from a message board written by an adopter (bolds are of my doing):
“I was in the room for the C-section, carried the baby to the nursery, spent the evening with her, then went home to freshen up and we came back the next morning to sign the papers. Welllll….Since it is a catholic hospital, they sent a hospital social worker into the room to counsel with our birthmom before we got back there the next morning and we believe he really talked her out of it. She was fine when he went in…and it was over when he came out. That caseworker was horrid. He just walked out of the room and said, “She’s changed her minds, you need to give me your hospital bracelets.” Our caseworker said, “What? Now just a minute! What happened? Can I see her?” The hospital caseworker raised his voice and announced (soooo loudly in the hallway of the maternity ward)…”Look! She changed her mind…She doesn’t want to see YOU. I’ll call security and have them escort you OUT if that is WHAT NEEDS to BE done…now hand over the hospital bracelets!!!!!” Talk about YIKES! It was awful. Everybody on that floor had to have known what just happened…his big, stupid, booming voice yelling at us in the hallway. Me bawling hysterically.
We filed a formal complaint and I heard that the caseworker had been “reallocated” to work in another area…but we never got to see our baby again. Ooooh…I was SO mad.”
Now, of course I sympathize with the would be adopters in this scenario. But the exacto facto is it was NEVER THEIR BABY! She was not a birthmom while she was pregnant, she was simply a mom. Who ever was counseling the adopters should have made damn sure the adopters knew and respected that. The mother did not owe these people or their
baby broker caseworker a fracking thing. She did not owe them an explanation, it was her child, of course she wanted to keep her child!!!
Let’s not forget how the general population views mothers who decide to parent…they are labelled scam artists, flaky, insensitive, et cetera.
When I was going through my adoption, I thought it was in my baby’s best interest to choose and meet his adoptive parents beforehand. This was a mistake. My son’s parents should never have been part of the decision process. This is a coercive practice put in place by the adoption industry, they know what they are doing. And it hurts mothers and would-be mothers alike.
Labels are everywhere. You’re either prolife or pro choice, republican or democrat, capitalist or socialist, pro adoption or the dreaded(dum dum DUM) anti adoption. Black or white. No room for gray in these waters, right?
So what are you??? WHAT ARE YOU?!?!
Here’s the thing…labeling myself any of these things implies that I know everything I ever need to know about any one of these subjects. It also implies that whoever embraces the other half of the label is my enemy and completely ignorant and baseless in any of their feelings or beliefs.
I do not consider myself an expert in any of these fields but I do lean (sometimes almost falling over onto) towards a side on most issues.
Since I write my blind rage induced vents, also known as views about adoption here I think it would be helpful for anyone who lands here to know my stance on the anti adoption movement.
I am against domestic infant adoptions. I don’t hate all adoptive parents, especially the ones who read and educate themselves on the corruption of the system.
I am opposed to any institution which only serves the needs of the haves (APs) and ignores the needs of the have nots ( first mothers and adoptees).
I will never be convinced that separating a mother and child simply because of temporary circumstances is in the best interest of anyone.
I have tremendous empathy for anyone who is infertile. I can not imagine what that feels like. However, infertility gives no one the right to raise another’s offspring.
It is my staunch belief that MOST domestic infant adoptions are the result of coercion and withholding of vital information from first mothers. Yes, even in today’s modern adoption practices.
At this time I hold no opinion on foster adoptions and international adoptions because I am woefully uneducated on these institutions. I hope to be able to educate myself in the near future.
I will always welcome EDUCATED opposing views. That does NOT mean a personal subjective story of yourself or someone you are BFFs with being an oh so happy adopter or adoptee. That’s like telling me smoking isn’t bad because your Great Aunt Fanny smoked since age was 16 and died at age 101 by getting hit by a bus.
Now here’s a shocker for you, I am pro choice.
Wait…wha…but I though you chose to give your baby up for adoption instead of abortion?!?
Nope. I chose between having an abortion and carrying my baby to term. I then chose between raising my child and giving him away. Although I don’t know if there was much choice there for me in that last sentence, but I digress.
I’m agnostic, so until god himself comes down from the heavens and tells me abortion is wrong, I’m sticking with pro choice.
I’m open to different ways of thinking on issues. If there is new evidence to back up an opposing view point I’m all ears. I can’t say that I will always identify with the anti adoption label but for now that’s the side I’m leaning towards.