We don’t talk about adoption much in our society. We like to think that we’ve advanced since the days of young, unwed women being whisked off to “maternity homes” to secretly give birth while everyone else is told that she was visiting an aunt (or some other long lost relative). Have we though?
Certainly we’re better at caring for women who choose to make an adoption plan for their child. We provide counseling and now recognize that she doesn’t “just forget” about the baby she placed for adoption…not EVER…not even for a minute. We encourage our birth mothers to see their babies, hold them, talk to them, name them even…even if that name will change. We know now that all of this helps our birth mothers to process their decision, to somehow find a way to move on and to begin to heal.
But what about TALKING about adoption? Are we doing a good job at that?? My position is that we’re not. There’s still an unspoken stigma around the whole idea of adoption. In our line of work, we hear these questions all of the time:
What kind of woman gives her “own kid” away? (we love the “kid” label, by the way!)
Why did they adopt? Can’t they have their OWN baby?
Let’s take a minute and answer those questions….
The “kind” of woman who makes an adoption plan for her baby is the kind that is unselfish, brave, strong and loving. That “kind” of woman makes the most heart wrenching decision any of us can imagine–the decision to allow someone else to raise and love her child. She makes this decision because of her deep love for her child, and she possesses the honesty and humility to recognize that she cannot do as well for her baby as what that baby deserves. What “kind” of woman makes an adoption plan? Simply put….a MOTHER…one who will put the needs of her children above her very heart and soul.
Can’t they have their OWN baby? Let’s be clear here. Babies who come into families through adoption are most definitely their parents’ OWN children. These children have been desired and prayed for more than most of you know. Adoptive parents have had to, in my ways, and many times, prove that they’re “good enough” to be parents. They’ve been through heartache after heartache in their quest to become a family and love a child. Trust me…these parents don’t think of their children as their “adopted children,” they are the loves of their lives and the centers of their universe.
Maybe, just maybe, if we all talked a little more about adoption…if we were all willing to learn more…we, as a culture, would have more respect for those who’ve walked this difficult path and who’ve formed one of the most privileged relationships ever.