Fairy Tales

Today’s story – I have been trying to become a mom for four years. I have had four miscarriages, five IVF cycles and more surgeries than I care to count, and I just keep getting older. As I come to grips with the likelihood that my husband and I may not be able to have biological children, I thought that adoption could be a beautiful way to have a family, but I definitely don’t want anyone to be exploited or hurt as a result.

An honest response – I am sorry for your loss suffering from infertility. I’m sorry the adoption industry preys upon your grief and got your hopes up about adoption being some kind of beautiful alternative to having your own child. I’m certain you didn’t mean to be self-centered about it. You’re just trying to work through it. You have been told adoption could soothe your pain.

Unfortunately the sweet serendipitous miracle situation you hope for is the same as 40+ other couples desire. You all want a guilt free, uncomplicated scenario. That’s the fairy tale the adoption industry would like to sell you. But it is inherently extremely complicated and painful for children who are used this way. There is no way around it. Obtaining a stranger’s kid will not fix the hole left in your heart from infertility. I’m so sorry.

Maternal Grief

There is more than one way to “lose” a child. Certainly, the most obvious is the most permanent. Today, many adoptees are going through reunions with their biological families. That gives hope that the kind of loss that is giving a child up to adoption may not be a permanent one. That said, one can never regain the years the locusts have consumed. The bible promises a restoration but the reality is, those years can never fundamentally be retrieved. They are forever lost.

Adoption is, in its idealized form, is suppose to be about finding homes for children that need them, not about finding children for parents that want them. That perfect world is a place we all know we do not live in. There is nothing inherently wrong about wanting to be a parent, but it can become wrong depending on how you go about becoming a parent. Once they have achieved their goal, adoptive parents might desire to remain ignorant regarding the real loss involved for the other participants in their own path to parenthood. 

Surrendering a child can really hurt emotionally, in a way that is completely indescribable and that words could never do justice regarding, if one attempts to convey it to any other person who has not had direct experience with it.  Relinquishment can never be undone and all a birthparent can do is continue live their life throughout the time knowing that someone else is raising their child.

Hear it described by the most honest and real, courageous and brilliant adopted persons and you will learn that many of the feelings they have for having been adopted do not express feelings of gratitude, or contentment, but of loss and primal rejection, as well as confusion, anger, many unanswered questions and often unsatisfactory love, truth be told regarding the adoptive parents who settled for second best.

These unfulfilled adoptive parents also grieve – the child they wanted to have – compared to the child they settled for. All around a disagreeable situation. Adoption & Child Welfare Services were expected to bring in a revenue of 14 Billion Dollars during 2015. Even the banking and insurance industry has more regulations applied to them than adoption and some of the things they do to try and make money at all costs is unethical. Adoption is the largest, mostly unregulated, industry in the US allowed to do business.

It is human nature that if you put few regulations in the way and add to that large sums of money to be made from taking part in the industry, it is a situation that asks to be corrupted. A lobby group with a deceiving name, The National Council for Adoption (and an even more disturbing game) is paid for by the adoption agencies, pro-life groups, and given federal tax funds and grants – all to promote adoption. 

The goal is to separate families not protected by money or the Godly union of marriage in favor of giving their child to a legally married, heterosexual, Christian couple. Many mothers have truthfully lost their children to adoption and they suffer in isolation what can only be described as a very real diagnosis of “birthmother grief”. These are women who are and could have been good parents. These children were in no danger of being bumped around in foster care for years. There was no threat of them being abused.

Maybe they would have had a few first years of lean times, maybe it would have been hard but they would have parented. There is a huge difference between child protection and child surrender. Child surrender is voluntary, it is often not really necessary, but made out to be beneficial. The real “good” of the child is questionable depending on your personal interpretation of what is “better”. Often fraught with myths, and misinformation that sway the participants involved for the benefit of the adoption agency and, often, the desires of their paying clients (the perspective adoptive parents). It is finding children to fit the needs of the industry which is based entirely on transferring the parental rights from one party to another for a profit.

Adoption adds a whole bunch of baggage to any adoptee’s life. They had adoptive parents that tried their best, made mistakes, and loved them lots. The fact is though, that if a child does not need to be separated from their original family – experts agree it is a person’s birthright to be with their original family. There are enough adoptees and natural parents searching for each other that we cannot humanly deny that it is not a primal and necessary urge in many cases. It’s not a whim, not a phase, nor a sign if immaturity, nor selfishness, nor of poor adoptive parenting, or anything else might we believe. Adoptees may have the reality of having two sets of parents, adoptive and birth parents, but they need to know and have relationships with their original, biological families – regardless of how good the adoptive family was. It is also clear by how many birthmothers never quit searching for their child that being reunited is also a unrequited need in most maternal hearts.

The Ethics Of Praying To Adopt

Actually, come to think of it, this is good advice – IF – by praying one is seeking guidance rather than to coerce the outcome to what they believe they want – when what they may get is not what they are expecting.

Adoption is a practice fraught with tension, pain, suffering and little reward – though the agencies that sell babies to couples wanting to adopt may not want you to know about that part.

Bottom line, it is NOT okay to want and pursue another woman’s baby.  Adoption is always the sad outcome to some kind of trouble in the original parents lives.  A case worker forcing the original mother to sign relinquishment papers reminds me way too much of my maternal grandmother’s sad circumstances at the hand of a master – Georgia Tann.

Every pregnant woman at risk should be given time and space.  Surrender should never be rushed and in the best circumstances delayed for some months to allow the new baby to continue the bonding process post-birth.  My maternal grandmother was married.  It may be that a Super Flood on the Mississippi River before my mom was even born kept my grandfather from knowing the danger my grandmother and mom were actually facing.

Maybe the guidance you will receive will be to help this family stay together rather than tear it apart and separate a child from its original family.

Adoption – A Mother’s Sorrow

I can relate, though I didn’t give up a child to adoption, financially I lost the ability to raise my first born precious daughter.  There are no words for the lifetime of regret and sense of loss that never ends.  I remember looking through commercial greeting cards for something to send my daughter on her birthday and nothing related to the kind of relationship I have with her.  Eventually, I simply started making them my self where I could modify the text to be more accurate.

At least I knew where she was and who was raising her.  Not so for a mother who relinquishes her child to a closed adoption.  Open adoptions are more frequent now but adoptive parents can and often do close the door to contact.

It is difficult to generalize about the feelings or experiences of all of the parents who surrender a child.  Many may feel that their child will have a better life in an adoptive home and often that may be true if the mother is homeless or financially destitute.  Money and love and biological connection are not one and the same.  Even so, some parents who surrender a child do so believing that they are putting the child’s best interests ahead of their own, when they make the decision to place the child for adoption.

Grief and guilt are often the outcome for such a mother.  I know, I suffered both and still do.  Even though my daughter is now 46 years old and we have what I would consider to be a pretty good relationship with each other, I still struggle with the reality that I was not there for her growing up.  There is no changing that no matter how I feel about it.

Shock and denial, sorrow and depression, anger, guilt, and acceptance are the various feelings that a parent who has surrendered their child may experience at any given time, very dependent on the overall circumstances.

When the loss of a parent’s child is viewed as a “choice” that parent voluntarily made, there may be little sympathy or compassion and indeed, a strong inclination to ignore the pain and encourage the parent to go on with their life.  If only it were that simple . . .

Sad And Heartbreaking

I find myself in such an awkward position.  I have come to see that adoption is not the happy, rosy picture the industry wishes to paint because it is so lucrative.  Even so, but for adoption, I would not even exist.  What a quandary.

So to get real – adoption is never about the child who becomes an adoptee.  This is the reality.  As difficult as it may be to accept and understand.

Certainly, I am anti unethical adoption.  My mom’s adoption was unethical.  My maternal grandmother was pressured and exploited in a difficult situation that to her unending sorrow resulted in losing the baby girl she fought so hard to keep.  It wasn’t her fault.  She was a victim of Georgia Tann who was a master at the art of separating mothers from their children.

Even though my existence is decidedly an effect of two adoptions (both of my parents were), that does not mean that I cannot see the problems with adoption – especially for the child who is forever wounded in a deep place and may not even know what the actual source of their emotional pain is.

So, it is not positive or beautiful to take another women’s child.  Period.  There has to be a better way and that is to provide for a family to remain intact.

And there is also the issue of the father.  Yes, some are unconcerned about the child they helped to create.  It may also be true that others that never get a chance.  I believe my dad’s father never even knew he existed.  Since he was married, my dad’s mother probably simply never told him and handled it herself.  My dad was so much like his father that I believe they would have been great friends.  It wasn’t her plan initially to give my dad away, though at 8 months, she let him go for adoption.

Everything about the act of adoption is sad and heartbreaking – for the adoptee certainly – but I also believe for the natural, original parents as well.