Why Did You Adopt ?

My husband and I made a conscious decision not to adopt when we had been trying unsuccessfully to conceive.  I believe our main concern was that uncertainty factor.  We decided that we preferred to start “fresh” using an alternative form of medicine (obviously the main response to the question in the survey above).

Many adoptive parents are driven by altruistic reasons – it is not because of infertility – but they truly would like to be there in a positive way for a child who they believe needs them.  It is a form of rescuer or savior motivation.

DIA is not through an agency but is a disclosed identified party adoption aka an open adoption.  The inconvenient truth is that regardless of the type of adoption –  agencies are manipulative, hopeful adoptive parents are clueless and often blinded by their own wants, expectant mothers are coerced into giving up their babies because they are led to the false belief it will be better for their infant, and infants experience tremendous trauma when they are separated from their original mother. The whole system of adoption is sadly a mess.

Hopeful adoptive parents usually have good intentions, even if they are blinded to more selfish and personally oriented reasons for adopting.   Wanting to be a parent and acting on that is a selfish decision via adoption, regardless of how you get there.  These adoptive parents may have more than they need for just their own selves.  They want to share from their abundance because for some people sharing feels good.

Many original mothers were  forced. One example that I read about – she was told either she place her son for adoption or they were going to report her to Child Protective Services – she was in extreme poverty, she did not have a job, she was depressed, unmarried and her my son was originally conceived through a man no longer in the picture. She was told she wasn’t good enough to raise her own son and that he deserved better.

It is important to change the narrative about adoption – it is not a beautiful circumstance. It is damaging and painful and should only happen in the very rarest of circumstances, and then it should be within the family, if possible (and honestly, it usually is possible).  I am pro-reunification.  It is important that the pain of separation is not permanent if at all possible.  My perspectives on adoption, I will admit, have gone 180 and mostly against.  There are exceptions, of course, and good ones.

Finding Out One Was Adopted

Above is a segment of my Dad’s original adoption papers.  He was actually adopted twice (his adoptive mother divorced the first husband and remarried, changing my Dad’s name when he was already 8 years old). Upon discovering one of my Hempstead relatives, the first thing she noticed had entirely been missed by my own self, the Salvation Army appeared to “own” him and his mother’s name was nowhere to be found on the document.

I don’t know how old either of my parents were when they learned they were adopted but I believe each was as old as they needed to be told.  I think they always “knew” even before they consciously knew.

There are many ways an adoptee can learn they were adopted.  They might accidentally overhear a conversation.  They might develop a serious illness that requires accurate medical information.  They may discover papers in their adoptive parents’ files after their death or a stranger may come into their life (thanks to DNA testing) and claim to be related.

Most human beings have a need for love and a sense of belonging, also for self-esteem and a recognition of their value.  It seems the almost all emotional wounds need these and some also highlight safety and security and I believe that is true of adoptees as well.

There are so many sad, false beliefs that filter into the heart of an adoptee – something must be wrong with me because my “real” parents gave me away, I don’t belong anywhere, I probably never should have been born, I don’t know who I am and if my “real” parents could abandon me, anyone could.

An adoptee seeking reunion with their original family fears another rejection.  If they were adopted into a family with children already, they may believe they are loved less and many fear they could be taken away from their adoptive family and even fear that it might be the original family recovering them.

Adoptees suffer many side effects of having been adopted.  They may be subject to mood swings, they feel less equal within a family unit, they may be obsessed with the past, struggle with a sense of identity, see how they are different than the adoptive family they are living within, have a hard time saying good-bye, may be always trying to prove their worthiness, may expect to be deceived or engage in risky behavior and may exhibit behaviors indicating a subservience.

That is a lot but it actually is not the end of it – they may experience anxiety or situational depression, they may need to double-check facts for accuracy, they develop various insecurities, they may be cynical and reject the adoptive family.  An adoptee may fantasize about a reunion with their “real” family and actually seek them out.

On the plus side, an adoptee respects honesty and openness.  It may have been emphasized to them that they were chosen, even if they had a hard time accepting that as a positive aspect of having been adopted.  They are adaptable, analytical, appreciative, centered, curious, diplomatic, easygoing, empathetic, happy, private, sentimental, supportive and wise.

They are as complex as any human being could be.

Abandoned Over A Pregnancy

This happened to my maternal grandmother.  For whatever reason, she was abandoned by her lawful husband (my mom’s father) and she was abandoned by her own father.

Despite the joy that usually accompanies a pregnancy, it is one of the most stressful life events.  If a pregnancy is unexpected or unwanted, the stress compounds.

When the person coming to grips with this surprising change is then abandoned by her support system (parents, a lover, a spouse), it’s devastating.  Though either parent could be shunned, the mother typically bears the brunt of the rejection.

The expectant mother may believe some false concepts about herself – what they say about me is true, the baby is the cause of all my trouble, love is temporary and people always leave when times get tough.  Beyond false beliefs are the fears – of being abandoned again, of the judgement of other people, being spiritually condemned or being unable to care for herself and her baby

These mothers may go into denial, acting as though they aren’t pregnant. Some may attempt to hide the pregnancy. In modern times, there is a stigma if the woman chooses a legal abortion. The woman may become emotionally unavailable or wallow in self-pity or blame.  There is the worry about her ability to cope all alone and doubt about her ability to be a mother.

If the mother-to-be has decided not to keep her baby (or after she has relinquished her child), seeing happy couples caring for their baby together will be especially painful.

If this mother is unable to find support, she will realize that she can’t depend on others to help her. If it is a difficult pregnancy, it will compound the challenges.