Today I will be speaking about something that is close to my heart. It might have a touch of rant in it so please bear with me. I’m struggling with the misconceptions people still have about adoption. Misconceptions that still turn up in books for teens. Misconceptions that could hurt them.
As most of you know both my children are adopted and we're currently looking for more children, so I do have very strong feelings about this.
First and foremost, you do NOT ‘give up’ a child for adoption. Maybe back in the days when people would hide their pregnancy and never ever see their child again, even then I’m not so sure. But not now. Not even close. You place a child with adoptive parents. You NEVER give that child away. Not only are those words damaging to the child, giving them away is impossible. Even if a biological parent doesn’t choose to stay in contact with an adopted child that child is a part of them, and they are part of the child. There is no way around that. You can no more give those pieces away than you can cut them out.
Second, placing the child with adoptive parents IS NOT SELFISH! I can’t believe that people still believe that! There may be people who do it for selfish reasons but most of the biological mothers I know that have made the choice to place their child for adoption made it because it was best for the child, not best for them. Honestly, it is the hardest thing anyone can do. Ever. Imagine carrying around a Christmas present for nine months. Holding it in your hands, all day, every day, arranging your life around it, feeling the smooth paper, hearing it crinkle, wondering what could be inside. Then, on Christmas morning, without opening it, you give it to someone else and say “here, this is for you.” But really, that doesn’t even cover the pain and sorrow that is involved because a child is part of you. Maybe I should have likened it to cutting off a hand and giving it away, but that is a little gruesome. I can’t even describe the anger I feel when I see a mother who chose to place her child for adoption called selfish. And when I see it in a book, where it may influence teenagers I want to cry. Someone may see it, someone who may choose to keep the child because it’s the ‘noble’ or ‘selfless’ thing to do. And if she’s not ready, if that’s not the best decision, then they both suffer for it.
Mother’s that place their children for adoption are the bravest strongest people I know. Calling girls that place their children for adoption selfish is not only wrong, it is damaging both to them and the child. It’s an insult because they are being more selfless than most people will ever be. And putting those things in books only propagates the hate and misunderstandings.
Another misconception is that only young or teenage girls place their child for adoption. It’s not true. Older women, who feel they cannot provide the life they want for a child also make this decision. The biological mother of both my children is my age. Which means she was in her mid-thirties when they were born.
More and more single/young parents are choosing to keep their child and this is wonderful. If a mother feels that is best for the child and best for her then I honor her decision and think she’s amazing for facing this challenge. If she chooses to place a child for adoption then she is the best and bravest person I know, and she’s made some adoptive parents so incredibly, indescribably happy. Whatever she chooses, as long as she’s chosen thoughtfully, is the right decision, and I support her. Honestly, both choices are dang hard and she (and the father if he’s involved) are amazing for doing their best.
If you are facing this decision, good luck to you. Its okay, take your time and make sure you make the best decision for you and your family. Talk to people you trust who accept you. Your family is a good place to start. If you can’t go there, go to friends. If you don’t have any friends there are agencies and organizations that will help you. If you can’t find one, or don’t feel comfortable there, email me. Because someone cares about you. Even if it’s only me.