I had a brief conversation this morning about adoption, the fantasy, the reality and somewhere in between with someone who is very interested in adoption. Because I am an adoptee, birth mother and adoptive mother, this conversation lingered in my thoughts well after I hung up the phone. This person had always thought of adoption in pretty simplistic terms. He believed everyone was happy, the child, the adoptive parents and the birth mother. He believed that until recently reading a blog written by a birth mother, who had felt powerless and hopeless, so with no other option, placed her baby for adoption. This was my experience too, powerless, hopeless. Unlike my experience, nearly forty years ago, this young woman’s story is current, and she was not a teen mother. But what is similar is the vulnerability of a birth mother, particularly when professionals are steering young women toward adoption.
As an adoptive mother, I presume my children’s birth mothers probably made their decisions, in part, based on pressure from society or family or circumstance. I don’t know for sure. I do know that I am a good mother, but I also know that I am not a better mother then they. It is necessary, urgent that all birth mothers be given the opportunity to keep their children, supported by the agencies and professionals who once deemed adoption the best option for their babies. It is only when we, birth mothers, have a choice, a voice without guilt or shame or lack of support, will we be able to make a decision, a parenting decision.
Adoption is not a beautiful state for everyone involved, a perfect solution. For a birth mother, the loss continues, throughout the child’s life. They will never get back the time, the moments that matter. For an adoptee, pain will manifest in other ways. For the adoptive parent, they will come to know that their love can’t fix that pain. Yes, adoption is messy, it is not just about love. It is time we, those affected by adoption, begin speaking to one another, recognize each side of the triad and have compassion for all involved. There are no bad guys or martyrs on the adoption triad, we are just people trying to live good lives. It is the system that lied to us, told us we would be better off, or happier or that love would conquer all. Those of us in the adoption community must begin to tell our truth about adoption, the fantasy, the reality and somewhere in between.