Since I started my blog, I have learned what a hot topic adoption is. I am not sure why so much anger is directed at adoptees who speak out about their experiences if their narrative does not end in rainbows and skittles. Adoption is complicated. These times have been eye-opening, and it seems if there is so much emotion regarding adoption, then there must be something to it. Instead of trying to silence adoptee voices, I would think that adoptive parents and the adoption industry would lean in and listen to our experiences. Adoption is not cut and dry, nor is it the answer to infertility or abortion. Adoption is not about the adoptive parent. I have said this many times, but an adoptee's life did not start when the adoptive parents stepped in. A child was incubated for months in a stressful environment as the birth mother may have struggled with her emotions. That child will feel the effect of that once they are born. To be naive to that fact would go against what doctors tell pregnant women; what they do, eat, and feel impacts the child.
As a birth mother, I spoke to the child growing inside of me every day. I apologized to him for the stress he had to endure and would stroke my stomach as if I was rubbing his back and putting him to sleep in a bassinet.
There is not sufficient support for birth mothers. There definitely was not enough support for me when I was pregnant. I remember everyone telling me how brave I was for choosing adoption and making the alternative seem like an impossible path. Regardless, the choice was mine. Because I had assimilated into my two-parent household with three siblings, I wanted the same for him. I was 16. I would have chosen differently if I had known that relinquishing my son would weigh so heavily on me. I relinquished him physically, but emotionally and mentally, he was still a part of my everyday life and thoughts.
Non-identifying information I received early in my search for my birth mother indicated I was discharged from the hospital and placed into foster care with a Caucasian family, "one of the better foster homes. "The qualifier "better" makes me wonder what other foster homes were described as and implies that all foster homes were not created equal. I was not placed with my adoptive family until I was 18 months, so critical stages of my development were witnessed by people I did not know but were instrumental in my life. I walked alone at 11 months and have no idea who I walked to. There are no newborn baby pictures of me. Another line of the report stated, "you were said to be exceptionally bright, being very aware of things going on around you." I imagine I observed my Caucasian family for 18 months and developed some type of attachment. When it was time for me to leave, did I scream, fight, or cry? I wish my departure from my second family would have been documented like the other milestones. I was taken away from the family that had taught me "mama" and "dada" and placed in the home of strangers with people who looked nothing like my foster family, and by legal accounts, my life started over. I hid behind curtains when my adoptive family took me home, and I had to be coaxed out by my new brother. My adoptive mother reflects on the story fondly, whereas I believe my actions were a reaction to the trauma of separation.
To a non-adoptee, the first year and a half of my life may seem irrelevant; after all, I was just a baby. I ask those who hold that opinion to recall their own childhood. I am sure you remember stories told by your parents, siblings, and maybe even grandparents. Someone has a scrapbook or an old shoebox with your baby pictures or other keepsakes. Think of the simple things you can take for granted that adoptees cannot. Do we not deserve our original birth certificate? Or the knoweldge of family health information?
Adoptee experiences are valuable. Speaking out should not prompt responses from non-adoptees that we should just be grateful for being adopted instead of aborted. I am relatively new to the adoptee community and have learned so much from other adoptees, birth mothers, and adoptive parents. I am open to all adoptee voices, and each adoptee's story has value. At 52, I finally do not feel alone as I share my story. I hope that my voice reaches someone who doubted theirs.
These are the takeaways from my adoption journey:
I am not against adoption.
I am against secrecy.
I am against adoptees paying to get non-identifying information or an original birth certificate.
I am against the savior complex of some adoptive parents.
I am against adoptive parents who do not realize they are not adopting a moment in time but a child with a history regardless of their age.
I am against adoptive families who adopt without educating themselves on adoption.
Education should not cease once legal matters are concluded.
I am against a system that monetizes adoption.
I am against invalidating the experiences of adoptees.
I am against using adoption as the answer to abortion.
I am against the idea that only positive adoptive narratives deserve to be told.
How can the adoption system be improved if it is not looked at from different perspectives?
I am against birth mothers, especially teenagers, not getting the support and resources needed to make a lifelong decision.