When you talk to anyone affected by adoption, they all have varying and unique stories about how adoption came onto their radar. Everyone’s story is as unique as the person telling it, and that’s one of the beautiful things about adoption. For as many stories about adoption, there’s also stories about people who choose not to adopt or stories about people who are touched by adoption that don’t love it or are kind of uncomfortable with it. And that’s okay. Adoption isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.
Like politics and religion, there are some topics that will always divide people. While I don’t give adoption the same weight as both of those topics, it’s something some people can’t wrap their brains around. I’ll discuss how adoption might not be for everyone from perspectives of different members of the adoption triad and their families.
Couples who have experienced infertility, women facing unplanned pregnancies, and the loved ones of these two groups have a very real roller coaster of emotions they face, especially when they feel they are at their lowest point. What is important to remember, is each of these individual people need to come to a decision on his or her own – without anyone forcing one way or another.
For couples that cannot, for some reason, have biological children, the “easy” answer is–just adopt! Well, that might be easy for an outsider to say, but the idea of raising “someone else’s child” is too much for some people. When the decision of whether or not you want to become a parent is not entirely in your control, you have to very clearly decide if adoption is right for you. As a mom to a child who was adopted as well as a biological child, I can tell you that parenting these two kids is, in some ways, completely the same, but in others, totally different. Although it’s always an open conversation in our household, my kids are both very young–too young to grasp the concept of adoption–but I know as my son grows up I will tell him his birth story and honor him, his heritage, and his birth parents. With my daughter, I will have to honor her birth story in a different way. For my family, this works, but for some couples, the idea of having to tell their child they didn’t grow in their body is too much, and that’s okay. Some couples find they cannot get past the weight of their grief when it comes to infertility, and they know adoption won’t (and can’t) cure that grief. There’s also the financial aspect of adoption, which might be too hard for certain people to afford. Whatever the reason adoption wasn’t for them, it’s okay because it’s their life and their story to tell. Not ours.
For the women who find themselves in an unplanned crisis pregnancy, the “easy” answer is “just place your child for adoption!” Again, that might be easy for an outsider, but you don’t know what is in the heart of these women. We can say all we want about how much easier for the teenage girl who had to drop out of school to raise her child if she had only placed. We can say it would be easier for the addict to place her child. We can say it would be easier for the woman who already has more children than she can afford to take care of that she should’ve placed. Or the woman in prison. Or the woman who was raped. Or…the list goes on. But you know what? We don’t get to judge their stories or tell them what would be an “easier” life for them. This child might be their life, and being a mother might be their identity. Whatever the reason adoption wasn’t for them, it’s okay, and we shouldn’t judge.
For the family members of anyone part of the adoption triad who think adoption shouldn’t have been the path taken, it’s absolutely okay you think this way. But I will caution you to not push your thoughts on people involved in the adoption triad because adoption was for them. This is a situation where agreeing to disagree might be your best bet because, again, your story is not their story, and it’s okay.
Adoption isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is judgment and shame if someone takes a different road than you. Tell your own story and be proud of it. That’s certainly okay.
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