My heart aches for a friend today. She is having to make a very tough decision, which I’m glad I never had to make. I’ll get back to that in a bit…
Last week I was at the bank, opening a new account. I have recently started down the path of being a writer and I needed to have a new bank account in order to keep my writing business separate from my other banking needs. When the banker started to ask questions about my book, which is about adoption, he said that he and his wife were considering adoption. When I probed a little further, he told me his wife hated being pregnant so much that she wanted to skip all that difficult stuff and go right to the new baby part- i.e., adoption is easier than being pregnant.
So I took it upon myself to share experiences from both of my adoptions. I told him that we were never sure whether or not the adoption was going to go through until many months after the children were in our home. I told him that the birth father from our first adoption showed no interest until right before we were supposed to finalize, and then he caused problems. I told him about the guilt that adoptive parents feel, especially with open adoptions, because they are on the joyous receiving end when the birth parents are hurting so much from their loss.
“I’m not trying to talk you out of adopting,” I told my banker, “I’m just telling you that you and your wife should read as much as you can about modern adoption before you make that decision.”
I could see it in his face. I could see his eyes steadily growing wider as I told him about how adoption isn’t just a matter of filing paperwork and sitting by your front window to watch for someone pull into your driveway with a new baby for you. I could see him wondering if he wanted to have a second child at all.
Back to my friend that I mentioned before… I ache for her. Before her child was born, they emphasized to the birth mother that it was her decision and nobody else could make the decision for her (and the birth father). She made her decision and she placed the child with my friend’s family. She relinquished her rights and everything went through all the right channels. The problem is that now, six months after the child was placed into their home, and days before everything is to be finalized by a judge, the birth mother has decided to change her mind. Legally the birth mother has no say, but she has a lot of emotional pull. In order for the child to go back to the birth mother, the adoptive couple has to relinquish their own rights, since they are the ones with custody. What a horrible situation to be in. My daughter is the exact same age as my friend’s little boy, so I can’t help but think how I would feel if I were in her shoes.
My purpose for writing this post isn’t to tell you what she should do- I’m not even going to tell you what they have decided (although I feel she made the right decision). I’m not interested in sparking some controversy. I just want people to understand that adoption isn’t as easy as filing some paperwork, writing out a check for the process, and smiling all the way to the courthouse to finalize. It’s not easy, and some situations are harder than others. On the other hand, I’ve never done anything more worthwhile in my life!