If you haven’t read this letter to an advice columnist yet, it is a must read. I am still in shock that anyone would think this was okay. At first, I thought it was going to be the typical story about a married couple staying together “for the sake of the kids”, but this couple doesn’t even have kids yet. Then there are stories about couples who get pregnant “to save their marriage,” but again this story is even far from that, though neither of those scenarios are ideal situations for children to be forced into either.
This person writes into Dear Amy about a close friend who “is in a very unhappy marriage with a man she says is emotionally and verbally abusive.” He has always wanted children, so “they have discussed her leaving the marriage to start a new life right after the adoption is final, leaving him with the child he has always wanted.”
In my opinion, this couple is only acting out of selfishness and adoption should always be about what is best for the child. Clearly, she has not thought about the impact her spouse’s abuse will have on the child. Even if he treats the child well right now, it’s difficult to predict what his actions will be over time, especially with the pressures of single parenting, parenting a child from a hard place, and no longer having his wife there to vent his frustrations on.
I can’t imagine why either adult would want that child to have to go through a divorce. I know there are lots of single parents who foster and adopt and they have very loving homes. This situation is vastly different, though, because the child thinks they are coming into this happy two-parent family when in fact they are very unhappy and one of the parents is planning to abandon her. She does not need to lose another mother after just losing her birth mother. This is the last thing this little girl needs to deal with after all the other trauma she has been through.
The couple is not considering the child’s feelings or even thinking of her as a human being. She refers to the child as “a gift she can give him before she leaves.” Children are not property or gifts.
I agree with Amy’s advice of calling Child Protective Services. Perhaps even just telling her friend that she is going to report it will be enough to make the couple realize this is a bad idea. Someone needs to speak up for the child and protect her. I believe contacting the agency and birth mother are also appropriate. If this was happening to me without my knowledge, I would want someone to come forward and let me know.
If their marriage can’t be resolved, hopefully this couple just goes their separate ways. If he wants to try and adopt this little girl, he should wait until he’s divorced and then file for adoption on his own as Amy suggests. They should do proper background checks and references to see if he is fit to be a parent. If he turns out to not be a good match for this child right now, that does not necessarily mean he will never be a father.
We should always try to look at things from the child’s perspective and what their needs are. I understand the desire to have children and waiting for them can be unbearable. I believe it is best to work on yourself and your relationships so that when your children come you can be the best version of yourself for that child. Don’t expect your children to save you, be a “gift” to your spouse, or make everything better. The only expectation you should have of your child is for them to be loved. A child’s only job should be to just be a kid.