1. Yes, she was a teenager, but she wasn’t a “teen mom.”
I know that we have all felt that jealousy and anger in the throes of infertility—that “I can’t have one baby, but that teenager gets pregnant at the drop of a hat” sentiment. It’s the same feeling as “they can barely afford the ones they have, and she gets pregnant again!” and it is dehumanizing and completely wrong.
I get it. Infertility is so hard. But we are talking about human beings. Women who, despite their age or income, are living, breathing, loving people who are faced with one of the scariest situations imaginable. My daughter’s birth mom was young when she delivered, and you know what? She DID IT. She pushed through the pain, she focused, and she made decisions most grown-ups would shirk at. So, yeah, she’s not a “teen mom.” She’s not a statistic. She’s not somebody you should be angry with or jealous of.
2. My daughter isn’t “so lucky to be with us.”
We were over the moon when we found out we had been chosen by an expectant mother to parent her child. So much of our lives had been consumed with the praying and waiting that comes from adoption—we were ecstatic! But as Jody Landers said “A child born to another woman calls me ‘Mommy.’ The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”
Adoption is, at its core, trauma. No child is lucky to be moved from one mother to another—regardless of income or class structure or privilege. If you have had the exceptional experience of hearing the anguished cry of a mother without an infant in her arms, you know that the adoptive family is not lucky, and neither is that child.
In that moment we would have done anything we could have to make her mother feel whole and hopeful again. And if you have had the experience of rocking your baby while she sobs because she just doesn’t get what she must have done to have been placed in your arms all those years ago—was she not right? Was she being punished? Why does she have to be adopted? You know that your baby girl, for all that you love her, for all that she makes YOUR family whole, is not lucky. We have a beautiful, open relationship with her birthmother, and for that we feel lucky.
3. She is family and we will defend her and fight for her until we have nothing left to give.
This woman, this amazing woman, who not only trusted us with her child, but trusted us with her heart and friendship? She is sacred to us. She is our family, in our inner circle. We will not allow wisecracks. We will not allow speculation or unkindness. We would sooner lose a friend or a connection than break the trust she has placed in us. You may not agree with our choices in parenting, with our choices in openness, with the research, or with how we handle it all, but the bottom line is she made our daughter. We would move heaven and earth to help her, love her, protect her, and defend her. Her DNA is a part of our lives every single day. She is ours and we are hers. And if that weirds some people out, then they are welcome to find another “adoption family” to get to know.