Just like anything else in life, adoption has both good points and bad. There are those who love adoption, and are passionate in advocating for it. There are also those who have a strong dislike for adoption, and are equally passionate about keeping birth mother and child together. There are many misconceptions about adoption, in particular, birth mothers. I have always tried to respect both sides of it, as well as remain passionate about adoption when the birth mother and the adoptive parents are truly open and honest, and work together for the benefit of the child. My situation with my birth son’s parents is just that. We are open, honest, and love each other. Our main focus is loving the socks off Benjamin, and making absolutely sure he has the best life possible, while maintaining a relationship with me. It works, and it has gone wonderfully for the most part, though every relationship has it’s ups and downs.
However, one thing I was incredibly sad to witness with my last article was the hateful side of it. The side of it that encourages those who have experienced pain or anger in adoption to lash out at those whom they deem deserving of their rage. I am always deeply saddened when this happens, both for the recipient of the comments, and for the pain the person giving them must feel. I would like to address a couple of comments made recently. It is important to tackle these misconceptions and educate regarding the perspective of the birth mother.
Here are a couple of statements made that I will address:
“Birth mother’s are too wrapped up in their own selfishness.” Sadly, this is a common belief among those who don’t understand the birth mother’s side of things, or who have experienced pain stemming from adoption. I cannot begin to express how untrue this is for the majority. There are going to be birth mother’s whose intentions aren’t necessarily for the benefit of the child, however, they are the exception and not the rule. When I made the heart wrenching decision to place my baby for adoption, selfishness was the LAST motivation I was experiencing. I agonized, prayed, cried and pleaded with God for another option at times. I loved him more than I can possibly express, and I still do. If I were “blinded by selfishness”, my sweet boy would still be with me as I struggled to make ends meet, to feed and clothe him the way he needs. Do I feel happy and grateful that he is provided for? Absolutely. Do I have some selfish desire to escape being a parent, or get rid of him? Not for one single minute.
“I don’t understand how people can give their baby up so easily”. Oh, how this statement has irked me. To assume to know what another person goes through in the decisions they made is incredibly arrogant. I can think of many words in relation to my choice to PLACE Benjamin. Difficult, heart breaking, life changing, wounding. Easy is nowhere in that equation; it was truly the hardest decision I ever made. Easy would have been to forget adoption and continue to struggle just so that I could have my baby with me. Easy would have been to choose abortion when my child’s father chose not to be involved, rather than carrying him and giving birth to him, only to have to make the decision that I was not best for him.
I know it can be difficult to see the other side of the equation. Please, never assume to know what another person feels, even if you are involved in adoption. Adoptive parents will never truly understand the loss that comes with placing a child, though they often know loss of their own if they are unable to conceive, or unable to carry a baby to term. Birth parents will never fully understand the heartache of those adoptive parents who are unable to have a biological child. Birth parents who aren’t adoptees will also never understand what their birth children, or other adoptees, go through because of their place or part in the adoption triad. Just as adoptees who are not birth parents will never understand the heartache and sacrifice that comes with placing a child. Those who are outside of the adoption triad will not be able to understand any of these things, and I hope will realize that being respectful of those in adoption is the right thing.
Ignorance or a lack of understanding is never a reason to throw out hurtful comments. Whether you think it or not, this is our life, our heart, our passion and our story. To discount that, or to tear it down with hateful or ignorant comments is cruel and unnecessary. The people you are tearing down are human beings with feelings that are affected by the words you say. We may choose to rise above the comments, to meet them with education or ignore them altogether. When we pour out our hearts to show the world the face of birth mothers in adoption, and we are met with venom, anger and truly nasty comments clearly intended to inflict pain… it can become difficult to keep sight of why we started advocating in the first place. Overcoming misconceptions is difficult work. We read these comments over and over, trying to understand why we have become the enemy. We cry as we are slapped in the face with the reality that some people hate us for the decision we have made for the benefit of our children.
Please, be kind in your words, even if you don’t agree. Because we are all human, and we all deserve love and respect.