“Will my child hate me for choosing adoption?” Probably not. If they’re anything like me, they’ll recognize (with time and maturity) what adoption truly means. It means sacrificial love, and that sacrificial love runs through my veins. It is in my DNA, and it is an honor to me.
I can’t speak on behalf of all adoptees. I can only speak from my personal experience. Yes, I have seen adoptees who are angry at their birth parents for the choice they made. There’s a giant question mark over part of their identity that they have no control over. Going to school probably doesn’t help, because they have to sit out of assignments or explain to the class what adoption is. It sets all of us apart right from the get-go.
Growing up, my parents helped me navigate these feelings. They gave me the freedom to feel how I felt, but reminded me of important details along the way. While they didn’t know my biological family’s whole story, they did know a little. They knew my birth mom was young, single, and struggling to care for a four-year-old. Imagine the struggle that would have ensued with a newborn added on top of that! Imagine, being a mom of a four-year-old and knowing the joy that raising a child brings. And despite that, imagine a love so deep that she laid that maternal instinct aside to give me a life beyond what she could offer me at the time.
What I see most from these adoptees is a lack of a rounded view. They typically can’t see it from the birth parents’ perspective. They feel a sense of abandonment. I contemplated the feeling of abandonment for a time, but it was brief. I can’t remember a day that I felt hateful about my biological family. If anything, I felt heartbroken for their loss, and for mine.
I had a very happy childhood, with parents who loved me to the ends of the earth. No matter how many grape jelly jars I shattered on our kitchen floor, or how many times I sent my older brother screaming to his room, or what kind of stupid choices I made in high school, or how many arguments I had with Mom, or how many classes I had to retake in college, I have had a solid family that loves me. They were the building blocks of who I am. We are far from perfect, believe me, but one thing that all four of us really nailed was love.
My concept of love, and how far-reaching, contagious, and effective it is was built from my parents’ love for us, so the concept of love in terms of my adoption was not that hard for me to grasp. Yes, I had questions, I got angry, I was confused, and I felt that I was missing a piece of me. But it is the foundation of love that was instilled in me that kept me away from hate, and kept me more empathetically minded. I had almost two decades of practice wrapping my mind around the sacrifice my birth parents made to give me a better life.
My parents explained my birth parents’ decision in their own words. There wasn’t anything that our parents wouldn’t do for my brother and I. Nothing. So why wouldn’t that be the case for our biological families?
It is important for you to take a close look at the families you are considering placing your child with. How will your child’s adoptive parents explain the reasons for their child’s adoption? Will the adoptive parents know you and your story? Do you want a relationship with the adoptive parents before placing your child in their arms? What legacy do you want to leave your child’s parents to pass along to your birth son or daughter?
All of these questions are very important ones for you, the birth parent, to consider. The relationship you have with your child’s adoptive parents, or what the adoptive parents know about you, will probably correlate with how they teach their child about adoption.
Do I think that adoptees struggle to wrap their minds around their adoption? Absolutely.
Do I think that adoptees can feel anger toward their biological families for placing them for adoption? Yes. But anger is not the only emotion we feel. Confusion was a big one for me. I was confused as to why my birth mom had an older child she was raising, placed me for adoption, and then had another child later on that she raised. Why was I the awkward middle child that was given away? Why couldn’t anyone at school relate to my family and me?
So will your child hate you for placing them for adoption? Again I say, most likely not. Will your child be confused? Probably. Will the adoptive parents make the difference? Absolutely.