I’m open when it comes to perspectives on adoption. About a million years ago (or so it feels) I came into this learning about what they call the adoption triad – adoptee, birthparent, and adoptive parent – but that’s merely an attempt to create terminology for an extremely complex situation. Often the lines are far too blurred for such simplistic language.
Now, I have to admit my own worldview was overly simplified for years. We wanted children to be part of our family, for their own reasons the birthparents wanted another family to raise their children, and these two longings merged to create our life.
I wasn’t delusional, I knew not every adoption triad was this straightforward since the possibility for complications is endless. Open or closed, unrelated or familial, age of adoption, domestic or international…and those are only the ones that come to mind. But it wasn’t until the last few years that I started hearing more about the anti-adoption movement.
And that, I must admit, came as a bit of a surprise.
Not so much that people don’t believe in adoption. I knew some people believe children should be raised in their first family, regardless of the situation. Or if it’s absolutely necessary then another family member should step in to assist or even raise the child until the birthmom can parent. And of course there would be cases where birthparents changed their minds after they relinquished their child for adoption.
But the past year in particular has led me to some groups that speak – often with brutal honesty – about the deceit and betrayal birthmothers feel post-adoption. They feel lied to…about their inability to parent as well as another family, the long term effects adoption will have on their child, or the lack of recourse when an open adoption agreement isn’t sustained by the adoptive parents. They feel robbed, dishonored, or shamed. They feel burned.
I’ve also heard from adoptees who felt their real life had been stolen from them. Adults who had loving and supportive adoptive parents but still knew they belonged with their first family; people who endured physical and psychological fallout from a single momentous decision made for them. Then there are adoptees who endured what can only be called torturous upbringings in foster care or with adoptive families. Child abuse, neglect…a horror of a life they inherited through adoption.
Parenting, regardless of how it comes about, is no guarantee. Biological kids, adopted kids, and every other kind of kid in between – how people turn out is a complex mix of genetics, experiences, and how we handle what life throws our way. There’s no telling if a biological kid will grow up to resent his parents, just like we don’t know if our adopted kids will end up thinking they missed the life they deserved.
I guess all we can do is continue loving and living the best we can.