Forever Family: triad perspectives

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.

6 thoughts on “Forever Family: triad perspectives

  1. Every child deserves to be loved and cared for. You can’t say what might have been, but you can point to the parents you have been. I don’t think there are one-size-fits-all answers to questions that are this complicated. It sounds like you’re doing your best, and it certainly sounds like your kids are loved.

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    • Thanks, Dan. I’m okay with how we’re doing, but I appreciate your kind words. Recently I’ve joined a Facebook group that supports all views from the triad — I think it was just hard to hear that even after loving these kids with our whole hearts they might end up resenting our role in their lives. Nothing I can do about, though, it was just something on my mind.

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  2. Adoptive parents who care are virtuous by nature. They exhibit a genuine sense of compassion and a natural love of others. The adoptive parent who understands and validates the profound has the skill to encourage love to grow. They grasp the numbing sense of grief and mourning for the birth mother and father not there, and with heartfelt emotions they comprehend the deep sense of loss the adopted child endures. They allow the tears to fall, and sooth the primal wound as best they can. They are virtuous because they seek only goodness and what is best for their adopted child. Judith

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    • Thank you for your profoundly insightful comment, Judith. Like most mothers, I grieve watching my kids suffer when there’s nothing I can really do to help. My brain understands his primal wound will always be abandonment, but my heart aches for that. I appreciate your taking the time to add your thoughts.

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  3. Gosh, Laura, I had no idea there was an anti-adoption movement. I told my family just now and they all screwed up their faces and said, “What?” Clearly I am in the naive group thinking it’s a magnificent thing, because more love is always better. I kinda feel sad now. 😦
    I do not know any unhappy adoptees. I know some who sought out their biologicals, with mixed results sorta all over the place, but none of them consider them parents.
    I do know two birthmothers who fall into the group of being too young to make their own decisions and are wrenched with regret. It’s a sort of grief, I’m not sure one recovers from. Personally, I think it’s the best gift one could ever give another. All that love. Oh man, I’m weepy now. This is complicated stuff.
    Let’s focus on this part of your words, “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.” — THAT IS THE TRUTH. ❤

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    • I’d always fallen into the “the more love the better” camp myself…it only took a few visits to one particular Facebook group to learn saying adoption is a wonderful thing is the quickest way to get your ass handed to you.
      The group’s a mix of people from all perspectives, but it seems to be a safe place to talk about adoption *not* always being fantastic. I guess they get jumped on in other forums for suggesting anything other than their adoptive parents are saints who loved them beyond reason. I get it — kind of — but that doesn’t make it any easier to read.

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