With all the people I know who have been touched by adoption, I am shocked by what people who don’t understand have to say. Maybe it is lack of education on adoption, curiosity or just stupidity. I honestly don’t know. Comments that are said, questions that are asked can hurt and open wounds that may have started healing.
I think of the emotional process that people on all sides of the triad (triad: birthmother, adoptive mother and adoptee) go through when it comes to adoption. It is not as simple as give and take. The birthmother doesn’t “give away” or “give up” a baby. For the generation of birthmothers in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and some 70’s they were not given the choice to choose adoption or raise their child. They were whisked away to a home for unwed mothers where they felt shame and embarrassment. Did they do something wrong? No, other girls were having sex but these gals got caught with a pregnancy. They were made to feel like they did something so horrible. These women were told they did not have a choice and this was the only way. They were told not to think about the baby, it will all be fine and to go on with your life. This door will shut forever.
Then there are the generations of women that did have a choice. They made the decision to place their child for adoption to better the child’s life. These women were unable to give their child a good home, life or support – could be due to young age, no income, no support or a trauma of some kind. No matter what the circumstance…the decision to place their child was done out of bettering that child’s life. Did the birth mom not love the child – no, they did. Did they make a decision without thought or pain – no. Do they place their child and forget – definitely no.
As for the child, they grow up knowing or not knowing they were adopted – depending on the times. They grow up in a loving home with parents – the only mom and dad they know. Sure there are circumstances that aren’t that “perfect” – but there is that in any type family. Adoptees grow up loving their family and respecting their family – like any other child does. The only difference is another woman carried them in their belly.
When an adoptee talks about adoption as a young child….they can get comments that are out of curiosity but they also are subjected to comments like this:
“Why did your mom hate you so much?”
“Why were you given away”?
“Do you know your REAL family?”
- The birth mother never hated, decision was out of love.
- You were never “given” away. It is not an old sweater you are taking to Goodwill, its a child that an adoption plan was made for.
- Your real family is the family who cared for you, loved you, supported you. Your family can be friends, siblings and relatives. Family is not race specific…is not blood specific.
As adoptees grow up and go thru life, a part of them often wonder about where they originate from – maybe who they look like, where the bump in their nose comes from, what medical history do they not know about etc. It is natural to wonder. Wondering does not equal unhappiness or a question of loving their family. I am not an adoptee, but a birth mother and adoptive mother. I think it is normal to wonder about these things. I wonder about my relatives who have passed away. Adoptees want that missing piece of the puzzle. It isn’t disrespect for their adoptive family. It’s natural and normal. Some comments that adoptees searching hear are:
“Aren’t you content with your life?”
“Didn’t you have a good life?”
“Why are you disrespecting your parents (adoptive)?
“Why make trouble and stir up the past?”
- Yes, you can have a content life and STILL want to know where you originate from.
- You could have the best life ever with the best family ever….still, you want to know who you look like and where you come from.
- I believe that adoptees deserve to know where they come from. It has nothing to really do with adoptive parents – it’s their right to know.
- Finding out your past, heritage, medical history and have questions answered is not “stirring up the past” its wanting to find that missing puzzle piece.
I have also heard stories of adoptees that had distant relatives question wills and estates because the adoptee “Isn’t family by blood” – are you kidding me!?! A daughter is a daughter. A son is a son. A parent is a parent. Does not matter how it happened.
I look at my daughters who are adopted…they are every bit my children…my daughters…my family. Period. I can say the same for my birth son and his family.
My hope is that people educate one another – get rid of the myths, the stereotypes and the ignorance. A family is a family. As time goes on and people get more educated, my hope is that people will see what adoption really is about and the layers that come with it.