I think a lot about adoption and I’m very pro-adoption. In the similar manner that I’m pro-adoption, I’m also pro-life. However, I saw a sign the other day that said, “Adoption is the loving choice to abortion” and I gotta admit, it really made me think. Not because I don’t think adoption is loving. But because I think this is one of those signs that make us feel good to proclaim, but we really don’t know what we’re saying.
Let me explain what I mean. Adoption can be a loving option if you’re pregnant and know you’re unable to parent. These adoptions are typically done privately and without any state involvement. There’s a plan in place, parents are chosen, and you begin to walk the journey together.
However, on the flip side, we tend to praise the birth moms represented in our house for choosing life, but they did more than that. They also wanted, and chose, to parent. Now granted, their parenting was sometimes dysfunctional and often dangerous, but they never went through 9 months of pregnancy with the intention of having their child call another woman mom. No matter how they showed it…..they wanted their children.
I think we have this fairytale idea of adoption that is just not there.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Adoption is necessary and can be amazing. But it will never be perfect. We are very open in our house about adoption and that means we are very open about the loss. The other day one of my kids made the comment about how it will be sad when Henry realizes he’s adopted. One of the older kids piped up and asked why and she simply said…..because he will miss his mom.
That is the reality of national adoption month.
The birth moms represented in our home chose life the same way my mom chose life. The same way I chose life with Trey and Addison. These moms were excited to be pregnant. They were excited to have a child. They didn’t choose adoption. There was nothing loving in their mind about their child being adopted.
Adoption is hard. Messy. Scary. Sad. Happy. Beautiful. Loving. All rolled into one. And typically adoption, much like abortion, is rooted in pain and hurt.
I’m pro-adoption. I’m pro-life. Let’s spend November celebrating these kids and raising the need for awareness. Especially for sibling groups and older teens. We should not live in a country where a child ever ages out of foster care. Period. We should not live in a country where sibling groups are split up and separated when they are adopted. Period. We should not live in a country where women can’t afford to feed their children so they have them removed. Period.
Let’s celebrate moms who chose to carry their baby for 9 months only to hand them off to another woman. I cannot imagine how that would feel. But, let’s also have some sympathy for the moms who chose life and desperately wanted to parent. A mom recently told me that when she was in the throes of addiction she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to parent her children. She told me she felt like they were kidnapped.
That probably didn’t feel too loving.
I’m convinced that if we work together to change the stigma and narrative of adoption, we can change the direction for adoptees. They can be open about their loss. Open about their pain. They can sit at the dinner table and talk about feeling sad. They can tell me they miss their mom but don’t really know why. They can be open about making sure we are never going to leave them. They can be angry and jealous without fear of judgement.
Adoption is amazing and can be a very loving choice. Children waiting for homes should know they are seen and heard. However, they should also know we see all of them. We see the pain, the hurt, and the ugly it brings. We should be willing to have the hard discussions and engage in hard talks about policy change.
Honestly, I’m thankful my girls didn’t read that sign when we drove past it. Not because I completely disagree. But because I don’t want them to ever feel like a project or simply a slogan on a sign. They are worth so much more.