Re-thinking

I am pretty sure I would come up against some radical opposition for what I’m about to suggest needs to happen to foster care and adoption, but, that’s okay.

I think that people looking to adopt should adopt a mother and child and/or a whole family, if necessary – for the child’s true well-being – and not just take a living person’s child to raise as their own.  I dream of a day when people will look back on our history of a society that did such a thing as procure a child for a childless couple – for a price – and the generations of the future will call it what it is: among the darkest of the deeds of the dim ages.

And when it comes to child welfare, how is it good to take an already horrible situation for the child and rip the child away from his or her mother and/or father?  How is that a good thing?  How is it good for kids to be passed from place-to-place, confused about what’s going on, dealing with the loss of a mommy and daddy on top of everything else they’ve already been through?  The change that needs to take place is instead of a child getting placed with a family, foster families should be extensively trained and proven capable of taking on such wounded people in the first place, and they ought to take in the family unit as a whole.  Parents who put their kids at risk should be sent to parenting boot camp, with their every move scrutinized for long periods of time by these well-trained foster families until they’ve proven capable of parenting on their own – much the way rehab for addicts is set up!  The process of teaching people to parent should be given daily attention, a full day’s worth, while the child is kept out of harm’s way – just like in rehab!  If the parents prove they cannot or will not change for the betterment of the child, then, okay, start the process of making new arrangements for the placement of the child elsewhere.  At least in this more humane way of dealing with child endangerment, a whole battery of new wounds will not have been inflicted in the process of finding that out.  Not that there won’t be wounds…they just will not have been compounded by an unjust system.

On the adoption front, pregnant women should be empowered to parent their children if there is any glimmer of a question that she might perhaps actually find that, deep down, she wants to be a mother to her child but doesn’t believe she can, for whatever reason or reasons.  No one should take a woman’s word for it when she says she wants to relinquish!  That could be just the fear talking, and she should be given every opportunity to see for herself if it’s just the fear talking.  She should be asked what it would take for her not to relinquish and challenged to really think about it.  The heart of her fears should be addressed.  Single parenthood, while not the ideal, is not the end of the world for a child.  The depth of the loss, though, can certainly feel like the world should end, for birthmothers, and sometimes even birthfathers, and, while it’s not talked about very much, yes, even the relinquished children.  This fracturing of the family leaves one with a sense that all is not right with the world and never will be – the polar opposite of how it felt when I was a mother (throughout the pregnancy and the 5 days I parented my son).

For years, and for the sake of surviving it, I justified it by thinking and saying I’d have a lot more regrets if I’d raised him because of the 2 years that followed giving birth.  I am not able to speak of the depth of it just now as it is a dark and painful thing to drudge up.  If I’d known that I’d be covered during those dark times I sensed coming even long before becoming pregnant, I know beyond all doubt I’d have jumped at that chance!  If someone would have said, “I’ve got you!  I’ve got your back,” and let me do what I had to do to get well while ensuring my child would be safe and I’d have access to him in a safe situation, I’m pretty sure it would have been a light in a very dark place that would have made all the difference.

Maybe I’m a dreamer.  But without dreams, not much is possible – especially not change.

To break it down to a more personal note: my son is just that: my son!  He may be a lot of things to a lot of people in this world – including son to his adoptive parents.  He may even be more than a son to me someday, but, first and foremost, he is and will always be my son.  Though he may never acknowledge it, I have acknowledged it from the day of his birth, to this very day, and that is who he is to me.  I got cold-cocked by a bunch of puny little lies telling me I didn’t deserve to be his mom.  But nothing changes the truth: the day my son was born, a mom was born too.  I’m that mom.  It all got fractured.  I got broken, and that family unit that was born that day in March of 1992 got broken, but it still happened that I conceived him, I birthed him, I cared for him, and never stopped caring.  I was a mom to him for that precious moment in time, and I loved every minute of it – in a unique way like I’ve never loved anything else.

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6 thoughts on “Re-thinking

  1. Just so you know, you are not alone in your dream. I’ve had numerous conversations, online and off, about the “adopt a family” concept. I seem to be encountering it more and more. This is how things start. There is hope.

  2. I think woulda, coulda, shoulda fills many lives. I know for sure that having children involved in that woulda, coulda, shoulda, pain is excruciating. You’re right it’s an imperfect system…always will be. I know for sure you did the best you knew how to do and are working through you feelings about it all…I continue to pray for grace through this process.

  3. “No one should take a woman’s word for it when she says she wants to relinquish!”
    This frightens me. As a birthmother, I made the choice and people trusted to make that decision because it was best for me. Your statement removes the option for the woman to choose to live her life- to be adopted as an adult who has birthed a child is equally terrifying as saying a woman’s word shouldn’t be taken as her own. Trust women- give them options- trust their choices.

    • I can respect what you’re saying. And I would be frightened too if I didn’t see what was said before and after that statement you flagged as a concern – and if I didn’t have 20 years behind me of wishing someone had been there to play the “devil’s advocate,” for lack of a better idiom. There was so much respect in my situation, and I was very convincing – because I was so very convinced – that adoption was the best and only option in my case. But no one took the time to really cross-examine me to make sure I wasn’t motivated by fear. It’s not like putting a puppy up for adoption, and it’s not like choosing whether to have sex with a man – which is a serious issue to be sure. This is well beyond and unlike anything else. This is a part of us that runs so much deeper than anything else we can compare it to. It’s a hard choice, and to do justice to the process, a woman considering adoption for her child should be asked the really hard questions. If a woman passes the cross examination after getting to the heart of the matter of whatever might be going on causing her to choose adoption, then okay, relinquish if she must. But no harm is done in helping a woman know that she knows that she knows. No one did that for me. And when I hear and read other stories of women relinquishing, I don’t hear it in many of their stories either.

  4. I just want you to know that, as Rebecca mentioned, there are people who do feel the same as you about “adopting a family.”

    As an adult adoptee in reunion, I know that adoption in some form may always exist. But we need to change the way it is practiced. For example, your point about delving into the issues as to Why a woman wants to relinquish, is an area that needs regulation. I’m not taking about the second-guessing of a woman’s words, no, relinquishment requires COUNSELING, by a qualified professional, not someone calling themselves a “social worker” who is employed by an adoption agency whose entire business is bulit around getting infant babies! Talk about conflict of interest.

    But I digress.

    I just want to tell you that you can read more about how some of us are trying to help young moms–just get their footing, get some help, childcare, some nice work clothes. So they can keep their baby, if that is what they want to do. You can read about it here:
    http://www.laura-dennis.com/adoption-advocacy-and-helping-young-moms-nablopomo-day-30/

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