one good thing

Even though I may not get a lot of traffic on this site, I would love some interaction and some feedback on a particular question.

I have been trying to think of one good thing about adoption, and, as a birthmother, I haven’t come up with anything – at least nothing that feels real or viable.  And I’ve been at it for days!  I mean, I know I wouldn’t be who I am had I not traveled down this path, and I don’t actually hate who I am, but I do miss who I became when I had my son, and so I do miss who I should have been, which is L’s mom.

If I had to be tied down to an answer, though, I would have to say the one good thing that has come as a result of adoption is the people I’ve met who also have had the natural biological ebb and flow of their lives interrupted by adoption, i.e., other birth mothers and people who grew up adopted.  Thanks to them, I no longer feel isolated, and I don’t feel quite as much like as much of a freak of nature.

So, to all of my friends in adoption,  Thanks.


12 thoughts on “one good thing

  1. Standing right next to you in the aftermath of allowing adoption into my life as well. And all my family has left is a beaten, broken and battered me. Adoption does nothing good from the natural family of loss perspective. And we’ll find out one day what it does from my son’s perspective. I’m sure it won’t be good.

    • ws – And yet, through it all we find a way to go on, don’t we? As the years pass, you will find you are more resilient than you ever knew you could be. It doesn’t make the hurt go away and it doesn’t make the loss “OK,” but it does help in some way I haven’t figured out how to explain.

  2. I was recently asked by an adoptee what I “gained” from adoption & how I “benefited” from it. I spent an agonizing amount of time trying to figure out what I “gained.” In a way, this is similar to your question about trying to discover one “good” thing about adoption. At first, I was completely flummoxed and could not think of one single thing I had gained. Instead I made a list of every terrible, ugly, hurtful, painful thing adoption had brought into my life. As I did that, the things that were “good” or that I “gained” from adoption began to float up out of that morass of grief. It was only then that I could see what might be “good” in adoption from my point of view, almost like a bas relief.

    Eventually this is what I was able to come up with in regards to what I “gained”: I gained empathy for single mothers, regardless of how they became single. I gained a deep compassion for those in need, both physically and emotionally. I gained absolute clarity about God’s true nature and the role mercy should play in our interactions with others. I gained a deep understanding about human nature & the effect baby lust, greediness, and money have on otherwise lovely women. I gained a perfect brightness of knowledge that babies should stay with their mothers whenever possible – and it is almost always possible. I gained resiliency to overcome catastrophic loss – if I can endure the ambiguous loss of my daughter to the adoption machinery, I can endure anything. *Anything.* I gained a backbone. My voice.

    These are the “good” things adoption has given me, the things I have “gained” through the loss of my daughter. I don’t know if this helps or not, but perhaps it can serve as a point of departure for helping you re-frame what is “good” about adoption from your point of view. I look forward to reading what you are able to come up with.

    • Surfacing as a bas relief…love that thought! I think that similar things have started to come to the surface for me. I’m still digging for the something good, though…

  3. I guess I would say, as a birth mom also, adoption has made me more aware and compassionate towards other people and what they are going through. I have always considered myself to be sensitive towards others, but because of adoption, even more so.

    • Thanks so much, Delores. I think that part of how I survive is not only the compassion that has come as a result of adoption, but also the compassion that other birth mothers have bestowed on me. I’m not sure where I would be without it, and I’m so grateful for it!

  4. Thanks, Carol. Knowing you has been a blessing, too. Each of our load is lessened by the sharing we do with each other.

  5. One thing I can think of. My daughter was born and relinquished in 1965, before there was any concept about the oppression of women. I bought into the whole social ideal for womwn as incomplete without a man who was of course smarter that her, whom she needed to please and keep to get along in life. Thus i was a prime example of “learned helplessness” dependent and frightened of life without a “protector”. So in about 1974 I was exposed to feminism and did’t catch on to the gist of it, i.e. “women need to believe in themselves”. The “how and why” of being oppressed in our world, on the basis that I was female, didn’t get through to me at first– a testimony to how deeply I had been indoctrinated as a female.
    Then one day it hit me!! The reason, the explanation, for why relinquishing my daughter for adoption was the choice that all around me, an 18 year old girl at the time, pressured me make, was that I had “broken the rules” about staying in my place as a female in thhe soiciety–very strictly enforced at that time. I realize that it was sexism that set those rules and that a woman who acted outside the men’s rules would be punished harshly. I was shunned and ostrasized and if I didn’t go along with adoption my daughter would also be punished for my sins, as stigmatized as a bastared.
    What an eye-opener!! The pain I carried due to my loss of that child fueled a major epiphanie that day and I felt such rage at a system that did that and many other hurtful acts to women. I was instantly transformed into a feminist, a person who advocates for the reproductive and other rights of women. So I can see some value that came out of that experience, though it also warped me in ways I still struggle with.

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