Privilege, Choice, Entitlement, and Minority Rule

I mentioned in my last post that there were discussions in the adoption-blog world that had my head spinning as of late. Tonight, I followed a link to a seven page forum topic where a few adoptive mothers were repeatedly attacked for their decision to adopt, while also being patronized about not having “perspective.” These women were told they were selfish for choosing to adopt infants (and, thus, participate in a “corrupt” system that preys on the misfortunes of others), instead of becoming parents through the foster system.

This said by women who admit that they got pregnant relatively quickly after placing a child to fill the hole of the biological child that they weren’t parenting.

How utterly selfish.

After all, they put their desires to fill that void with an infant above the social injustices suffered by waiting children. They couldn’t have the child that they wanted–the one that was lost to them–so they should “expand their horizons” and enter into a situation that they didn’t feel prepared for, instead of selfishly choosing to parent another infant.

Sounds crazy, right? So why is it crazy for me to say this about a woman who can choose to biologically have another infant, but perfectly acceptable for a birthmother to say it to a prospective adoptive parent, who does not have the option of biology due to a medical situation? (And, for the record, before submitting my profile to our adoption agency, I called a neighboring county about a ten-year-old girl that had been in the system for years–they weren’t currently considering placement for her due to severe emotional problems, and I still occasionally check my state’s listings to see her status, five years later. I also came thisclose to submitting my homestudy for a sibling group, as well as a toddler with some developmental delays. I DID look very seriously at that option, but the situations weren’t right. I am no different from many potential adoptive parents who explore “the system” before deciding that it isn’t the right place for them–at least right now.)

Near the end of the forum discussion, one of the women who had made a lot of the statements that bothered me posted to the adoptive mothers that she was NOT attacking them–that she respected them for their courage to broaden their horizons and try to gain “real perspective” as opposed to the subjective kind (this true perspective, naturally, was based on her views). She then went to her personal blog and lamented the entitlement displayed by these women who were never going to “get it.”

And so, I finally feel pushed to the point of sharing my perspective on these topics (although not nearly as completely as I would like, due to the realities of attention span).

No matter what you want to tell yourself, life has everything to do with choices. This doesn’t mean that wrongs don’t occur, or that social injustices don’t exist. But how we deal with the situations we face is still a result of our choices.

I take issue with those who claim that adoption is a broken system because it only exists because of poverty, lack of education, lack of social support, or anything else of that nature. Yes, those factors can come into play as part of a woman’s choice. It is interesting, though, that those who attempt to evaluate the “strength” of a potential adoptive match site the fact that an expecting mother is much more likely to choose adoption if she has MORE education, is older, is currently parenting another child, or has well-defined goals and aspirations for her life (at least in the arena of domestic adoption). In other words, it is the ones with more “privilege” and “choices” that are considered more likely to choose adoption.

I do not disagree that there are horrible social injustices that drive women in other countries to choose adoption (deathly poverty, limitations on family size, the fact that an illegitimate child and its mother become complete social outcasts in some countries…).Here’s my complaint, though. If you are bothered by those injustices, focus your energy on FIXING them, not on destroying a system that is, at least, alleviating some of their effects on the next generation.

I am bothered when I see people repeatedly referring to those of us who adopt as using our “privilege” to strong-arm babies from those who don’t have as much “control.” Believe me, the four years of hell that I endured with infertility was no privilege. Neither were the effects it had on my marriage, my mental health, or my pocket book. As much as I (and many other couples) would like to eventually open our hearts and homes to those children who wait, the emotional fallout of infertility often leaves us unable to deal with the additional (severe) emotional ups and downs of dealing with the foster care system. And while many of the same women who rail against our privilege will complain bitterly any time they perceive a comment as somehow telling them they should get over the emotional turmoil caused by their  experiences, well, those suffering the emotional fallout of infertility just need to “broaden their horizons” and “get perspective.” Ugh.

This post is long. The time is late. And I don’t know if I am effectively communicating my feelings. At this point, I hear my mother asking me (as she has in the past) “Why are you wasting your time–you won’t change these people’s minds.” And you know what? She is right about that. I know I won’t change the minds of the people who make these statements. It is the people who READ them that I’m concerned about.

So, why do I bother? I can sum it up in three words: Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

One of the quickest ways to get decent people to abandon their beliefs is to tell them that they have more power, and it’s not fair. Despite what an enormous section of our population believes, we are not a society of majority rule. It is the very vocal minorities (the squeaky wheels, if you will) that tend to shape policy. When I first started contemplating this, a month or so ago, I did a little research and read some things by Madalyn Murray O’Hair. She brought new meaning to the word “radical.” The vast majority of our country didn’t even come close to agreeing with her views. But she and her views forever changed the face of public education. And those changes didn’t just protect those who did not have Christian beliefs–it essentially muzzled those that did. It swung the pendulum too far in the other direction (effectively removing rights from the majority).

That is my fear–that is why I respond. I see too many women being told that they lack perspective–that they can never even HAVE perspective, because they haven’t experienced childbirth. Their greatest insecurities are played on to convince them that they have done something wrong, something unfair. And I see too many of them who believe it. So I respond, and I hope that since I HAVE been in both situations–going through infertility and adoption, then experiencing pregnancies–that I might offset some of that guilt that is being thrust upon them.

And I hope that by doing what doesn’t seem to be politically correct, by disagreeing with these adoption “reformists,” that some of their frightening suggestions don’t eventually become policy. I do think that there is room for reform.  But I think that reform should focus on the children being effected, and on protecting everyone involved–not just on making a certain segment feel good.

What more can I say? Squeak…squeak…squeak…

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52 Comments

Filed under adoption, I think my head might explode, infertility

52 responses to “Privilege, Choice, Entitlement, and Minority Rule

  1. Here here!

    And to so many who won’t … hear.

  2. At least get your facts straight. You’ve got misinformation all over the place in this post.

  3. Mixed Nuts

    No, Nicole, I don’t. I read every single post in that thread, and almost everything that I discussed here was stated there–repeatedly. I have also read all over your blog, as well as others. The rest of what I have talked about came from those various sources. But it is all out there, and it is being said over and over.

    The funny thing is, I held back. I intentionally didn’t use your name (or others), or post the thread, because I didn’t want to seem like I was targeting anyone specifically (although the fact that you “praised” these women, then ripped them on your blog did really bother me). What I read last night was the final straw on these topics–none of these are things that I haven’t considered commenting on in the past weeks to months (I just never got to the place where I was willing to take that much time to sit down and do it).

    I have told you before that I am more than willing to have an intelligent, two-sided discussion. There ARE things that we agree on. If you think I am wrong about something, tell me what it is instead of making a blanket statement about “misinformation.” But expect me to ask some questions, too. You still have never answered my question about how you can complain about conflating adoption and abortion (something you did again last night) when you have openly encouraged women to abort INSTEAD of considering adoption. And after what I read last night, I am really curious why you continued the discussion about the role of God in adoption (repeatedly stating that God grieves over the situations that create adoption) instead of just telling those women, honestly, that you don’t believe in God (and I don’t have a problem with your beliefs–just be open about them in those situations).

  4. See, again with the misinformation.

    1. Where have I repeatedly encouraged women to get an abortion rather than an adoption? I have stated that I would get an abortion rather than carry term, should I be in a position where I couldn’t parent.

    (Abortion is this: an alternative to being pregnant; or an alternative to parenting.

    Adoption is this: an alternative to parenting.

    But adoption is not an alternative to abortion. I understand that is hard to grasp, because it took ME a long time to grasp it, but in the decision-making process, that is how it pans out.)

    2. I am quite clear, all over my blog, about my beliefs. The “God” I believe in WAS grieved. When I say God, no, I do not mean the same thing the women on that thread do. However, I’m quite clear about that all over that board AND my blog. You do understand about metaphors? About using the language people understand? Yes, I could have typed out, “The god I believe in–universal energy binding us all together and the natural goodness of humankind and nature–was grieved.” I chose to just say “God.” Not a single woman on that board was bothered by it, why are you? I never hide my beliefs, in fact they have been discussed prominently recently on that board. So it’s misinformation to say I am not being honest about my beliefs.

    3. I did not praise these women and then rip them. I have said the same things to them in the thread and on my blog–that I see a sense of entitlement that concerns me, but that I am glad they are willing to dialogue.

    4. “These women were told they were selfish for choosing to adopt infants.” No one said selfish, several of us said “entitled.” And it’s not actually adopting an infant that is the concern, it’s the attitude behind adopting an infant.

    5. “This said by women who admit that they got pregnant relatively quickly after placing a child to fill the hole of the biological child that they weren’t parenting.” Which women? As far as I know, that description only applies to ONE woman–ME. The other first moms on that thread are, respectively: (a) still childless except for her relinquished child–so not parenting any child; and (b) struggled through years of secondary infertility after relinquishing, and was only recently able to have another child. So, blatant misinformation–ONE woman on that thread got pregnant shortly after relinquishing to fill the hole left by my relinquished daughter. Yes, I did. And yes, it was wrong. It was not fair to either of my daughters. PART OF THE REASON I am so passionate about that subject–using a child to replace another, or to fill the hole of the lost dream of one–by the way, is exactly because I found out the hard way that it doesn’t work and it’s wrong. Are you honestly chastising me for doing something wrong, saying I did it wrong, and trying to get other people to not make my same mistake?

    6. “After all, they put their desires to fill that void with an infant above the social injustices suffered by waiting children.” No no no, that wasn’t the point at all. The point was this: considering MANY children actually do need new homes, if you are going to adopt anyway, doesn’t it make more sense to adopt a child who TRULY needs a home rather than search for an infant… when there are PLENTY of people wanting to adopt those, and when not all of those actually need new homes, anyway?

    7. “…this true perspective, naturally, was based on her views.” Again, no. I pointedly stated that it’s not A perspective… not mine, not any other first mom’s, not any other triad member’s–perspective I am wishing people would “get”–it’s PERSPECTIVE, adjective form. As in, for a completely unrelated example, “Man I had a crappy day, the whole world is coming to an end, ” and then a friend encourages you to get some perspective. As in, take a step back from the situation and see the big picture. Not MY perspective, the BIG PICTURE.

    8. ” I take issue with those who claim that adoption is a broken system because it only exists because of poverty, lack of education, lack of social support, or anything else of that nature.” Who said it’s broken BECAUSE OF that? That’s not why I think it’s broken. That is why I think it exists, yes–but right now, those are realities in the world, and UNTIL we can change those realities, adoption needs to exist. Period. The reason I think it’s broken is because there is still so much room in the system for coercion, still so much allowance for entitlement, and still so many violations of adoptee and natural parent rights.

    9. “If you are bothered by those injustices, focus your energy on FIXING them, not on destroying a system…” Um, we are. And we’re NOT trying to destroy adoption, we’re trying to FIX adoption.

    My husband came up and wants his computer, I need to go. There is more in your post that’s slanted. Maybe you’re not trying to slant it, maybe you’re not trying to misinform, but it is misinformation.

    One last thing: “Believe me, the four years of hell that I endured with infertility was no privilege. Neither were the effects it had on my marriage, my mental health, or my pocket book.”

    Of course it was hell. And I am truly, truly sorry you had to go through that, I really am. (I realize that is probably hard to believe, but honestly, my voice is soft here and my brow furrowed and I am truly feeling an ache for you inside as I think about this.)

    But (a soft “but,” not angry, okay?)… but…

    Infertility is not adoption. At the point you come into the adoption situation, you–adoptive parents–are the ones with more power. If your infertility is still such a strong force in your life, if you are still grieving it so heavily, that you can’t feel your own power in the adoptive situation, then that is sad, but it is not a good reason to ignore the larger picture and some of the problems in the current system.

  5. Mixed Nuts

    ” paragraphein Says:
    October 20, 2007 at 8:25 pm
    Julia… I’m sorry for what you’re going through.

    All I can tell you is you WILL come through it.

    And just please, please, please don’t consider adoption. I’m not sorry I had Moonbeam, but I regret choosing adoption… and if I ever get in a circumstance where I truly CAN’T parent, I’d abort this time around.

    NOT trying to say what you should do, though. Not at all… abortion vs. giving birth is a very personal decision, only you can make it, only you can know what you think in your heart is right. But I WILL outright say don’t consider adoption.”

    Just one example. And yes, I intentionally left in the “not trying to say…” part since I’m sure you would point it out. But it very much still comes across as “I think abortion is a better choice than adoption” to someone who specifically asked you for guidance. I have seen you make similar comments on other occassions.

    And, yes, you are clear on your blog about your beliefs–that is how I know them. I took issue with this thread, with the fact that the women you were having this discussion with (for the most part) seemed to be people who are not acquainted with your blog and your beliefs.

    As far as selfish vs entitled, I think that’s a pretty thin line to draw. One implies the other. Not to mention, once again, that I am referring to this forum, as well as many other things I have read recently. And I did state that clearly throughout the post.

    Which leads into the next one–I did not single you out anywhere other than in commenting on the disparity between your tone on the post and your tone in your blog “I need some validation…Please tell me I’m not the only one seeing this…” You are not the only one that I am personally aware of. And it was not my intent to point that finger at you, just like I won’t point it at others (especially since one is close to me). You also seemed to miss the point I was making in that whole section. It is a ridiculous argument to make. It is a mean and hurtful thing to say–even when it is said to these “entitled” women. I would never tell a grieving woman that she shouldn’t long for the chance to approach parenthood from a “normal” situation. And, yes, these women were basically told that they were being closed-minded, selfish, however you want to see it, by not wanting to go that route. Now, do I believe that any person wanting to adopt should go straight to healthy, white, infants? No. Nononononono. I said as much when asked in a recent radio interview that I did on my Vietnam blanket project. There are many ways that people can help–adopting healthy, white infants really doesn’t fall on that spectrum. There is an element of selfishness to that (but I don’t think that makes it wrong for a childless couple to have that desire). Foster care and international adoptions are where people can “help” more. Even adopting transracially through domestic adoption (as I did) isn’t as big a deal as it was even a few years ago. But I was bothered by the lack of understanding on this forum (as well as in other discussions, where I have seen birthmothers state that infertile couples should just accept their lot and remain childless) for the fact that the emotional turmoil is just as real coming from one perspective as it is from another. And, just as having a second biological child doesn’t replace the loss of the first, wading through the red tape of “the system,” then taking on the challenges of parenting a child who, let’s face it, is there for a reason and will generally have a lot of “stuff” to deal with, is not the same as having the chance to start from scratch with a baby. And no, adopting is not exactly the same as giving birth, but it comes a heck of a lot closer.

    I rechecked, and you did, in fact, state that it was “THE perspective.” Yes, you did also say not your perspective or my perspective, but claiming that “THE perspective” exists is, essentially, a value judgement. It says that it exists, that you “get it,” and that these women don’t.

    As far as the broken system comment goes, again, I am not speaking solely to your comments. You aren’t the only blog that I read. Although I have seen you say that you wish you could see adoption abolished. And I see a difference between “fixing” adoption and working on those social injustices. For instance, cracking down on practices that lead to baby buying in some international adoptions is critical. Those practices should NOT be allowed to continue. They are disgusting. But fixing them doesn’t change the intense poverty that would allow someone to ever even consider giving up their child for what, to us, seems like an unbelievably small amount of money. Maybe you, and others, are proactively working on these causes. I just haven’t seen any reference to it. Only to changing adoption. And the suggestion I see, over and over, is to change it by eliminating private adoptions (which basically makes it so a child can’t be adopted until they have already suffered extreme physical or emotional stress).

    The last part–infertility. Yes, it had a tremendous affect on my life. No, it does not have the same impact now as it did in the past. But I know what others are going through, because I have been there. And, just like you, I feel the need to protect those travelling a road I once was on. And we disagree on the power aspect. No, I do not believe that expecting mothers have more power (although, for those on that road, it can sometimes feel that way). But, right now, I think that YOU do. You, and everyone else who leaves these couples feeling like heartless baby-snatchers (and I’m not saying that you mean to, but I’m telling you that many people, suffering very real depression and turmoil over their circumstances, will come away feeling that way). I don’t agree with many of your solutions–we have already established that in the past. And I frequently see different problems that need solved. It is a matter of perspective, and we are coming from two different places.

    There are many very harsh and critical things said “out there” about adoptive and prospective adoptive parents. I know that you recognize that some of these things can be hurtful–I have seen you password protect some of your harsher posts. But, the reality is, many people don’t seem to see the need to be nearly as respectful to the people suffering on THIS side of the coin as they expect on THEIR side. Somehow, even telling an expecting woman that you respect the decisions she is making is somehow offensive (it is that whole angel vs devil thing–we can’t win no matter what opinion we might express). I see the “power” argument as a way of puting adoptive parents in very much of a no-win situation. Essentially, they aren’t allowed to have, or at a minimum, state their opinions because of their “power.” Trust me, they don’t have nearly the amount that you think.

  6. Mixed Nuts

    There is one more thing on the power and entitlement topic that I think is worth addressing. And I don’t think that you were the one who posted it, but I don’t remember for sure. Someone brought up the fact that adoptive parents feel entitled to healthy children, when God could have sent them a child with autism or other issues (incidentally, the inclusion of God in that whole discussion made me uncomfortable–not that I am not religious, because I am, but because I think that people sometimes put too much emphasis there to justify their position in one direction or the other). Anyhow, there was a very misleading element to that statement (probably not intentionally, but it still exists).

    As you know, I am currently pregnant. Now, when I adopted my son, I did have to go through the “comfort level” sheet which, as I have stated in the past, was awful. But, here’s the thing–most of what was on that list were things that I have control over as a pregnant woman. I could have chosen a partner of a different race (and I did adopt a child of a different race). I could do drugs, smoke, or drink alcohol. I could marry someone with a family history of mental illness or with genetically-linked illnesses (again, actually, I did on both accounts). I could have lived a lifestyle that would have given me sexually transmitted diseases. And on, and on.

    And yes, with all of the advancements in medical science, I could have done screening on THIS child to find out if there is anything wrong with him. And I could have aborted him if there was. But I didn’t.

    The reality is, as awful as that part of a homestudy is to confront, it doesn’t make us any more powerful or entitled than biological parents. And I think that it is probably safe to say that most of us go outside of our comfort zone when we fill it out. During this pregnancy, the harshest thing to go into my body has been Diet Mt Dew. But I was willing to accept a drug-exposed child if I had been presented with that possibility. I watched my sister agonize–literally cry for days–when she found out that a waiting child that she had inquired about (despite knowing he had medical issues), had problems that were too severe for her to handle. Not because her heart wasn’t big enough, but because she felt a responsibility to her other children and didn’t think she could intentionally take on something that would change their lives so completely and permanently.

    Things just aren’t as black and white as they are made out to be.

  7. MixedNuts,

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t read your whole replies. I just can’t anymore, it’s not helping for us to talk, so right now there is no point.

    Just addressing this, as a way to point out something larger about our communication here and in the future:

    “I took issue with this thread, with the fact that the women you were having this discussion with (for the most part) seemed to be people who are not acquainted with your blog and your beliefs.”

    If you honestly, seriously want an open, two-sided conversation between us, then you need to stop assuming things about me. Because your assumption was wrong. The women on that thread are (can’t vouch for all, but for almost all, I can) very aware that I am not a Christian, that I am an atheist. And the women on that thread are also all very much aware of my blog.

    And I think this is the problem with our communication, with why we’re having a hard time talking. You’ve developed a notion about me and you are not seeing how that opinion is influencing the way you read my words.

    Until you can stop assuming, and check the prejudices and preconceived notions about me as a person at the door, we are not going to be able to talk. We’ll just keep talking around each other, in circles, missing the point.

  8. Mixed Nuts

    I was referring to the adoptive mothers in the discussion (admittedly, the minority of the posters), only one of whom seemed to express familiarity with you. The one who was mostly at the center of the discussion said she ended up there on accident, and didn’t realize she was even posting to birthmothers.

    But you are correct, discussions cannot be one-sided. That has been my complaint in the past. And why I did not seek out this discussion with you, as opposed to posting my views on my own site. But, if you aren’t willing to read my replies then, yes, the discussion does end.

    But please don’t make accusations about me making swift judgements of you. Besides the fact that, as I have said numerous times at this point, I was not directing my comments solely at you, I have only disagreed with your stated opinions. And I have read enough of your site to go beyond assumptions on those.

  9. Mixed Nuts

    Sandra! For some reason, my filter spammed you–I hope it hasn’t in the past. Maybe it is a conspiracy–WordPress is censoring you. 😉

    Anyhow, thank you for the positive feedback!

  10. sunfish26

    Great post, mixed nuts. As far as perspective goes, how can anyone have “the” perspective? It was described as, what was it?…. stepping back and looking at it from afar.

    Well, if I am an adoptee, and looking at it from afar, it will look a lot different than an adoptive mother looking at it from afar, and it will still look differently to a birthmother. Which of the three in the triad has the correct perspective? There is no way that only one part can have the correct perspective, and it is unlikely that all three will be in total agreement, so right there, you have a “I’m right, you’re wrong” fight waiting to happen.

  11. Mixed Nuts

    I agree. And to take it one step further, each person in the triad is going to have different positive and negative experiences that will shape their own personal perspective. That’s been one of my biggest gripes–people approaching it from a “one size fits all” mentality. There is absolutely no question in my mind that there are people who suffer tremendous pain and regret over their personal experiences with adoption. But there are others who still feel they made the right decisions, no matter how painful they were. I don’t think that anyone has the right to say, “This is how it affected me, so I’m going to try and make it impossible for you to potentially go through the same thing.”

    Not that everyone approaches it from that perspective, but some do. And it scares me to think how many people would be affected if they got their way.

  12. eastofwest22

    Not to mention first moms who tell other first moms that if they’re not filled with regret and anger over their decision, they’re “still drinking the Kool Aid.” And I say that as someone who’s very much in line with Dawn about adoption reform.

  13. bvs

    Mixed Nuts,

    I agree with your perspective on perspective! Several years ago, I wrote a lengthy paper for a children’s literature class about ‘perspective.’ In my paper, I had to address how my chosen topic would permeate a classroom, in the curriculum, and in routines and procedures. It was basically a metacognitive approach. You have it exactly right about the meaning of perspective.

    Subjective evaluation of relative significance; a point of view

    A way of regarding situations or topics etc.

    It is valuable to consider, or attempt to consider, a situation from another’s perspective. But as far as I know, there is no ONE perspective on any topic. Including how one defines or view ‘perspective!’

    I appreciate your words, and now I’m going to explore the rest of your site. You are new to me.

  14. Mixed Nuts

    Wow, if you want some further discussion on this, there was apparently more than I was aware of (until someone linked to my post and this one at the same time).

    http://afamilyaffair.wordpress.com/2007/12/12/adoption-ramble/#comments

    I had read the original post on this blog which, admittedly, was part of what sparked my post. But I never went back to see the firestorm of comments that ensued. Very interesting. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that was said, or how it was said, but I do think that there is a lot of noteworthy stuff. And, I guess, I’m encouraged to see that I’m not the only one willing to say some of it.

  15. sunfish26

    Great link. There are others that feel the same way, but they get shot down pretty quickly, unfortunately.

  16. bvs

    I have a post on that one, also. It is very difficult, at times, to present your own perspective without others telling you that you need to change it, rather than presenting their perspective as another option. No matter how carefully the words are couched, the meaning is usually that you are wrong if you still believe your own perspective. And that you need to spend more time considering the right perspective in order to have a marvelous paradigm shift that is 180 degrees different from yours.

  17. bvs

    Did you post on the thread you linked?

  18. Mixed Nuts

    No, I didn’t post on either the forum last night, or the link I put here. Which one did you post on? After reading the link I have hear, I’m sure that some people will think that I was just parroting some of the things said there, but I honestly hadn’t even read them until an hour or two ago.

    I do think that you are right–there are a lot of people who will only consider that it is YOUR paradigm that needs shifting. When I was little, my mom would tell me, “There is YOUR truth, then there is the OTHER PERSON’s truth. Then there is reality, which is usually somewhere in between.” And I still think she is right.

  19. bvs

    Smart mom! I posted on the thread that you linked here. I think my post is number 58.

  20. “taking on the challenges of parenting a child who, let’s face it, is there for a reason”

    I’m hoping you might reconsider this characterization. I don’t think you mean it to be harmful, but you easily lose families who did not choose to adopt a healthy infant here. I’m sure you didn’t mean to suggest that some of our children are lesser, but it does read that way. (I was quite struck by a thread on a different forum once where a woman wrote quite explicitly that after her IF she _deserved_ a healthy infant girl and “nothing less.” And I never forgot that she thought of my son and my daughter as “less.”)

    The reality is that when I was not able to have a healthy pregnancy, I could have accepted that the next closest thing was some other woman’s healthy pregnancy (all the stuff “I” would have done “if only”) But I really believe this “if only” world must be let go for anyone to be happy. So much unhappiness comes from a failure to resolve expectations with reality/real options.

    I should disclose that I did not suffer from IF but from medical problems that seriously complicated one pregnancy and doesn’t allow for another, so my position, like yours, is not the most common.

    But that didn’t change what I wanted. Of course I wanted a healthy child, emotionally and physically. That doesn’t make me selfish or entitled. No one really *hopes* to have a child with painful challenges.

    Yet I wanted most to be able to look my child in the eye when she became an adult and be able to give her a good reason why we were together. “Because I wanted the chance to start from scratch” or “because I’d been through a lot before I started the adoption process” just weren’t good enough reasons (those were my problems to deal with), especially when combined with the “reasons” we were given for a few potential placements. In any case, when I am to communicate “why” to my child, _she_ should be the subject of that sentence, not me, not even her first mother.

    I guess I just wonder what would happen to these discussions if we were to frame them not in terms of babies but in terms of our children in the future, as grown adults. THAT perspective changed my mind about a lot.

  21. Mixed Nuts

    Abebech,

    I apologize if my comment came across in a different way than I intended. I was speaking to a specific conversation that was had on another site, so I can see where it may have not come out as I intended outside of that context. I don’t know if you read all of my responses, but my husband and I did consider foster/adopt very seriously. We still hope to do it someday, but not until our other kids are older. Which, I suppose goes along with the comment I made.

    I in no way feel that children adopted out of the system are “lesser.” But I absolutely think it would be naive for someone to enter into the system without acknowledging that the children who are there have found themselves there due to neglect, abuse, and all around horrible situations. Some of these kids are removed early enough to bear much lighter scars, but most of these children need special understanding, special patience, special care–at least in the beginning. And I have the utmost respect for the people who are prepared to take that on. But I also have a lot of respect for people who are honest enough to admit when they are not.

    I agree, every adoption should be entered into with the best interest of the child, not the adults involved, at heart. And if you read through, you will even see where I openly admitted that wanting a healthy, white infant does contain an element of “selfishness.” But I also think that entering the system with a “whatever it takes” attitude without considering the potential effects on a child with a very real history would be equally, if not more selfish. Every parent is bound to make mistakes, but I just think there is less room for error with a child who has suffered trauma. That was the only point I was trying to make.

  22. sunfish26

    Someone said she “deserved” a healthy white infant?

    Wow. I guess there is some entitlement out there, and I hope that is the exception. That makes me really sad to read.

    Abech, I appreciated your post. It is true that when we adopt we need to think about our children in the future…I am always rehearsing how the conversations with my son might flow… and I hope to start the dialogue while he is very young.

    Mixed nuts, I agree with your points about how jumping into foster care without being ready can be selfish. Yes, it feels good to be a foster parent, but if you can’t be a good parent, you aren’t doing the child any favors.

    I just want to say that I am really happy that I stumbled upon this blog tonight.

  23. Mixed Nuts

    Yes, there are entitled people everywhere. Frankly, I have little patience for someone who would say she “deserved” anything due to infertility–it is just a stupid statement.

    I started thinking about the conversations that I would have with my son about his adoption from the very beginning, too. And, honestly, I never even thought about the “I” factor. I thought about what I would tell him about my knowledge of why T~ decided she wasn’t ready to parent, but not what I wanted. Outside of the fact that I wanted to be a mother more than I cared about being pregnant, which was why I persued adoption instead of fertility treatments.

    Of course, 4 1/2 years later, many of the conversations that I thought we would be having have already changed. I talked about it in another post but, well, so many things can change how those conversations will eventually go. It is so important to lay the groundwork, but I know now that some things will be much more difficult to explain then I ever imagined. I guess that is one of the reasons I like the fact that we did open our adoption–he will be able to internalize some of the things as he is mature enough to see them, instead of me having to explain everything and try to frame a context for him.

  24. Mixed Nuts

    Abebech,

    I just went back and checked out your blog. I had misunderstood–I thought that you adopted from the US foster care system. Since that doesn’t appear to be the case, I imagine that some of the things I said about abuse and neglect may not have applied to your situation. That was, however, the “system” that I was referring to, and what the original conversation had been about. Sorry if this caused any confusion.

  25. “This said by women who admit that they got pregnant relatively quickly after placing a child to fill the hole of the biological child that they weren’t parenting.”

    So so much makes me frustrated here. I am one of the three first moms that posted there. The thing that makes me most angry is the quote above. I had to wait almost 9 years to have another child and experienced just as many years of secondary infertility as you. And my children don’t fill a hole, they make me aware of how big that hole is. You lump all first moms together and call us selfish. But you have no idea the hell I went through, and why I relinquished. General statements like you made in your post really piss me off. I have gotten bashed by adoptive moms like you for so much less…

  26. Mixed Nuts

    I have already addressed this once here, but I will go ahead and do it again since you seemed to have missed it. I absolutely don’t feel that way. I was making a comment on what a crappy thing that is to say to a person, and how lousy I think it is that it is somehow socially acceptable for birthmothers to say it to adoptive mothers, but shocking and cruel to be presented the other way around. I thought I was making my intention clear when I said it was a crazy statement to make. I’m sorry if you missed that part.

    I don’t lump all birthmothers together. And I don’t think that all adoptive mothers should be lumped together, either. That was the point I was making. One size does not fit all in adoption, and to tell women that if they aren’t prepared to adopt an older child with a traumatic background and deal with everything that comes with it, that they need to “expand their horizons” (or however, exactly, it was said) is, in my opinion, just as mean-spirited.

  27. I should have been more clear. My child was a non-infant from ET. Our adjustment was not an easy one — she was very aware of the history that brought her into care, and consequently to me. But she is also the most resilient person I’ve ever met, and I’ve learned a lot from her already. (much like many families who have expanded their horizons beyond healthy infant).

    “I started thinking about the conversations that I would have with my son about his adoption from the very beginning, too. And, honestly, I never even thought about the “I” factor.”

    I need to go back and read your blog — it sounds like you’ve addressed many of these things. I’m wondering, though, how common is the thought of how we’ll address it with our children, and more importantly, how often prospective parents allow that to *affect the decision* for how they will adopt. There are so many only slightly dishonest ways to answer the question “Why was I relinquished?” I wanted to say with certainty that it couldn’t have been another way, and after a couple situations where we realized that it _could_ have been, we realized we were not a good fit for domestic open adoption (our original hopes). In part it was thoughts of the expectant women, sure, but mainly it was my thought “What would I tell her/our child?” — because setting aside my strong desire to parent again (which is hard!) the stories weren’t even convincing for me.

    I wrote about our paradigm — burning buildings — somewhere on my blog if you’re interested. The reality is that many reasons why a woman might truly _need_ to place are excluded by many people on those comfort forms.

    I’ll look forward to reading your older posts and continuing this discussion!

    Thanks.

  28. (The catch twentytwo, of course, is that a “burning building” is the ultimate in non-choice — our daughter’s family most certainly made their decision under durress, and I am aware that this is one of the problems of international adoption, and one of the reasons many families believe domestic open adoption to be _less_ coercive and thus more ethical. I am aware of that paradox).

  29. Mixed Nuts

    Abebech,

    You will probably find places where we disagree about what are valid reasons for relinquishing. I can’t say that his adoption “couldn’t” have been another way (I talked about this recently in my “Life doesn’t always turn out as it seemed” post), but I am comfortable that T~ made a very informed decision, with very good reasons (she worked with three different adoption agencies, changing when the others didn’t present her with the options she wanted). There are, of course, things about my son’s story that I don’t share on here because they are too personal–things that I honestly do dread the day when he starts asking questions about. So anyhow, yes, things could have been different. But some of the “different” options are frightening to me (and, incidentally, to T’s family).

    We do have other things in common though. My son is biracial–I sometimes think that I should talk about it a bit more since I know people have questions about transracial adoption. But, well, sometimes I don’t feel like there is all that much to say. Yes, I do sometimes get the stupid “Are you a daycare?” comments, but him being a different race just doesn’t seem to be quite as in-your-face issue as I thought it might be when we first adopted.

    I had never even considered your catch twenty-two. Very interesting perspective.

  30. Mixed Nuts

    Bear’s Mommy,

    After having showered, eaten, and generally woken up a bit, I have a bit more I’d like to add to my response. If you are one of the ones who made the “just adopt from foster care” comments, well, I just really don’t get that. I can only imagine what relinquishing a child must feel like, but I do understand infertility–going through both would be hellish (heck, going through one is hell enough). I honestly don’t get how someone who has been through it could be so seemingly insensitive to those who were there. Or, how someone who felt comfortable with saying those things to other women could come here and complain about my example when it doesn’t even apply her. (Incidentally, though, one of my questions while reading that I still don’t know the answer to is, how many of you who made those comments have intimate experience with the foster care system? At least a couple of you are parents again but, from what I saw, only through birth. Have any of you experienced the situation you are recommending?)

    What I really wanted to comment on, though, was your statement about me “lumping together” a whole group of women. There was something on that thread in relation to the whole “just go through the foster system” topic that REALLY bugged me. Enough for me to NOT mention it in my original post, but it is such a phenomenal example of lumping people together that I’m going to go ahead and bring it up (and I don’t know if you were one of the ones who said it–it was said more than once, but I’m not going to go scrolling through to see by whom–of course I’ve seen it so many other places and, as one of the birthmothers on the thread said when when one of the adoptive mothers in questions pointed out that none of them had made statements even remotely resembling it, it is “implied all over the place”). So, after that buildup…

    In that discussion, adoptive mothers (specifically those who feel that God had a hand in bringing their families together) were accussed AS A GROUP of feeling that God expects other women to be some sort of Lowery/Huxley/Atwood-esque incubator to provide them with babies. Now if that statement isn’t judgemental, cruel, and making a huge freakin’ assumption about an entire group, well, I just don’t know what is.

    Which goes back to the point I was originally making–why is it OK for one group to make nasty statements and lump assumptions, while another is expected to sit quietly and take the beatings so as to be sensitive to the pain of others.

    And that is why my post wasn’t sprinkled throughout with eggshells.

  31. First off, sorry – I didn’t know you were turning things around. I have done that on the forums (and made it much clear that I was doing so) and people still thought I was attacking them. I was tired last night, I didn’t read through all the comments.

    So maybe this isn’t a forum you frequent often? Some of these women (adoptive moms) are not nice and one in particular is very combative and has launched an all out war against birth mothers in general, getting her husband into it and generally just being mean. Other adoptive moms have called a birthmom “a very special person” for doing “God’s work” and allowing “her child” to grow inside her before the woman has even signed the TPR. Often times a woman will say I “deserve a baby” because of everything I went though with infertility. It is icky. But it happens. These are the attitudes that we deal with, these are the women that we hope “get it” someday.

    I am not one of the mothers that said everyone should adopt from foster care. I stayed out of that. I commented on entitlement. Many many women on those boards feel like they deserve to have a perfect child. Many many women say God called them to adopt a healthy while infant to “save them.” That is entitlement in my book, and that is why foster care adoptions are even brought up. Because if these women really want to save a child, doing DIA is not the way to do it. I commented on the fact that women who say they feel called to save a baby (and just happen to get one in the process to fill their empty arms) are fooling themselves. I think God can be in adoption, and sometimes he fills a woman’s need for a child with DIA, but I wanted women to admit that God was filling their need, not the other way around.

  32. sunfish26

    Wow Bears Mommy.

    I read the forum you are talking about and I know all about the “combative, not nice, adoptive mother.” I have never actually seen her attack anyone. I have seen her attacked many times, though. I just read the entire thread, and not once have I seen her be combative or nasty.

    But I’ve seen people come after her, including you. Shame on you for seeing what you want to see. Yet another example of how only one side can “get it right.”

  33. “Incidentally, though, one of my questions while reading that I still don’t know the answer to is, how many of you who made those comments have intimate experience with the foster care system?”

    This question is one that gets asked over and over, yet it misses the mark of why fost-adoption is brought up.

    The thing is this: when first moms bring up fost-adoption, it’s much less for the sake of the children in foster care and more for the sake of women who are pressured to voluntarily relinquish.

    When I chose to have a biological child as my second, I was not participating in a system that pressures, manipulates, and coerces other women.

    When people choose to adopt DIA, they (often) ARE participating in a system that pressures, manipulates, and coerces other women.

    So. If I had my way, EVERY SINGLE WOMAN ON THAT THREAD would be able to have a biological child. As many biological children as she wanted. Period.

    So. Reality being what it is… if a woman IS infertile and CANNOT have biological children… she’s going to have to adopt (or do surrogacy or embryo adoption) to have children. The question, for me, then becomes: which type of adoption is the least exploitive of innocent people?

    I believe fost-adoption is the least exploitive.

    So THAT is why we advocate it.

    And no, I don’t bring up that option out of the blue. As Bear’s Mommy said, it gets brought up when people start talking about saving children, or start talking about how God leads people to adopt newborns. Because none of that makes any sense (perhaps in some cases at an individual level, yes, but at a systems-level, no).

    Now, FWIW, do I just not care, period, about foster kids and only use that type of adoption as a way to save potential first moms who voluntarily relinquish? No. It might not be my primary reason for bringing up fost-adopt, but I DO care about those kids. I still have dreams sometimes about the ones who were on my caseload, I still wonder often where they are and how they are doing, it still breaks my heart to think about the little girl in a RTF who had no ability to trust anyone anymore, or the little boy whose medical needs were neglected and made worse, or the the little boy who had such amazing committed adoptive parents and yet STILL could not relax and believe they weren’t going to hurt him or abandon him.

  34. sunfish – I guess you haven’t been privy to the private messages she sent the birth mothers (that they share with me) and me have you? Or how about the multiple times her husband said that the only way for an expectant mom (who has had sex outside of marriage) to redeem herself in God’s eyes is to relinquish her child? I find that mean and wrong, don’t you? She also has multiple times posted some very mean things left them up for a couple hours and edited them later. I would also like you to point out one place where I have attacked this woman. I haven’t. Shame on me? Uncalled for. And why is she “attacked” in the first place if she was such a nice wonderful woman? She isn’t, although I guess because she is an adoptive mom you feel the need to defend her? That is taking sides. You might not have seen her attack – but she has and does. She is combative – have you noticed she is in every single “hot” discussion? She likes to argue – and so does her husband – she admitted it to me in a pm. And I am NOT one of the birth moms that think that only one group can “get it.” I believe that “getting it” is having respect and understanding for the other side and having the compassion of Christ when it comes to ALL involved. Maybe I fail to hit the mark sometimes, but I try. I think that is more than many other do.

  35. sunfish26

    Bears Mommy….

    I actually read a post she wrote about her son’s birthmother. I read it on another forum, where she posted it because she was asked to take if off the birthparent forum, was she not?

    I’ve also seen her post to you on other random threads…things about binkies and such! Obviously she is not there only to argue. Is it wrong if someone disagrees with something to jump into a mix? I’ve seen birthmoms do it, too.

    Nice by the way, that people share private messages on that forum. I’m glad I read and don’t post.

    I saw you come after her for agreeing with a poster on the thread that is in question. Just because she agreed? Of course you didn’t mention her by name, but it was obvious who you meant.

    Don’t you see? People are afraid that if they disagree, they are going to be insulted! It really sucks.

    Maybe you are both too defensive. Lots of people, depending on what forum you use, seem to like each of you.

  36. KellyMigoya

    Amen! You have taken the words out of my mouth!
    From one mom who has undergone years of infertility, given birth to 2 beautiful children and adopted the love of the entir family, Princess Mia

  37. Just on an off note – I think this woman “gets it.” Maybe not how Nicole or others want her to, but more than my kids parents do. I think that she hurts for her son’s birth mother, I think she can be a nice woman. I don’t dislike her. I just don’t like the way that she has to seem to be in every single hot discussion. I don’t like some of the stuff she types and then goes back to edit (if you look you will see many many of her posts edited or her saying something like “edited to be nice”). I didn’t attack her like you thought I did – I just asked her to be respectful in a forum for birth parents. She has asked us to do the same in the Guatemalan forum that she post in. And I DO stay out it to be respectful to her, in fact I have never posted on it – so that we all have a place of sanctuary on the boards. I was asking the same favor in return. Ya know?

    I don’t think it’s wrong to jump in on a hot topic – I just think it is wrong to jump in to every hot topic ALL THE TIME. But you are right – when I see a post by this woman on a hot topic I might be too defensive. But if you look at that post – I only posted twice, and then sat back to read because I was hoping that things would get sorted out (I knew I needed to stay out of it as not to get too defensive). If you are still reading that thread you will see that it has taken a wonderful turn and become a dialogue again, and sometimes those things just need to happen to. I don’t like it – but sometimes we all need to argue things out to understand the other side.

    btw – It was because of a post in the Guat forum that her husband got angry with “the birthmothers” this was admitted freely. He does go on there to argue – once again this has been admitted.

    It took me 5 years to get back on the forums because I couldn’t handle it, because adoptive moms at the time were really awful to me. My boys are almost 12 – I’ve been at this for a while. Believe me when I say attitudes are better now, but it is because of “adoption reformists.” And I would not include myself in that group. My boy’s parents have all the power in the world in our relationship – they have hurt me over and over. I try to educate gently with the hope that aparents will have compassion where my boy’s parents don’t. I hope that women now will not have to go through some of the awful things I have gone through in our adoption.

    Last thing – the only pm’s that were shared where one’s that needed to have input on how to respond. Otherwise they are not shared.

  38. Mixed Nuts

    Bear’s Mommy,

    doing this from my phone so I can’t say as much as I would like. I do not frequent the forum. I followed a link from another site. It set me off because I have seen so many of the things said so many times. From your reply, it sounds like we may have more in common in how we see things than was originally thought. I will be back at my computer this evening to discuss more.

  39. I would like to publicly apologize to the lady I was talking about in my previous posts. It was wrong of me and not very Christ-like. If I had a problem with her I should have talked to her, not posted about it on this blog. I am sorry K, I really am.

  40. Mixed Nuts

    Bear’s Mommy,

    I really do appreciate some of the things that you said today. I plan to check out your blog and read your story. As I said earlier, that forum is not a place I visit (my only other experience was reading a thread that had been completely pulled, then posted on someone else’s blog). If there were people posting there that tend to be combative, I was not aware of it as I read. I did see that posts had been edited (and, I think, even pulled?) on both sides, so I figured that there had been some nasty things said (again, on both sides). As I said earlier, I was responding more to the fact that it was all stuff that I had heard said other places in the past (repeatedly).

    I don’t know if you have read the other comments at this point. If not, I did talk about my feelings on the idea of “saving” children in one of my initial responses to Nicole (comment 5, about 8 paragraphs down). While I do have my own feelings about God and adoption (which absolutely don’t include the concept that T~ was made to suffer to fulfill my desires for a child), I really don’t like it when conversations take the turn that they did on that forum. But I do agree with you that, in the grand scheme of things, adopting an infant has more to do with fulfilling the needs of parents than children (and will continue to be the case as long as there are more people wanting to adopt infants than babies who need adopting), but I don’t think that completely eliminates God from the equation, either. I don’t think that it is wrong for parents to want a baby, but I do think that they should use reputable agencies and be prepared to wait to fulfill that desire.

    I am sorry that you don’t have the type of relationship that you want with your sons’ (it was plural?) and their parents. I was, to the best of my knowledge, the first person to take advantage of my agency’s policy change to allow adoptive families to fully open their adoption after finalization. It is not always easy, but I am glad that we did it. T~ has actually pulled back over the years but at least she knows that we’re here and that she is welcome. After all that she went through, I’m glad that she can at least know who he is, where he is, and that he is doing well. And I believe that the vast majority of birth parents deserve that same kind of treatment (I can’t honestly say all–I have no relationship with N’s son, and there are very real reasons for that).

    Anyhow, long way of saying that it sounds like we are a lot closer in our opinions than it originally appeared.

  41. Mixed Nuts

    Nicole,

    I generally try to take the time to answer. The thing is, I already adressed this in a comment to you–number five, the one you told me you weren’t going to bother to read.

    And in all you wrote, you didn’t answer the question I asked. But I think I got the answer, anyhow.

  42. “sunfish26 Says:
    Great post, mixed nuts. As far as perspective goes, how can anyone have “the” perspective? It was described as, what was it?…. stepping back and looking at it from afar.

    Well, if I am an adoptee, and looking at it from afar, it will look a lot different than an adoptive mother looking at it from afar, and it will still look differently to a birthmother. Which of the three in the triad has the correct perspective? There is no way that only one part can have the correct perspective, and it is unlikely that all three will be in total agreement, so right there, you have a “I’m right, you’re wrong” fight waiting to happen.”

    Statements like this bother me because they infer that we are all equals with just different perspectives. Nothing could be further from the truth, it also saddens me that no where in either of these discussions is the adoptee treated like anything more than a tiara between two Miss Universe contestants.

  43. Mixed Nuts

    Mindy,

    I did not post your comment because it did not actually contribute to the discussion. I do not know the history between you and the person you attempted to attack here. If you would like to address the topic, I will be happy to post it as long as it is not hurtful. I’m more than willing to let people say what they want to disagree with me, but I can’t in good conscience allow this to be a place to perpetuate personal animosity.

  44. Mixed Nuts

    Joy,

    I’m sorry that you see it that way. I can’t address the perspective of the adoptee in a really personal way(other than to say that my son and nephew seem to be perfectly normal, well adjusted children). I do know that there are adult adoptees (from what I have seen of your posts in other places, it seems that you fall into this group) who have a lot of strong, sometimes negative, feelings about their adoptions. It is not my intent to invalidate those feelings, it is just that my only personal experiences with adult adoptees have been people that have shared very positive experiences (one of my best friends through high school was adopted from Korea–she was very encouraging when she first heard that we were going to adopt and still maintains that her family is her family–end of story).

    I guess, in a round-about way, what I am saying is that I don’t know if anyone who has contributed to the discussion thus far has been qualified to speak to the perspective of an adoptee. And since adoptees are usually too young to speak for themselves at the time of placement, we have to do the best we can as adults coming from the other two perspectives.

    I think I have said it during this discussion already, but if not, let me go on the record: I believe that it is the best interest of the child that should be given the utmost consideration. This should never be about what makes any of the adults involved “feel good” about themselves. Unfortunately, the sticky mess (usually) starts in the interpretation of what is best for the child, and sometimes situations arise where the ends most certainly do not justify the means. But that does not mean that all infant adoptions are inherently bad, as some people seem to repeatedly imply.

  45. sunfish26

    Joy…

    I have never treated my child like a tiara in a Miss Universe pageant. I think the voices of the adoptees need to be heard, too. Like Mixed Nuts said, alot of our children are too young to speak for themselves at placement. And I for one, (can’t speak for others here) understand that the only person that did not have a choice in our triad is him. Now, this can start a conversation about coercion, I know, but you focused your response on the adoptee. I chose to adopt, she chose to place, he did not have a say. I have never overlooked that for a second.
    To echo Mixed Nuts again, I know several adult adoptees, and they are all happy, well adjusted adults. I won’t say that people that have had a negative experience as adoptees don’t exist…I know they do, but my experience with them has been online only.
    When I adopted, I was willing to accept the fact that, someday, my child might walk out the door and never come back. I would like to think that I adopted with my eyes open.

  46. “no where in either of these discussions is the adoptee treated like anything more than a tiara between two Miss Universe contestants.”

    You’re right, Joy, and it isn’t okay. They may indeed, at the time of adoption, be too young to voice an opinion (obviously that’s the case with infant adoption) but it seems to me that adoptees should be the Subject of ethical considerations of adoption for _precisely_ that reason. Even when we say the fact that our child has no choice doesn’t escape us, that doesn’t mean that such awareness has affected our choices. My question in comment 27 was genuine, not rhetorical: “how often prospective parents allow [their awareness of children as the Subject rather than Object of adoption] to *affect the decision* for how they will adopt.”

  47. Thank you Abebech, and Thank you Mixed Nuts for letting my comments stand.

    I feel the commentary is now far field of the op and I apologize for that, but I do want to address Sunfish’s comment that she never treated her child like a tiara, my weak metaphor, because I didn’t mean to imply that at all, perhaps you (Sunfish) are feeling understandably defensive or sensitive, but I wasn’t slamming anyone’s parenting or doubting their love for their children or suggesting it was selfish in nature. I am sorry if I wasn’t clear on that point. What I was criticizing was the lack of discussion of the adoptee point of view.

    That as I so often witness in adoption ethics conversations is that the consideration of the effects of the adoption are volleyed between adoptive and natural parents to the exclusion of how adoption best serves the adoptee. To this point, I do believe that the cause of the natural mother is weighted because I believe that the best interest of the child is served by not separating the child from the mother, and I am not convinced that this harm, (the separation) is given sufficient weight.

    As someone else said the question shouldn’t be so much is adoption good for children, but is adoption good for THIS child in THIS situation.

    Given that if we believe Bowlby (sp?) Verrier, Lifton, Harlow and the wisdom of any 5 y.o., losing a mom hurts, it is a deep and abiding pain, which I personally think is physiologically impossible to avoid, I mean given what is generally accepted as infant psychology, there is no real argument there. If a mother is capable of parenting at all, she should. Of course not all mothers are, but that is not how adoption is sold, adoption is currently sold as a panacea to the unwelcome surprises that life can offer, i.e. infertility and unplanned pregnancy. I would hope that this would tilt the discussion to how do we best serve the children affected. This of course does not eliminate the need for adoption, but changes the equation, from taffy pull between what is better for the respective mothers to how do we best serve the children involved.

    My point isn’t to guilt adoptive mothers, but to emphasize that in fact adoption should be a social service benefitting children, which people have dismissed me for wanting, but I honestly can’t believe that is what the majority of parents of any varietal want.

    That being said about the defensiveness and sensitivity, please Mixed Nuts and Sunfish explain to me if I am not guilty of that myself when I read that most adoptees you know are “happy and well-adjusted” when I feel the implication is that I am not and should be dismissed. Again I am saying this with the caveat that I believe I may be overly sensitive to this comment, as I have heard that there are adoptees much better than me so often.

    For my own cred., I run a successful business, I have many decades long friendships, a happy family and get along reasonably well with both my adoptive and natural families. All of these things do not make me feel as if adoption practices as they are ethical, with most of my concern being the children involved. I am hardly a wizened, incompetent, disabled individual, and yet still I find this to be an incredibly abiding loss, the great, disturbing irony to me, I can’t even wish it away, I actually envy adoptees who are strictly anti-adoption it sounds so much easier than to know if I wished this pain in myself away, I would be wishing people I love out of my life.

    I don’t talk about adoption except on line, I find it hurts those around me, or confounds them.

    I am not implying every adoptee secretly thinks about adoption as I do, but am curious, if I with the external trappings of a good life, don’t qualify as happy and well-adjusted, and if not what defines that?

    Also the message that if you are happy and well-adjusted, you won’t also have difficult feelings, well, I have received this most of my life and parroted happy adoptee expressions much of my life out of self-protection, it is incredibly stigmatizing. It is the disenfranchised grief.

    Sorry to go ON, I am such a babble fingers, but I hope that you know, if you could hear my voice, it would be soft and curious and not accusatory. I am quite sincere in my questions.

  48. sunfish26

    Joy,
    I am sorry. I didn’t not mean to imply that because you are not “happy and well adjusted” (that is not coming out right, but I’m trying to use my own words for this post) there is something wrong with you. When I wrote about being happy and well adjusted, I meant it to apply to their situation as adoptees, not others, such as jobs, education, married life, etc… Just that, I know several adult adoptees that say, “Yeah, I’m adopted. I’m cool with it. No problems, no big deal.”

    I certainly do not want to invalidate your feelings and your experiences. Indeed, I know that there are others that share them with you.

    I understand your feelings about how in these conversations, the child is stuck in the middle and not heard. It almost makes me think of a child in a divorce. 😦 There are several types of adoptions with which I agree, and several that I do not, but ultimately, it is the choice of the woman relinquishing. Again, the child cannot be heard.

    I’ve said it on other blogs and I’ll say it here. This conversation is so difficult because there is not one person in the triad that is going to have the exact same view as another. It is interesting listening to the other perspectives, and thinking about them.

    I grasped your sincerity, by the way. I do not think you came across in a bad way. With regard to the Miss Universe analogy, I did not for a second think you were pointing fingers at anyone. I brought it up to point out that, while I cannot speak for everyone, my son was not viewed as a prize to be won, which you did not say. I am thankful that you are not judging me. Too much judging is going on all over the place, making this dialogue nearly impossible to be productive..

  49. Mixed Nuts

    Joy,

    Far from cencoring you, I would like to ask your permission to repost this last comment as a new post (with my response) to open a new discussion, since this thread is getting really long. I do think that it could be an interesting discussion to get a discussion going about.

    Of course, in asking this, understand that there are aspect of your response that I am going to disagree with.

    What do you think?

  50. Mixed Nuts, I just want to tell you thank you for presenting the other side. Honestly I am so tired and disgusted that I’ve stopped reading these arguments so I apologize for not being informed on the discussion you’ve had above.

    I did want to make sure I told you that I appreciate your post and am thankful you took the time to read our discussions and then provide an intelligent blog presenting the side of the less forceful majority.

    -Jess

  51. Mixed Nuts:

    Certainly, and you didn’t have to ask but it was considerate of you.

  52. Pingback: christian adoption agency

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