First, before I jet off into story land, I want to profusely thank all of my friends for their concern and encouragement in regards to our latest developments. Your prayers have meant more to me now than ever, and I ask that you continue them as our adoption journey has not ended but taken a pit stop. Our journey will just be a little longer than anticipated!
I have been wanting to write about this for awhile. Since it looks as though I will have some time on my hands before we adopt, I guess I'll indulge myself by telling you this story.
About a year and a half ago, I was contacted out of the blue by my aunt. She seemed a little uneasy, but as the conversation matured it became apparent, she was looking for a potential family for her unborn grandchild. As it would turn out, my husband and I felt that we wanted to take this on in order to keep this child in the family not to mention that new life in our family would be eagerly absorbed and enjoyed. My cousin was a young 17 yr old who had already given birth to one daughter on her 16th birthday and now found herself expecting another little girl.
When this call came in, my youngest (our ninth) was only five months old and my next (our 8th) was not even two yet. We quickly retained a lawyer who would help navigate us through a private adoption. The only hang up was whether the potential father would relinquish his rights and let his daughter be adopted out. As it turned out, this would be the least of our concerns.
As the due date drew near, I felt a keen interest and desire to learn more about the issue birth moms have in relinquishing their children. The mother of this new baby would be doing something I could never imagine doing. I needed to know how to minister to her and realize the pain she would have to endure....and after all, the mother, my cousin, was a part of our family as well. In my quest to find literature that pertained to birth mothers' issues, I was surprised to find how sparse the pickings were. There were tons of books about issues with adoptive children and being an adoptive parent but hardly anything regarding birth mothers. All in all, I was able to find about four to five books dealing with this issue. As I would eventually conclude, birth mothers historically have been the ugly step daughter of the adoptive process and, as a result, have had to grieve silently and painfully with shame as their muzzle.
I couldn't wait to devour these books. I was sure they would give me all the answers I would need. Now, I could feel good about the adoption and I could make myself feel even better about the fact that I "cared" about the mom and her outcome. This couldn't have been further from the truth. What these books did do was open a slew of ethical questions in my mind regarding the whole practice of adoption. What seemed to be the main theme running through the books was that, for the most part, the birth mothers really never heal from the adoptive process. I read case after case after case where mothers told their stories anywhere from 1 to 40 years ago detailing their experience of releasing their child. Heartbreaking. Regret screamed out of the pages I turned. And yet, this is a topic that no one really talks about.....authors don't write about. This is because no one wants to read it, no one wants to admit it.....that adoption is not always the best answer. There are thousands upon thousands of children that have been adopted out when it would have been better had the child stayed with their family.
It's a marketing issue. It's a "fulfilling-a-desire-at-all-costs" issue. There is a load of money to be made through the adoptive process. There is no money to be made in trying to keep mothers and children intact. This would take conviction, time and money. So, you tell me, which option do you think wins?
Now, don't get me wrong. I am PRO adoption but only for the right reasons. Death of parents, abandonment, drugs abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse are all reasons to preserve children's' lives and adoption may be a good option. Some may argue "that a teenage mom has no business raising children!" or "that mom has a right to get an education!" or even "it just wasn't a good time to have a child." Internationally speaking, corruption is also a huge issue that persuades / forces capable parents to put their children up for adoption. But you have to realize that many of the situations that are a reason for relinquishment are temporary...but giving up a child is forever.
In my mind, adoption is based on loss for both parent and child. And if I were queen for a day and had to make a criteria of when adoption was called for, it would be the following: If the wounds of adoption are less injurious than the wounds created by letting the child stay with the parent, then adoption is a good option. If a child has no living parents, then adoption is the only option (this includes by family members as well).
Now that I had these questions, was it really best to let my cousin give up her unborn daughter to us? Did it fit my "queen for a day" criteria above? Was there possibly a way that she could remain united with her children without going through the terminal heartbreak that would result from relinquishing her flesh and blood? Honestly, these were questions that were difficult for me to face and admit. The desire of having yet another newborn in our arms to love and cherish threatened to override my conscience, and ashamedly, it would for a time. Instead of going to my husband and telling him of my concerns, I stayed quiet and convinced myself that God wanted us to do this......
(to be con't)