By: Meika Rouda
I know it sounds naive, but I never thought there would be anyone against adoption. However, my last post introduced me to a new world where people are very much adoption haters. Where birthmothers feel babies are being “taken away”, where women and babies will long for each other for the rest of their lives, where adoption is an evil business that promotes baby stealing and destroys families instead of building them. In fact the idea that families are built is repugnant.
Does this sound shocking? It did to me. When I was doing some research for a book I am working on I googled “Cost of Adoption” facts, and what came up were hundreds of sites dedicated to this anti-adoption movement. I am a believer in free speech, even when that speech is hateful and poisonous, but reading these sites and hearing what women had to say about adoption was depressing and made me angry. Most of the sites were created by birthmothers who regret placing their children. I know this is a real issue that happens; I have read the “Primal Wound” and heard many women confess that they maybe gave up babies without thinking of the long term repercussions. But I also know it is unusual in this day and age for a woman to place a baby for adoption without really thinking about it. Without realizing there are factors in their current situation that will make being a mother difficult. Perhaps it is health or finances or lack of emotional support but being a mother is not an easy job and it is a job that lasts a lifetime. In an age where abortion is legal, women have many choices about parenting. I believe very firmly in the right to choose. And if you give birth and place your baby, there is a good reason you are doing it.
In my instance as an adopted person, my birthmother wasn’t ready to be a mother; she wanted to finish college. I respect that and am grateful to her for placing me in a family where I am loved and cared for and feel a deep sense of identity. She did the right thing for me. What would my life have been like if she had decided to keep me? I will never know but I do know it would have been a harder life, with a single mom who was working and in school. Is it better to be in your natural family even if your parents resent you? No. And I am confident that at some point of my young birthmother’s life she would have resented me. I would have stopped her from experiencing her early adult years, I would have been a burden for her.
This is the case for my daughter’s birthmom as well who was young, who loved her baby, and wanted the best for her. I remember a conversation my husband and I had with our daughter’s birthparents, in their hospital room after the birth. The birthfather said to me, “Raising a baby would be fine, we can handle that. It is later in life, when she is older, that we don’t think we are prepared. We haven’t finished school, we don’t have jobs, even with our families helping us we aren’t ready to be parents.” I thought this was incredibly mature for a 20-year-old to say to me. They had thought this out and wanted to do what was best for everyone involved.
My son’s birthmother was single, already had three other children, two of whom she didn’t have custody of, and was just getting clean from an addiction to pain killers. Adoption was a relief for her. She definitely couldn’t raise this baby and was grateful to us for adopting him.
So for the adoption haters out there, know that there are other stories, and my hope is that you come to peace with the decisions you made and learn to forgive yourself. I guarantee the babies you placed will forgive you if that is what you are looking for. And if you are adopted and long for your birthmother, go find her. Hopefully that will fill the void you claim adoption has created in you. But I think the only one who can heal you is you.
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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