My husband and I just ended our venture into adopting…a true orphan. Orphan adoption, to me, is a double-edged sword. I do believe that it is a “business”, perhaps even meeting the standards of a cartel. I’m sure that in the deep dark alleys of the world, there are soul-less individuals who get paid to “steal” children in order to sell them to the highest bidder. Having my own experiences in infertility; I can understand the desperation of those who just want a baby to hold. Yet, there are children who truly are abandoned. True orphans. For instance, a friend of mine adopted a little girl who was abandoned on a street corner. This little girl had already suffered immeasurable loss by the time she was a few weeks old. Certainly, the best alternative for her was placement in a loving family rather than an institution. That, to me, is what adoption should be. What it is supposed to be. Not what it has become.
So, why do I hate adoption? I hate any adoption that is done through coercion. The deliberate making of an orphan out of a child. I hate the type of adoption that I experienced firsthand and have come to learn so many other “birth” mothers, like myself, have experienced.
I fell victim to the coercion of the machine. I was 18 and green. I had a strong-willed mother and a money-hungry adoption agency on my back. There was no counseling. Only the persistent notion that I was either selfish for keeping my own child or selfless for giving a “gift” to a needy family.
I read the other day, another “birth” mother, “first” mother, whatever you will, talking about “adoption fog”. She expressed it perfectly. Once you realize what you’ve fallen for its like stepping out of a fog. I was told I was in a “crisis” pregnancy, but it seemed the only people who made it a “crisis” were those around me. I felt at peace with my daughter. I had a healthy pregnancy and loved her from the first day. There was certainly no “crisis” between the two of us. My pregnancy was made into a crisis by those whom I believed at the time were looking out for me.
For years after, I lived in crisis mode. It would take me years of blogging to relate all the messed up stuff your mind believes after letting go of your child. Mostly, it revolves around not being good enough…for anyone or anything. I wondered at the time why I would have married a man that physically and emotionally abused me. I wondered why a once high-achieving Dean’s List student would just drop out of school one semester before earning a degree. Now that I’m out of the adoption fog, its all crystal clear.
Self-loathing has probably been my greatest token from adoption. I was a mother, wanting to raise my own child, but being shown by my own mother and an agent that I just sucked too much. That my daughter would be better off with complete strangers thousands of miles away than having me raise her. It took about 7 months to break me down and I finally gave in to that theory. I embraced it. I marinated in it. I was the walking embodiment of sucking too much. I didn’t venture into drug abuse like many others do. I did drink a little too much, with subconscious desires of slipping into eternal numbness. I still managed to maintain a respectable façade. I bought my own home, car, and kept a steady job with an impeccable work ethic. But I hated me. To this day, because of that one decision in my life, I have to fight against hating me.
I don’t necessarily believe self-loathing was the intention of my mother or the agency. But, for many in the adoption triad, the dirty details don’t matter. Just as much as one family desperately wants to adopt a baby; there is another family who wants a baby desperately to be adopted. Making a mother feel absolutely worthless and no good for her own child is certainly the best way to make that match in my experience.
I’m new to being out of the fog. For so long, I felt like I would eventually believe the “reasons” for my daughter’s adoption. They were always my mom’s reasons, but I thought with age I would come to understand her wisdom. Its been nearly 2 decades and every year I only gain more confusion and anger. The closest I can relate it to is being an amputee because you were told your perfectly healthy arm was better off not being attached to you. I loved my arm. I thought we had a great relationship. I would have enjoyed the rest of my life with my arm. But, maybe those older than me knew better. They had some secret wisdom that I would come to understand with age as to why my arm and I were better off without each other. Then you realize there was never a crisis between you and your arm. Your body wasn’t sick. Those around you were.
I am an amputee. Living without a healthy relationship with my own daughter. My daughter who needs “space” because it is all too overwhelming for her. Certainly I understand. I was made a stranger to her. It was all supposed to be for her “best” interest. Yet, I’ve come to find out she has been medicated and counseled for nearly a decade because of this “best” interest. She was unnecessarily made an orphan. As much as I feel not “good enough” for her, she has felt not “good enough” for me. This was not our natural course. This was thrust upon us by my own family, but just as much by an agency looking to make its rent.
An agency that offered no counseling to me and at no point ever asked me what I wanted or how I could achieve my desires. I look back at that 18 year old and wish that I could have had one honestly concerned person in my life. I found out not long ago that the same agency is still in business. I wonder how many other countless mothers have had their children guilted and shamed out of their arms. I wonder how many helped pay the rent before me.
I wonder how “G” is doing. She was the virtually lifeless woman that was appointed to counsel me weeks after my adoption because I wasn’t adjusting “well”. My mom set us up through our local crisis center. “G” was 10 years post adoption at the time. She was supposed to counsel me into feeling better, but if anything she scared me even more. She was by all measures a zombie. I look back now and think that she was there to counsel because she too was losing her handle on adoption being for her and her daughter’s “best” interests. Maybe she was there to try to convince herself that she had done the right thing. I only met with her 2 or 3 times. It was painfully clear she regretted her decision. I saw my future in her eyes. I would join her in the ranks of the walking dead for many years.
My hope for other scared moms out there. Those who are being told they are no good for their own children. I want society to approach these women differently. Abortion is not what they want or need. Neither is adoption. Help. Just help in raising their children. Keeping their family ties together. Making it through the “crisis” and staying together on the other side. So many mothers face temporary problems and don’t need the permanent solutions of abortion and adoption. Those seem to be the easy fixes though. There is financial profit in both adoption and abortion. There isn’t financial profit in keeping mothers and children together. But it sure would profit the soul.