Is adoption a blessing? Some truly believe it to be, but I don’t see it as such a simple answer. There are three types of adoptions. There are those that are legitimate because an actual orphan is involved. Even then, those can be controversial because how exactly was that child made an orphan? There are so many socioeconomic conditions at play. Was the child kidnapped and sold by someone in order to financially benefit at the cost of that child’s family? Was the child from a family left in such destitute poverty that abandonment seemed the only righteous answer? Is there a government threatening the lives of children born without a license? Was the child truly orphaned?
There are mutually agreed upon adoptions. Those women who seek out adoption, place a child with every belief that they did the right thing for the rest of their lives, and seem to move on without trauma. This, to me, is the elusive unicorn. I have yet to come across this mother, but maybe she doesn’t feel the need to blog. She has moved on.
Then there are coercive adoptions. These perhaps are more frequent in wealthy nations like the U.S. Many of us have heard about the Baby Scoop Era. Most people believe it ended sometime in the 70’s. Did it really end or did agencies just learn how to better manipulate their “clients”? I think the Baby Scoop Era still exists, but it has been remade. Its no longer a secret, but a “blessing”.
Psychological warfare is not uncommon in the adoption world. I was certainly a victim of it. If you’ve read my previous blogs, the details of my story are pretty thorough. I’d like to focus on two things in this post- tearing down of the mother, and the eventual tearing down of faith.
I didn’t “choose” adoption. After months of my mother nagging me, I decided only to find the contact number of a local agency. I kept that number stashed away until I was nearly 7 months pregnant. My efforts didn’t seem to be paying off. I was working full time. I was attending parenting classes. I was saving every dime I made. I was trying to bridge the gap with my ex-boyfriend. My mother wasn’t open to my being a single mother at 19, so reasoning with her was impossible. I hoped through my perseverance she would see how much I wanted to raise my daughter. At the end of the day, I still needed a roof over my head, which had been threatened. I still needed a car, which had been totaled in a hit and run when I was 2 months pregnant (thanks a-hole semitruck driver who left me for dead).
How did the agency come into play? With adoption, you have to be broken. Your sense of self has to be destroyed. How is this done? As kindly as possible because these people are there to “help” you. So, I was convinced by the tag team (my mother and my agent) that keeping my daughter would be doing the impossible. I would put her through years of unnecessary struggle. Her father would destroy her sense of self by coming in and out of her life. Every aspect of the future is focused on what an absolutely crap life you have to offer your own child whom you love more than life itself. ie- YOU are being selfish.
What is the alternative? What would a mother do who truly loved her child? Give her away to a caring family who could raise her with all the opportunities you wish your pathetic self could do. Face this mind-fubar in a time of stress and fear; it works amazingly well. ie- YOU are being selfless. Isn’t that what a mother is supposed to be? Selfless? I wanted to be as selfless as I could be for that little angel. She had become my world. I wanted to fiercely protect her. I was convinced, by those I trusted, that in order to protect her I had to protect her from myself.
Before adoption ravaged my life, I was decently confident. I had my doubts, but I wasn’t socially awkward. I was an honor student. I had a scholarship. I had never had problems speaking in front of people. My major depended heavily on public speaking. I had never questioned myself in front of audiences. Fast forward a few months post-adoption and I could barely say hello to a stranger. This overwhelming sense of anti-social behavior had made its presence known.
Somehow, I had the wherewithal to notice it and tried my best to remedy it. I decided to waitress because it would make me socialize with numerous strangers a day. I learned that I adjusted to the routine and almost treated it as being an actor. Once I went back to college, it was harder to disguise my newly found social anxiety. I didn’t want to exist. I didn’t want to be the center of attention where not only I had to admit my existence, but a roomful of people would bare witness to my existence. I dropped out of college with one semester left towards my bachelor’s degree. I had credits for an associate’s. I went to work in a cubicle for an insurance agency and embraced my non-existence.
I look back and realize now how I could have had such a change in my personality. In order for me to place my daughter for adoption; I had to be torn down. I had to convince myself that I was worthless. Of course, keeping her would have been selfish. So, as my mother pleaded with me not to quit school, what exactly did she expect? In one instance, I’m worthless and selfish. Two years later, somehow I am incredibly smart and limitless.
If I had been told those truths about myself earlier, perhaps I’d not only have my bachelor’s degree and a career, but more importantly my daughter. Thing is, I don’t care about the degree and career today. I love staying home with my little ones. I could’ve used that encouragement with my daughter. But then I’d have an embarrassed family, an unpaid agent, and a family without the blessing of my child.
Speaking of blessings. It was laid on thick that my relinquishment was a blessing. I was blessing a family with a child. I was blessing my child with a worthy family. Utter perversion.
I was a Christian in name only when I was 19. I remember the only question I had for the adopting family was if they too were Christians. Somehow I felt there would be this unspoken sense of connection. I received a weak affirmative reply. Even as a non-Christain Christian, it seemed suspect to me at the time. As if anything might be admitted to in order to adopt. But, again with everything being a “blessing”. I went against my own instincts.
I truly became a Christian 10 years ago. Wow. It is amazing how Christ can take your crap and throw it to the wind. Those were 10 really good years. Then this last fall my daughter decided that our connection was too overwhelming for her. And I’ve hit this place that I don’t understand. All these years, I’ve held onto the hopes that all things would work through Christ. But, my daughter has communicated things to me that have broken my heart from afar. And I have no recourse. No authority in her life.
This adoption that was sold to me as a blessing for her has been anything but. So, I find myself questioning God. I find myself questioning those who I thought were Christians- people I had trusted. Can it truly be a blessing that a child is manipulated from the arms of a mother into the arms of strangers? The adoptive family has always been kind to me. I have admired them in many ways over the years. At the same time, they are politically and spiritually my polar opposites. This family my mother picked out as a “blessing” has never once taken her to church. In fact, they dabble with Buddhism.
These are things you cannot control from the outside looking in. These are things that aren’t communicated to you in those moments of fear. Adoptive families can make decisions regarding your child that you have absolutely no say in. Perhaps, you’re liberal and come to realize you couldn’t have placed your child with a more conservative family. Or you’re non-religious and years later the family decide to become Mennonites. There are those small nuances that make us who we are, perhaps making that child even more a stranger to you through the years. So now, my daughter and I have no religion or politics to share on top of not having national heritage since my mom sent her out of the country. There is no “lifebook” that can prepare you for handing your child over to strangers.
Coercive adoption, or adoption, must destroy self. It will take nearly a lifetime to rebuild. The person I was before is just no more. It has tested my faith. I wish so badly adoption was not referred to as a “blessing”. There is tremendous pain and loss that has led to the point of adoption. I don’t believe, and never will believe, God placed a child in my womb specifically for another woman. I do believe I was manipulated by individuals perverting God’s word for their selfish desires. Perhaps, adoption can be a “blessing” in those rare instances of true orphans. We are commanded to take care of orphans. There is no where that we are commanded to make orphans. Adoption, for non-orphans, tears down both self and faith.