Thursday, November 5, 2009

Toward Making Quality Decisions

So, for my inspiration for this months' adoption-themed posts, I have decided to pull a lot of stuff out of my old scrapbook from the year that I placed "Cosette" for adoption. I decided earlier today, I wanted to focus on this idea of the steps taken to make a quality, strong decision. I know that one of the papers I was given when I was working through this process was titled "Toward Quality Decision Making." Unfortunately, over the years, I have used the materials in this binder/scrapbook for various presentations and visiting with individual birthmoms, so it looks like somewhere between here and there, I have misplaced the paper.

And it has been a while since I actually eye-balled what it said, so you are just going to have to get a general idea of what it said, as I try to explain my thinking about the decision-making process here.

Let me tell you now where I am coming from. Recently, I have run across a couple individuals on adoption sites who are pretty bent on representing the "true, ugly" side of adoption. I have been pretty bothered by these people as I watch others participating in what is meant to be a positive forum for expressing our views on adoption, mostly on the good things we have experienced because of how we have been touched by adoption. Obviously, we also have opinions about how the adoption process could be improved, but most of us believe in the idea that adoption can be a great blessing in the lives of all involved.

But then there are a couple extremely vocal people, determined to scare away any potential birth moms, and bash adoptive parents as baby snatchers. Let me just tell you now, this really pisses me off. And if you know me, I never use that phrase (pisses me off--sounds so dirty). But it does. Irks me like you wouldn't believe. These individuals clearly never came to terms with their own decision and because of that, since they can't change their own path, they want to stuff it down everyone's throats that considering adoption is evil. I hate seeing those kinds of posts. I hate that these individuals are so vocal and hateful in a place that is meant to be nurturing and healing for birthmothers and struggling infertile couples, etc.

One in particular expressed the idea that at the time she chose a placement plan, she believed it was God's will and she was at peace with her decision. For several years, she claims. Then one day, she listened to vocal grown adoptees chattering about how their lives sucked because of adoption, and she suddenly decided she had made a horrible mistake. And I can't help but wonder if the clinical depression she doesn't specifically mention, but which is obviously present, influenced her mindset, convincing her that the reason she was so unhappy was because she gave up a baby 20 years before. Seriously folks, and her mission is to teach others not to get sucked into the trap. Ugh, it just makes me mad. She just doesn't get it.

I don't mean to belittle the way she is feeling. It just bothers me when someone has to come out and say how much they regret a decision they made decades ago, and how they can't help but wonder what their life might have been like had they chosen a different path.

When I first started sharing my adoption story, I had some people come to me and say after they chose to marry (because of an unexpected pregnancy) or single parent, they always kind of wondered how things might have been different had they considered adoption. My answer would always be the same. You don't wonder about things like that. You recognize the beautiful child you have now, celebrate where you are now, change what might need changing, and move forward. You don't look back. That decision was made long ago. You own it, you accept it, you don't ever regret it. You just move on.

You see, the choice I made, to choose an adoption plan for my unborn daughter nearly seventeen years ago now, that was not something I just jumped into. I considered my options. I looked at the pros and cons of each. I grabbed onto to the one that felt most right to me. I prayed about it. I prayed some more. I felt good about my decision. I held onto that peace. I KNOW I made the right choice. If I regret anything it is that it took me going through this experience to recognize the testimony I already had of the Gospel. But knowing that, I resolved never to lose sight of that testimony again.

You can't go back. Don't ever waste time on regret. Through this experience, I have learned the value of making good, clear decisions. And I do believe in owning those decisions, even the ones we let happen by default, by not deciding anything, even that is a choice we make.

I had a friend in college who knew she was her parents' oops baby, the child they got married because of. They had a strong marriage and a happy family, but somewhere in there, this girl grew with a sense of insecurity, like she messed up her parents' lives. I don't know if at some point they inadvertantly gave her that impression (or even intentionally) or if she was just reading things that weren't there, but I know it always bothered her. It was hard for me to see her struggle with that.

So, I say. Live and accept your choices, good and bad. Don't let one (or several) bad choices hold you back. I made a bad choice when I got myself into a situation where I became pregnant before I was ready to start a family. But I did my best to really think through the big decisions that came later, as a result of that action. I am grateful for the knowledge I acquired then about making decisions I can live with.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. Hope that made sense.


Kd and Clay said...

nice post Nan. Thanks for sharing!

famr_4evr said...

Nan, this was so good for me to read! Thanks. I occasionally get down in the dumps over something I did DECADES AGO. Now look at where I am, and life TOTALLY RULES! Thanks for the reminder. I hope everyone who has something they regret from their past will read this and know that life goes on and it gets, not just better, but GREAT!

Kim said...

You're such a good writer.