Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Myths and Misconceptions II

Here is part 2 from Tamra:

"people who choose adoption are very young, have drug problems, are very poor, and have very unstable lifestyles"

i wish this WERE true but as a result of these instabilities, in my observation, such women generally lack the clarity and presence of mind to choose adoption. on the contrary, i've seen conscientious, selfless, responsible people who, for those qualities, would make the best parents (in fact by putting their child's needs above their own, that's just what they're being).
while women of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and circumstances have chosen adoption, the average age is 22. a young girl's frontal lobe is not fully developed and she often won't have a very clear sense of the reality of tomorrow or the needs of another person outside of herself. so she's going mainly on instinct, which of course dictates that she does not separate from her offspring. even at 18 it was nothing short of divine intervention that got me to, and through the decision. that said, i have known girls, young as 12, wise beyond their years and they are my heroes!
one of my many resistances to the idea of adoption was that i thought i didn't fit the bill. i thought adoption was for "those girls", the ones who would clearly be terrible parents. but i knew i was a good person, i would be a good mom. i thought, if you CAN raise your child, you do. i now know, it's a matter of good, better, best.

"adopted kids are always screwed up, if you place for adoption, your baby will be too"

i think it's funny now that i actually worried about this. there are several factors playing into this misconception. one is that people don't make the distinction between foster, international, and birthparent or infant adoptions. which is not at all to say that children adopted through the state or internationally WILL be "screwed up" but it certainly comes with a different set of challenges. the study i've seen showed that children adopted within the first 6 months of life (barring any abuse or neglect) showed no negative repercussions as a result of having been adopted. when compared to their peers they did as well or better in areas of academics, behavior, identity, or feelings of belonging. then when compared to those raised by single, biological parents the gap widens.
i think another factor is, yet again, the influence of the past. in the "dark ages of adoption" there was no openness, no information, no communication from a birthparent, and there was alot of shame and secrecy. we've learned from these mistakes and we now see that those things contributed to feelings of abandonment and inferiority. in this day of open, real, working relationships between birth and adoptive families, a child knows they came from love to love. they were not unwanted. they have EXTRA family who cherish them. there are no gaps in their identity. this is something that makes them special. we don't whisper about adoption anymore. there is nothing to hide!
furthermore, you cannot imagine the screening and procedures a couple goes through to adopt these days. and infertility can be quite the refiners fire. i think these folx are the cream of the crop! and after their work and wait and worry, and knowing the sacrifice it came from, they don't take parenthood lightly and they don't take their children for granted.

"the birthmom might try to take back the baby"

this is the stuff of Lifetime-made for TV-movies.
in GA i had 2 weeks after placement to change my mind. this added to my hell. i know some states allow up to 6 months. in UT the moment relinquishment has been signed it is already binding. even where it's possible, it is rare that a mother will change her mind after placement. adoption is not something that a person chooses half hearted or on a whim. my thoughts, while feeling that crushing loss, were that i would NEVER want them (his parents) to feel it. knowing what i knew, that that family was his, that they were better, even than my best, that THAT was the life that he was SUPPOSED to have, how could i take it away from him.
and again, things are not what they once were. if i'd chosen adoption because of social, religious, or family pressure instead of my own conviction that it was right for us. if i never held him or said goodbye. if i had to wake up every morning wondering where he was, with who, does he get enough kisses, is he fed well, etc. under these circumstances i can see how a person would have no peace and i'm certain i would have lost my mind. but this is NOT adoption today. as a birthmom sees the family she helped create, sees her baby laugh, sees the love his parents have for him, her decision is confirmed and solidified.

"no parent can love a child like their biological mother"

the instant i first saw him....words fail. i recognized immediately that i had never felt love before that moment. i felt my heart grow inside of my chest. i would've given my right arm for him, i'd've stepped infront of a bus for him. there was NOTHING i wouldn't have done for him. the world stopped....for moments while i tried to understand how he could be real. i recognized him. that moment is preserved in my heart. i feel it now as i shed even more grateful tears.
i regret i wasn't there the first time Debbie saw her Justin (but my heart still melts at the thought of it). i have NO doubt that HER heart grew! that SHE knew him! that HER gratitude has spilled out through her tears for 13 years. she IS giving her life for him! day by day.
while the the blood we share is real and significant, it is not as real and as significant as is the sealing covenant. and biology does not have to exist for genuine family love to. i know that they COULD not love him more if he had their genes. i believe he was theirs before he was mine.

(these are my own views and commentaries. i only represent myself in these statements. opinions may very, even among my adoption peers)

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