How do you view adoption…

25 May


Hopefully this makes sense: Something I have pondered is how “adoption” is viewed by different groups found in the adoption community.  I understand that not all defined by a specific group will view “adoption” the same, and not what I mean to imply.  Rather how a group may typically view “adoption” through their role / lens.

Personally, I view “adoption” or “being adopted” as a combination of both events.  The first event that must happen, the surrender, and the second event, the adoption, as my adoption experience.  I don’t separate the two events: surrender happens with the expectation of the babe being adopted; adoption cannot happen without the surrender.  The reality is that I was party to both events, and both events without the other would not have happened.  Basically that both sides of the equation are one continuous event to me.

I’m interested to hear from adoptees and both set of parents in the adoption community how they see it.  I understand I have made the above very simple, and I didn’t include foster care, or international scenarios, because far too many examples would have to be given –  but I think although different reasons why the babe needs a home exist both processes must occur.  It’s whether you view the events separately, or, as both must happen (cause and effect) so ultimately one event.


Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


Tags: , , , , , ,

13 responses to “How do you view adoption…

  1. eagoodlife

    May 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    For adoptees it will always be a continuum. For non-adoptees who don’t experience the act of adoption and the life of adoption much simpler.


    • TAO

      May 26, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      I’m not so sure all adoptees feel the same – that’s why I through it out there. Kind of the same lines of needing the biological ties, or it allows them to split the parents into two completely different lines. I don’t know.


  2. iwishiwasadopted

    May 26, 2013 at 2:14 am

    I think of it as one and the same, I was given up, and adopted as one event. One would not exist without the other. My teenage brother told me that my adoption was something that happened 50 years ago, and I should be over it by now. My dad married a woman 4 years younger than me. They started sleeping together when she was 14 and he was 40. My half brother is 32 years younger than me. I have 3 children older than him. I know this has nothing to do with the question, it just rattles my cage sometimes.


    • TAO

      May 26, 2013 at 10:58 pm

      I can see why it would rattle your cage – it would be weird to have to have to call someone younger your aunt or uncle.


  3. iwishiwasadopted

    May 26, 2013 at 2:19 am

    PS, My mom was 14 when she started up with dad too. He was 17, so it wasn’t as bad. Mom aborted his first when she was 16, at dad’s request. I was born when they were 19 & 22. He has a taste for teens. His second wife aborted her first with dad too, at his request He signed off as her guardian for the procedure. He let his second wife keep 2 other kids with him.


  4. barb_aloot

    May 26, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I view it as cause and effect. My son being adopted was a direct result of steps his first mother took. Without getting into his details, her actions could have no other result. In our case, I don’t really think of it as one event but as a series of connected events because he spent eight months in an orphanage between losing his first mother and actually, physically, legally joining my family. But he was a healthy infant; there was zero chance of him remaining in an orphanage, so I’m not under any delusion that he was ever in danger of languishing in an orphanage indefinitely or that adopting him was somehow separate from or unrelated to his loss of his first mother. There is no way to know what she would have done if adoption was not a possibility. She knew, she acted to place him in the system in a safe and responsible way, he was adopted. The details are not simple, but to me, the relationship between the events is.

    I’m not sure this is universal. I’m thinking of a relative who was adopted in different circumstances where her first mother was under duress. It is possible she would have made the decision to surrender her daughter freely, but she had no power to make that decision. I’m sure a term like ‘surrender’ or ‘place’ fits all situations. (This was 60+ years ago.) But I am not at all sure she would have. It’s complicated, but the APs knew her. I don’t think they were looking to adopt, but I know they were delighted to have this daughter and they made a real effort to stay in contact with the first mother. If the adoption had not happened, in that situation, it is possible both mother and child would have remained institutionalized for who knows how long or put into some form of servitude.


    • TAO

      May 26, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      Series of connected events is a better way to word it – many from my era were not placed for months either – I was “somewhere” for 2.5 months and it has always bugged me that I had no idea where and neither did mom or dad.

      Even though most mothers were not instituionalized to that degree – many had no choice either if they resided in a maternity home because there were tricks played by some – where if the mother wanted to take her child home suddenly there was a huge bill due that even a middle class family would have had a hard time paying – let alone a mother whose family wasn’t happy. Why I chose to say surrender primarily because it fits both that era (or any that had no real choice situation), and it is also the technical definition of what you do when you sign the termination of parental rights – you voluntarily surrender your parental rights.


  5. marilynn

    May 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I reunite families that have separated for all sorts of reasons and I’ve thought a lot about what adoption is or is not and how it is like or unlike other things and whether its one event or a series of steps. My answer comes from having been asked this question on film for a movie about donor assisted reproduction: “What is the difference between adoption and donor conception?” I answered “Adoption reacts to family separation, donor conception causes it; you cannot reasonably compare the two things”

    People are the parents of their own offspring and the only way anyone else gets to play the roll of parent in their children’s lives is if they fail to take care of them themselves. So lets be real clear that a person’s parents have to fail them before anyone else can step in and take over that parental roll in their lives. It may not be the fault of the parent – maybe they died or maybe the kid was kidnapped or maybe their gametes were stolen in some fertility lab scandal but in the end they failed to take care of their own child which left room for someone else to step in and take over.

    I think the only logical way to make sense of what it’s like to be adopted or to be a donor’s offspring or to be someone’s stepped-on quasi-marital child is to break it out, break it down and say OK I was separated from my family under these circumstances and how do I feel about that? OK then I came to be these other people’s adoptive child or social child or foster child or whatever kind of legal child under these other circumstances and how do I feel about that? The answer will vary person to person circumstance to circumstance but if you view it as a continuum its not a fair appraisal. For example you can be furious with your parents for abandoning you for a life of drugs and recklessness and be happy your adoptive parents are so fantastic. Or you could be really sad that your parents were so young and poor they could not keep you but were able to keep your siblings when they were older and more secure and still be happy that you were adopted by great people. Or be mad you were adopted by crappy people. Or be mad you were not adopted at all but had your step father’s name put on your birth record.

    Should you have to loose your status in one family to gain your status in another? The answer should be NO. It really should be possible to remain the child of your parents while becomming the adopted child of your adoptive parents. There really is no reason why your identity and legally recognized kinship as a member of your genetic family needs to be un-recognized in order to become an adopted member of another family. If you look at adoption as a reaction to family separation not a cause then its easier to see what laws need to change anyway. That’s how it seems from where I sit with no two adoptive circumstances even remotely similar.


    • TAO

      May 27, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      “OK I was separated from my family under these circumstances and how do I feel about that? OK then I came to be these other people’s adoptive child or social child or foster child or whatever kind of legal child under these other circumstances and how do I feel about that? The answer will vary person to person circumstance to circumstance but if you view it as a continuum its not a fair appraisal.”

      Marilyn, I think people have the ability to see something as a continum or a series of events that happened with the intention of adoption as the outcome – still have the ability to view and feel about the people within separately. Holding conflicting emotions about people (if someone does) inside that series of events is easily done because they are all unique individuals and hold different roles.

      That really wasn’t what the post was about and I worried I wasn’t finding the right words to explain the question I was asking. I will try to come up with better words – some within the adoption community see the two events as separate and distinct so perhaps they see being separated (the surrender) as what can cause the trauma and the adoption as what creates a new bond and heals the child – which to me seems unrealistic when mixed with the reality that mothers are solicited to choose adoption – no one solicits a mother to choose to surrender her babe to the unknown or orphanage – so the surrender is solicited with the end goal being adoption, with the first part being necessary before the second part can take place. I just wanted to know if people see them as isolated events, or a series of events, that were put into motion with the end result that a child is born to one family and legally a member of another.

      Probably doesn’t explain it either – not looking at feelings – just how they see it.


      • m

        May 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        But these days and in past day they do sometimes solicit the parents to surrender – look at traditional surrogacy where there is in fact an adoption. Those individuals adopted under those circumstances qualify as adopted fall under the large umbrella of people who are adopted. They should be isolated events so that people adopting can say with a clean conscience they had nothing to do with the parent’s decision not to raise their child. I mean that is the ethical path that is not always followed. How we see things is not always how they are. Maybe I’m not understanding your post correctly. It sounded like you were touching on the kind of blanket question that gets ask what its like to be adopted or to be donor off spring which I would think is a hard question to answer because it is a two step process but often the people who ask that question only see it as one, the adopted part. Maybe I don’t get what you were trying to say. I love your blog and as you know my interest stems from just really wanting to equalize people’s rights to their own records. I have no personal experience in anything other than helping people find their records and get back together. Doing that has exposed me to so many people and their circumstances and that common theme of being treated unfairly with their records is my only window into these discussions. So I say this respectfully that i know I don’t know what any of it is like I only have compassion for people who I think are treated unfairly and I like being able to do some of the frustrating tasks for them to make setting their records straight easier. I hope I did not offend either of you.


        • TAO

          May 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm

          Marilyn – if you modify your name you get thrown to moderation.

          Not what it is like to be adopted. How do you view the process of surrender and adoption – two completely unrelated events or a series of events and why.

          I was surrendered to be adopted (my family had a contingency plan but did not understand that if I wasn’t adopted they wouldn’t ever know). So my mother surrendered me and thankfully my SW (JPO back then) went beyond what was required and found mom and dad so “I” was adopted. Otherwise I would have been raised in foster care. I see the two events as a series of connected events because that was the reason for my surrender and I was a party to both.

          I have talked to AP’s who will swear up and down that the adoption is a completely separate event from the surrender – I disagree although there are obvious adoptions that are unrelated but specifically in DIA it is a series of events.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Beth

    May 30, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I was adopted – I am adopted, still
    I was surrendered – I am surrendered, still? (never really thought about that before)
    It all works together as separate events into one event for me
    Each a link in the chain.
    Those events that happened over 50 years ago are still in my life today.



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