Makes absolutely no sense, never has…

06 Feb


Pretty sure this post is going to offend some people, hopefully, those who get offended keep thinking about what I am saying, and dig deep to see the point.  This post is not meant to be mean.  Now, as you know I don’t like to link to posts because making them feel bad isn’t the point.  Never  has been.  What it is for is to hopefully give people something to really think about. 

Last week I read a post by someone who has had a couple of failed adoptions because the mother chose to parent.  There wasn’t any anger in the post at all, nothing wrong with the post whatsoever.  It wasn’t about the failed adoptions, it was about decisions they had to make afterwards.  Coming to the conclusion that life-changing decisions should not be made while you were in the process of grieving…

Stop and think about that last sentence.  A statement made by a prospective adoptive parent who hopes to adopt an infant, at birth.  They can clearly see that there is cause for concern if you make a decision while you are in a state of grief, a bad decision they may come to regret.

That is where I think the disconnect comes in, the inability to see a mother who is choosing adoption for her baby, and according to the current norm, is also making that often irrevocable, life-changing, decision in an incredibly short window of time after birth, and is very likely, if not guaranteed to be, actively grieving.

The thought process in the blog post I read is fairly typical, and very logical.  What is also typical, is the lack of applying that same logic to mothers on the other side.  To me, there has to be a reason why they can’t extend that same belief to mothers on the flip side, is that they do not believe they are alike.  I’m not saying they consciously think that (although some might), just that subconsciously they have not applied the same consideration if you will.  That dissociation may allow them not to see that the very short time frame between birth and surrender may cause a mother to make an error in judgement.  A decision they may regret making.  It allows them not to feel any guilt by participation in the act, or, at least being able to push any guilt aside.  I think it is also perhaps a necessary measure of self-protection so they can effectively parent.

They may also assume that the time leading up to the birth should be sufficient to make a decision of that magnitude after birth. It’s not faulty logic either because I am sure great thought has taken place before birth.  Yet again, prospective parents have thought a lot about adoption, going through all the required hoops takes time.  Time similar to the length of pregnancy so that really becomes a wash if they think making decisions while grieving is bad – then it apples to the mother as well who unless she has zero feelings, is also grieving.  It circles back to the concept that they may not see a mother who is considering adoption to be the same as they are.

I think it boils down to stereotypes that have been applied to first mothers since adoption in the middle of the last century – give your baby up at birth, you will forget, you will move on with your life – compared to others who know they could never do that.  They believe they are different from mothers who do chose adoption.  I have even heard the stereotype bleed through in comments when a mother chooses to parent, that she may not be a good parent because she considered adoption.  That comment from the same people who will call her brave and selfless if she goes through with the adoption.  Different from me.  People today say otherwise, but I still see the sentiment in many other ways as well, including when the first mother has backed off in the first year or so.  Some will realize it is grief and understand, others will assume she has “moved on” because that is the stereotype that has become how people view mothers who chose adoption.  Another example are those who believe a mother should be “moving on” from the grief in a span of a few months, and consider closing the adoption because of her inability to get through the grief.  Different from me.  It’s the nice wrapped up in a bow stereotype that allows comfort.  The stereotype that allows people to speak to first mothers who aren’t okay with words like “I’m sorry adoption wasn’t a positive experience for you”.  “Your experience is not the norm”.  None of those statements reflect the totality of the lifelong grief a mother has, whether that grief is raw and overwhelming, or pushed into a corner somewhere in her heart and less raw.  The grief of loosing your child, for any reason, never goes away completely.  If you adopt, you have to accept that reality, the good, the bad, the ugly of the total experience.


Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , , ,

7 responses to “Makes absolutely no sense, never has…

  1. Tiffany

    February 6, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Perfect, spot-on comparison.

    I think it’s also an issue of people really struggling to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. And honestly, having given birth to a child, I know the immense difference that happens the second a mother meets her child. It’s nothing you could have ever believed it was possible to feel, even if you weren’t considering adoption.

    Our daughter’s parents had 30 days to sign their relinquishment, something I think should be standard. I don’t think it should be allowed to be signed while in the hospital. They took 24 days. It’s a massively important decision to make- the biggest in their lives.


    • TAO

      February 6, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks Tiffany – really glad to see you on-line again. Missed your voice. You are right – if you haven’t given birth then there is that to consider too.


  2. Libby

    February 6, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this. I am one of those you read about – the birthmother who changed her mind. Absolutely the best decision I’ve made in this lifetime. And one I had no idea I would make until after my daughter was born and looked into my eyes. I was totally sure of my decision until then. To oversimplify it – I had done something bad (become pregnant with someone I didn’t know very well) and now I was going to do something good (give her away to a lovely couple who couldn’t conceive). But then she was born, and she was no longer “my decision.” She was her own person, looking at me. It was like a light switch went off in my brain – I can’t really articulate it. All the arrangements I had made went out the window.


  3. eagoodlife

    February 6, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    about the lifelong grief, about grieving and about breaking the stereotypes


  4. Heather

    February 6, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Great post. Thank you for putting your thoughts into words so well.


  5. dmdezigns

    February 7, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I absolutely agree with the disconnect. But I have a different one. When our first match failed because the mom decided to parent, I didn’t grieve. I was disappointed. I cried, but only for about 30 minutes really. It wasn’t devastating to me. Maybe because I hadn’t claimed that baby as my own before it was. I had been hopeful, but I never thought that little boy was mine. When she decided to parent, I hoped that the SWs she had talked with were going to make sure she had the support she needed when she got out of jail. But I didn’t gieve that as a loss. Not anything like the last failed IVF – I was a basket case for 3 days, couldn’t go to work. I took over a year before making a decision on what to do next. That was grief. A mom deciding to parent didn’t cause grief for me, so I have a big disconnect with most PAPs/APs on that one.

    But I do agree, that even while contemplating placing a child for adoption, a mom is most likely grieving. I think she should be given the time she wants to take and not pressured to sign. And I agree that it’s too easy to look at a woman who has placed her child and apply incorrect stereotypes, to see her as different or less than ourselves. It’s more comfortable that way.

    It’s certainly uncomfortable for me at times to look at my children’s first parents and think of them as my equal, similar to how I might be in the same circumstances. They actually remind me of many in my family. It would be easier in some ways to allow myself to feel better than them. But it wouldn’t be better for our kids. So I remember that there but for the grace of god go I. I try to remember to apply grace in how I look at the circumstances in their life and their response to them, for the choices they continue to make that just make their situation worse. I want people to extend grace to me when I fall, so I try to extend that same grace I want to receive. That’s what we’re really talking about right? Seeing others as equal to ourselves, as deserving of good things, and treating them the way we want people to treat us.


    • TAO

      February 7, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Yes, grace – absolutely and that is exactly what we are talking about. Why I keep hammering away – that little golden rule – it applies to everyone. If I want you to treat me with respect – I have to respect you – not just when we agree, but when we disagree because our experiences and choices have been different. 🙂 Doesn’t mean either of us can’t be downright snarky at times though because sometimes a good rant cleans the cobwebs away. Thanks D…



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