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.