Why do people look for stories from first mothers that are positive stories of choosing adoption? Is it more about their need for someone to say it wasn’t traumatic and absolve them from any feelings of guilt for participating? Is it because it reinforces that there are some who choose adoption because they truly don’t wish to mother their child? Those are the only reasons I can think of, I’m sure there are others reasons, but stay with me as I try to explain what I mean.
I just can’t imagine any scenario where not being able to raise your child could be seen as a positive story to the one living it. Would you expect someone who miscarried a baby to see it as a positive? Lost an infant? Would you expect someone who lost a parent to see it as positive?
We (in adoption) need to do some deep-thinking about changing up this Positive/Negative narrative if we ever hope to have honest conversations. Nothing in adoption is wholly positive, nor negative, it’s a combination of both, the degrees of either will be unique to the people it’s about and the details interwoven into their story.
Life is filled with challenges and victories, joy and angst, sometimes very bad things happen and you try to make the best of the situation. I wasn’t happy when dad passed, nor more recently when mom passed, I grieved and still grieve, I was also thankful they were spared further pain and not being able to live the life they had. Both feelings coexist, both are valid.
If we all try to remember the dichotomy of feelings we had during (and after) incredibly difficult times, and apply that same grace to other human beings in adoption – we’d be more honest, less demanding, more mindful that adoption is a solution that was found to be needed, not something that requires it to be only positive. We wouldn’t buy into the hype adoption professionals put out. And we certainly wouldn’t buy into the pro and anti labelling that divides everyone. When someone tries to divide people into either/or categories, look for the why, what are they trying to hide from you.
Keep this in mind as we move into November and all the hype that month brings regarding adoption. Nothing is either/or, wholly positive or negative. Reject the single story, embrace the total story that has both.