A positive story, is there one, can there be one…

23 Oct

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.



Posted by on October 23, 2016 in Adoption


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17 responses to “A positive story, is there one, can there be one…

  1. Lori Lavender Luz

    October 23, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Oh, yes to all this. “We need to do some deep-thinking about changing up this Positive/Negative narrative if we ever hope to have honest conversations.”

    The tapestry of adoption is so multi-hued and complex and we each have a mere thread of it. To us, the thread is our whole thing, but to the tapestry, ours just a tiny piece. This is why listening to others, even and especially people who have a very different experience than we do, is the way to go in trying to grasp the whole.


  2. maryleesdream

    October 23, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    I disagree that there is nothing in adoption that is wholly negative.

    I think it is wholly negative when a mother and her newborn are separated. When a woman is so damaged, or scared, or desperate that she feels her own newborn would be better off raised by unrelated strangers. Wholly, 100% negative.

    The loss of my identity is a big loss.. Having my birth records altered, forever severing my ties to my own ancestors also seems 100% negative to me. Why was that necessary, in order for me to receive love and care?

    I do agree that there is nothing in adoption that is 100% positive, because there is so much loss involved. How can that ever be 100% positive?

    One might think it’s great, 100% positive that a needy child got a good home. I see that, but I also see that child had to endure to get that home.

    We all deserve good homes, and should not have to give up so much to get them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      October 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Of course it is negative for a mother and child to be separated…but overall, not by segments – it is neither wholly negative or positive – it contains both – and why I think we need to look at adoption as a solution rather than the blather that takes place today. A solution, imperfect as it is, that contains both- different stories, different degrees.


  3. maryleesdream

    October 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Yes, we agree to disagree.
    I don’t see adoption, as it exists in this country today as a solution to the problem of children who need care.

    I read about other countries, who have adoption rates that are so much lower than ours, and wonder why we can’t do better. IMHO, adoption takes from the child much more than it gives.

    It takes our identity, in exchange for care. Why can’t we have both?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Heather

    October 24, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Very well said. I definitely feel that those who insist on forwarding the “first mother did not want to parent” narrative are attempting to resolve their own feelings of guilt and the pain they have caused.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. kayrosey

    October 24, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Interesting perspective. I’m at the beginning of the adoption process for my foster kids so my perspective towards their parents is most likely not the norm for people who are adopting without fostering. I know having kids removed is not a happy thing for the parents or kids, it’s necessary and the right thing to do at least in our case, but traumatic for everyone.


    • TAO

      October 24, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      Even domestic adoption is hard for the child at points throughout their life.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. wsbirthmom

    October 25, 2016 at 11:29 am

    My ‘adoption experience’ of losing my son was totally unnecessary, and therefore, not positive for my family. My son lost and then kept from us after 17 months, my kept daughter damaged beyond words, so saddened by the loss of and then being cut off from her brother she is depressed, in counseling and on medication.

    Are there cases where adoption is warranted, and therefore positive…….sure.

    But the cases I’ve seen over the last 5 years, the mothers that have found SOS for help, these are not the situations where adoption of an extremely vulnerable mother in crisis were warranted.

    Mothers need support, and until the highly unregulated, billion dollar money making industry of infant adoption is reformed, mothers will continue to be deceived and taken advantage of in order for their children to be sold to the highest bidder for that facade of as if born to. Complete with falsifying the birth certificate and sealing the truth away to perpetuate said facade.


    • TAO

      October 25, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      I know ws – hopefully though, if people can pause and see it without the adoption puffery, they will demand better, so that adoption only happens as a solution for a child who truly needs a family…

      Liked by 1 person

      • maryleesdream

        October 25, 2016 at 4:22 pm

        And, in a way that the child’s family and heritage are respected. All children have a family, sometimes they need someone other than family to care for them.


        • TAO

          October 25, 2016 at 4:25 pm



  7. Pj

    October 26, 2016 at 2:02 am

    So agree, Tao…I was adopted , for lack of better phrasing, into the best of circumstances albeit many moons ago. Incredible amount of love, opportunity and support…but no matter it has ,and always will be, a complex “dichotomy”.


  8. Dannie

    October 26, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Probably because there is a notion out there that parenthood in whatever way, shape, form, has to be this happy and mythical unicorn induced experience that facing complex issues within adoption even when it was the only option left (i adopted from foster care so relative placement was sought before I was even considered) even then it’s traumatic for all involved… if we acknowledge only the “positive stories” then parenthood of all shapes and sizes is this magical cloud we all can have. I can see the dichotomy and complexity now that I have both adopted and birthed….

    Kind of like when I secretly admit to my trusted mom friends that i’m so happy the infant stage is finally over for both kids because I feel like a better parent when kids are preschool and up…..admit it to a mom group with only acquaintences and you get the look of horror…and get told that i’m going to miss it badly and didn’t take advantage of it….please don’t dismiss my feelings. I love both my kids. I’m just a child person, not a baby person….there’s nothing wrong with that. 🙂

    life is a story….it is complex…..adoption is very complex. Taking into account everything done ethically (which some stories, evident it wasn’t)……adoption is neither positive nor negative….just very very complex. We should accept and bask into that fact and not pretend everything is “good”.


    • TAO

      October 26, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      Beautiful…it’s fun to watch their personalities develop as preschoolers.



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