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You must have options to choose from to be a choice

23 May

We make choices everyday throughout our lives, big or small, knowingly or not.  There are also times a conscious choice is made because you believe it is the right choice to make, a moral choice.  Sometimes there isn’t a choice to be made though it’s just something we wouldn’t ever consider doing.  Other times we don’t have any other option and then it really isn’t a choice.

A few examples from my life as to what I mean.

I made the choice not to eat meat, instead I returned to the plant-based/dairy diet of my youth.  Eating out is harder as I choose my meal from the non-meat items on the menu, I don’t consider ordering a hamburger or steak, they aren’t options for consideration anymore.  The choice to not eat meat is a moral choice for me because of what I believe.

I get up every morning and make coffee.  Not because I don’t like tea, I do, I drink tea, I just like coffee better and it’s a choice I make every morning without thinking about it.

I married for the first time when I was 20.  I married a long-distance trucker who also excelled in fixing anything mechanical or running any type of machinery.  For the first few years we were on the road, we loved never knowing where we’d be headed next, when we’d get back to home base, we loved being on the open road, meeting people from all walks of life, exploring areas when we were laid over.  Most of all, we loved the feeling of being free; free from following the course you were supposed to follow as a married couple: settle down, work hard, buy a home, have children, long for the day your children move out, retirement and then travel.  Neither I or my husband had any wish to be a parent or settle down, when I got pregnant with my son it was a shock.  At the time we weren’t on the road, my husband had taken a job as a boat mechanic, I worked in a restaurant, and we lived on a beautiful island.  We’d decided to do that until wanting to be on the road again took hold.  Being pregnant, we adjusted our long-term view of what our life would be to one that meant we needed to settle down, a fundamental shift from our chosen lifestyle.  Abortion wasn’t an option for consideration for either of us, nor adoption, neither registered as options to consider, or choice to be made, we never discussed either, we just automatically made changes to what we thought our life would look like, to what it needed to be and carried on.

When we told others and/or when it became obvious I was pregnant – no one said: Thank you for choosing life.  No one.  Not a single person, not random strangers, not even our family or friends who knew our life goals had been drastically altered by our unplanned pregnancy.  Life happens, you adjust, you carry on.

And that’s what this post is all about.

I got triggered yesterday by a post on twitter stating most adoptees want to thank their birthmother for choosing life.  If you’d do that, you’ve assumed that abortion was something your mother considered, or would even consider, without knowing anything other than she’s your birthmother.  You can’t choose something when it is the only option for you, there is no choice to make in regards to abortion or life  when you wouldn’t have an abortion.  You may have the choice between parenting or adoption, sometimes parenting isn’t an option, then you are back to only adoption, no choice to make.  For something to be a choice, you must have at least two options you would do in order to make a choice.

For the record – even if my mother had lived long enough for us to meet – I would never have thanked her for choosing life.  Never.  I know from what dad told me during my era, unwed expectant mothers (or their mother) when he confirmed their pregnancy either asked about abortion and then found someone to do it, those who didn’t ask about abortion went away to stay with an aunt or to a maternity home for the duration of their pregnancy and their baby was adopted.

I find it doubtful that anyone outside of the realm of adoption would even consider thanking a mother for choosing life. It’s beyond arrogant to assume there was a choice to be made.

If you think I’m making much ado over just a phrase.  Would you thank a pregnant pastor or a pastor’s wife for choosing life?  Do you thank your friends with children for choosing life?  I can’t see anyone thanking a friend or family member for choosing life when they found out they’d become pregnant by accident.

I’ll end with a last thought: Do you want your adopted child to have to feel grateful for not being aborted?  Do you put that burden on the children of your friends or family members who had unplanned pregnancies?  Approximately half of all children are a result of unplanned pregnancies – yet only mothers who carry to term and choose adoption have that said about them, to them.  Ask yourself why, that out of all unplanned pregnancies, only mothers who have chosen adoption are the ones who have that said to them, especially by strangers.  I think it says far more about what a person thinks about mothers who chose adoption, and harkens back to the stigma surrounding unwed pregnancy and adoption.  I think it is wrong to judge a mother who chose adoption as the only ones who also would make the choice of aborting her pregnancy.

I’m pro-choice, even if it is not a choice I would make, please stop assuming all mothers who choose adoption would also choose to abort.

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3 Comments

Posted by on May 23, 2018 in Adoption

 

Tags: , ,

3 responses to “You must have options to choose from to be a choice

  1. My Perfect Breakdown

    May 23, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    This hit very close to home for me – so much so I had to log into wordpress on my computer to comment, as opposed to my phone. So, I’ll apologize now for what I assume will be a long winded comment.
    First, I was forced to terminate a much wanted pregnancy and due to the start of a septic infection that could have ended my life. I was sent to an abortion clinic. While medically it was considered a termination for medical reasons due to my health, it was done at an abortion clinic and therefore could easily be considered an abortion (regardless of the terminology, it is the exact same procedure). I have always been pro-choice, but never in my life thought I’d actually end up in an abortion clinic actually having an abortion. And, now having been through the abortion clinic process, I have a much deeper understanding for those who choose abortion and the process they are put through before and after. I now understand that abortion is so much more then a simple choice for most people and it has life-long implications. And I am even more strongly pro-choice.
    Second, abortion and adoption – the main topic of your post. The exact thing you described in your post, the assumption that adoption only happened because the baby wasn’t aborted, makes my blood boil. Again, there is so much more to the decision to have an abortion then just considering the option of adoption instead of abortion. It is not as simple as choosing life, it’s simply not black and white. People outside of adoption seem to forgot the financial and emotional implications of pregnancy and adoption or parenting – either route is a life long decision, one that I don’t think most people take lightly. People also seem to overlook the reality of abortions to save the mother’s life (as in my situation), which has nothing to do with choosing life or adoption for the baby. And, let’s not forget situations where the pregnancy was the result of a forced sexual assault, and the life-long implications that has on everyone involved as well. I guess, what I’m saying is that people may choose abortions, or chose adoption or choose to parent, but just because you chose adoption or to parent means that you ever even considered adoption. And if someone considered adoption and didn’t choose it, that doesn’t make them any less of a person for considering their options.
    And, I have to touch on the comment about having children feel grateful that they weren’t aborted and their parent chose life. Um, this line of thinking just isn’t okay!! I cannot speak for my son, but I can assure you I will never thank his birthmother for choosing life, instead I have and I will thank her for allowing me to raise our son. We have not personally encountered this type of comment yet in regards to our son, but I do remember seeing some hopeful adoptive parents profiles where they are holding a sign saying something like “choose life, we’ll raise your baby”, which just made my sick. It is not okay to promote adoption as the only alternative to abortion. As with above, they are not mutually exclusive. And it is absolutely not okay to put any pressure on a child (adopted or not) to feel some sort of gratefulness for being born. My best analogy to this is how often people say “your son is so lucky to have you” – to which we always respond with, no, we are the lucky ones. We’ve told those closest to us to refrain from that language as it’s not okay to make him feel like he should be grateful we are his parents, especially considering that they never say that about any of the cousins who are biological children and just ended up with their parents the more traditional way. To be clear, just like the “grateful for life” sentiment, our son owes us nothing for our decision to adopt and for him to be part of our lives and our family. In fact, even the unintentional comment that could make him feel like he needs to be grateful for us, is not okay. As far as I’m concerned, adopted or not, no child should be made to feel “grateful” for their parents. And unfortunately, this sentiment seems to exist in the adoption world in a way that it doesn’t exist in the biological family dynamic. And that’s just not okay.
    Okay, I could keep going, but I’ll stop here for now, with one last comment. Thank you for sharing your perspective and raising awareness to this unhelpful and even hurtful way of thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      May 23, 2018 at 6:45 pm

      MPB – I was thinking of you when I was trying to frame my words, hope I said it okay. Love your comment, glad you took the time to talk. Take care!

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    • Tiffany

      May 23, 2018 at 7:19 pm

      I just got told yesterday that “your daughter is so lucky to have a mom like you.” It was well intended as I was at an event for helping mitigate the long term health effects of childhood trauma, and I explained I was there because as an adoptive mom, I recognize my daughter experienced trauma when she was separated from her mother. I want to learn more about it and how to help her. The person was being nice and trying to compliment me. But I responded with “No, I am always and will always be the lucky one to have her in my life, and I’m just trying to be the mom she deserves. I owe that to her and her parents.” It’s my standard reply to this type of comment. I try to flip the expectation of gratefulness to me instead of her because it is not her responsibility to be grateful to me (kids owe nothing to their parents), but it is my responsibility to be a good parent to her and to be grateful for my children.

      Liked by 1 person

       

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