Written by Keadie
People often wonder why adoptive and preadoptive parents need support. It is assumed that adoptive parents have “all the joy and none of the pain”. Many have no idea what trials and tribulations adoptive families endure to “become real”. The devastation of childlessness can be a crippling disability, terribly misunderstood.
Pre-adoptive parents seek to share their joy with their co-workers, family, friends and neighbors and oftentimes, the reactions are surprisingly unsupportive. The same thing happens when they try to raise funds to offset adoption costs. They are shocked to learn that some people take offense at the idea. Here is a sampling of opinions offered by people who have not been touched by adoption. Have these been sensed, experienced, or thought by you?
People look down on adoptive parents because they “accepted the second rate option in lieu of the first rate.” Adoption is seen as second class parenting. People who adopt haven’t “paid their dues to get a child.” They have not undergone the trials of a strained marriage, lack of sex drive, fears of infidelity, emotional upheavals, anticipation and realization of huge belly, health complications, the vomiting or thirty pound weight gain. Adoptive mothers still have their “girlish figure”, no stretch marks, no sagging breasts, and no episiotomy stitches.
People who adopt think that money can buy anything, even children. That fundraising to pay for adoptive fees is unfair, because “regular” parents don’t get help like that. People forget that many go through dozens of painful infertility procedures, have multiple miscarriages if they are lucky enough to get pregnant at all, and are completely stressed out by failure and huge fortunes spent before they approach adoption agencies. It’s harder to have a baby through adoption than by natural birth. Strain on marriage? Oh yes. Emotional upheavals? Most definitely. Lots of tears and frustration. Hopelessness. Anger at God for not being able to function like others. Lack of sex drive? Just ask couples who have had to monitor ovulation dates and temperatures for even a month or two. Fears of infidelity? The fear that your partner might want a fertile partner so that the family line will go on is quite real. As for that huge belly and stretch marks: those are beautiful in our eyes. If we could only share that experience. Health complications are in themselves reasons why many women fear becoming pregnant. They don’t want to pass on hereditary diseases, or jeopardize the babies’ or their own lives. Some have taken huge risks in the past and just don’t dare try it again. Some have nearly died.
It’s not about the money. That’s pretty clear by the way that adoption agencies vary to extremes in their fees. Having a family is the ultimate experience that, when unreachable, can become a blinding lure.
Children are not bought and sold. The fees to pay the people involved in matching, legals, etc. are what make adoption a business. It is illegal to pay a woman to surrender her child for adoption. Only certain living expenses may be given as assistance, and such money is not refundable if the mother changes her mind.
Adoption creates real families.
Real parents with their real children.
Though society persists in seeing the adoptive status as subordinate to a biological family’s connectedness, in day to day practice, this simply is not so. Attachment is forged and once solidified, the new bond should be, and is expected to be, as unconditionally loving and strong as the biological one. People who adopt children have parental instincts, too. The reaction to protect and nurture one’s young is a natural, inborn behavior.
People can live without being physically or emotionally complete. However, living without a huge part of what is expected from the norm creates suffering. It is reasonable when there is relief, to seek it. Fund raising helps people to overcome hardships when trying to reach important goals. People should not be criticized for wanting to parent. Parenting and Fostering have completely different goals. Fostering is temporary nurturing while the parents heal enough for the child to be returned. Parenting provides nurturing adults an assurance of permanency that can build upon itself: to actually raise that child over the growing years, and to be forever in that child’s life. Having that forever family is something which all children desire and deserve. Not everyone should, or can, Foster hurt older waiting children. If a childless couple longs to raise a newborn who has been freed for adoption, there should be no more stigma on that couple than on any other couple wanting their own baby. Pre-adoptive parents have been thoroughly screened and approved to raise children not born to them. Please do not judge or deny them the opportunity to fill the huge void in their lives.
A baby’s arrival is a joyous occasion for expectant parents, no matter how that baby comes home. Embrace and support loving, nurturing, educated adoptive homes. Read some of the many books on adoption. Share the experience with others.© 2011 Forever Parents