Tuesday, June 25, 2013

There are so many reasons why a mother should give up her child for adoption

Yes, this post has a disturbing title.

Unfortunately, there are many people who agree with the title of this post. (And so many of them are folks who call themselves Christians.) I have heard people, adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents not excluded, with my own ears discuss the many reasons why they think certain women should give up their children for adoption. (I've also heard accounts from other adoptees and birth mothers who have encountered similar discussions.)

In the minds of many, any one of the following qualities apparently makes a woman unfit to keep and raise her own child: being uneducated, poor, young, irresponsible, immature, unmarried, and the like.

It stands to reason, then, that apparently, in order to be viewed as fit to parent, a woman must be educated, wealthy, older, responsible, mature, married, and the like. (By these standards, I guess I'm not fit to be a parent either, then.)

What's at the root of this viewpoint?

Snobbery. [Haha.]

Or classism. Or materialism. Or arrogance. 

But seriously.

It's a very American way of thinking. America is the land where money and affluence trump all else. Ultimately, this viewpoint demonstrates an incredible arrogance and assesses those who are not affluent and wealthy as irresponsible leeches who don't deserve to care for their children. Ultimately, it's an adoption culture that says love really isn't what matters--money is what matters.

You can balk or scowl, but if the love factor is equal between the birth family and the prospective adoptive family, yet the birth family is poor and the PAP family is wealthy, what are most Americans going to say?

They're going to say, "The child should go to the adoptive family." Because DNA ain't got nothing on money. And basically, a family with money and affluence is viewed as the "more perfect family" than a family with DNA and love.

Of course, ultimately, relinquishment and adoption are more complicated than just money. Of course, there are also social factors involved. But money and affluence are certainly primary influences. That so many people still deny and resist the fact that money and affluence play a role in adoption today is willful ignorance and just plain frustrating.

It's also infuriating and despairing when I hear people talk about women like my birth mother--who are in fact fellow human beings who feel things just as deeply as you do--in such hurtful, demeaning, dehumanizing, self-serving ways.

Who are you to determine or decide whether a woman deserves to keep and raise her own child? Who do you think you are to walk around proclaiming that you know who is worthy of parenting her child? Who made you arbiter of the world's children? Who designated you discerner of whether a mother's love for her child is good enough?

Look, every day I feel unworthy of my children. Never do I feel like I deserve to be a parent or that I'm somehow more qualified than the next to be a parent. But I love my children more than I will ever be able to express or demonstrate. I'm doing the best that I know how, but I also know that I'm failing in miserable ways. I'm as imperfect as a human can come. Do I deserve to have my children taken away and given over to someone else because we're not the richest people or the smartest people or the most affluent or the most educated or the ones who can provide the most opportunity for worldy success?

Heck. No.

And now that I am experiencing the power of a biological connection with my children, now that I am witnessing DNA in action as a new mother, I believe all the more that a child deserves to stay with his or her biological family. Biology and DNA do make a difference. And it's irreplaceable, irretrievable, without substitute.

I am not saying that family can only come from DNA. (I have friends who feel like family, who I basically consider family. And my husband and I obviously are not genetically connected, but I definitely consider him my other half.) But I am saying that the way the current adoption culture dismisses the biological connection and minimizes its role is negligent and wrong.

I have been astounded by the power of biology as my husband and I experience parenthood with our young children. I have to say honestly, that there is a huge difference that I feel (but that's a whole other post...)

In my mind, there are so many reasons to support why a mother should be able to keep her child--DNA and love not excluded.

If she wants to keep her child, then she needs to be given the chance and support to do so.

If you disagree, well, I hope for your children's sakes and your sake that you never have to face such a situation as mothers like my own have had to face...if ever you did, I think maybe, just maybe, you would learn to change your mind...


*Just a note: I want to make it clear that I am not condemning or judging women who do choose to relinquish their children for adoption. Such a decision is obviously a very personal decision, and I am in no way presuming to say that I know what should be done in each individual case. I am simply addressing the current adoption culture that propagates a particular image of unwed pregnant women and also often uses manipulative language and practices that favor the adoptive parents and make unwed mothers feel unworthy of parenting their children.

To read more posts written by Mila at Lost Daughters, click here.