It has to be said, generally speaking, that unless you’ve experienced adoption, from any point of the triad, you probably have a number of inaccurate preconceived idea’s about adoption and the process behind it.
But what really astounds me is when people, who have experienced an adoption, still choose to cling to their preconceived idea’s.
This weekend I heard a comment that our adoption should not be considered a success story because “how is taking a baby away from it’s mother every successful?” From someone who had adopted twice – from an orphanage so obviously they felt they had done something honourable versus those of us who choose to take babies from their mothers.
I do not see Ava’s adoption as us having “taken her” from her birth mother. I feel that we have a mutually beneficial relationship with Ava’s BM. We wanted a child, she wanted a different life for her child. We wanted to adopt, she wanted to place her child with a family that she believed would give her unborn baby the life she dreamed for her. At no point was she coerced or forced into this choice. She is an adult woman who made a decision about what she believed would be in the best interests of her child. At no point did we take Ava from her.
I know that this notion will be unpopular, most especially by the American adoption fraternity but really, it is the exception rather than the rule here in SA that birth mom’s are coerced or forced to place their babies up for adoption. With government or NGO adoptions, the majority of those children are orphaned, abandoned or placed up for adoption. From my experience the same applies to private adoptions. Granted, I’m sure in some cases, perhaps where the BM is very young or there are other extenuating circumstances, there may be coercion but there is also the 60 day period where the BM can and sometimes does change her mind. Because adoptions in South Africa are not legally allowed to involve the exchange of money, the BM is not in anyway put in a position where she feels obligated to continue with the process if she is uncomfortable in doing so.
I have also read the argument that adoption only caters to the needs of the BM and adoptive parents. But again, I’d have to disagree. I believe BM’s/BP’s do exactly the same as any parent does. They make a decision on what they believe is best for their child at a time when the child is too young to make these decisions alone, as any parent raising a young child would.
Our Social Workers are also there to act in the best interest of the child. It was one of the assurances that our SW’s gave us when we started the process with them. That while they are there to protect us, they will always act in the best interest of the child so they will always thoroughly investigate the reason’s why a BM is placing her baby and help her examine every alternative and ways of keeping her baby before proceeding with adoption.
So for me the argument that we “take” babies from their BM’s is flawed and over simplifying what is in itself a very complex process and issue.