I want to blog about adoption today, about the conflict that is adoption, the differing opinions and some of the negative sentiment that I’ve come across during my journey through motherhood as an adoptive mother. The intention of this blog post is not to offend or hurt anyone in the adoption triad, but more about me, trying to find my way through the minefield of political correctness amidst the conflicting views and opinions of adoption.
After Ava’s placement, I started reading and researching as much as I could about adoption and about raising my child. Some of the opinions I’ve read have been hurtful. Adoption opinions are full of labels, some of them really horrible labels. Labels that call adult adoptee’s “the angry adoptee” or “unhappy adoptee’s” and opinions and labels that paint adoptive parents and more specifically adoptive mothers as cold hearted women who only cared about their own infertility. That is a very bitter pill for me to swallow.
Yes, I am infertile, I can’t carry a child to term, I cannot have a biological child, so yes, perhaps when we started out on our adoption journey, that was my number 1 motivator, my infertility. But from the moment I laid eyes on Ava, I loved her. I loved her in a way that can never be described in words. I love her fully and completely and in a way that took my breath away, I loved her in ways I’d never experienced love before. I love her so much I know that I would lay down my life for her, I would stand in front of speeding train to save her. The truth is, we can never be prepared for the depth, breadth and strength of motherly love. We know it will be great, we know it will be all consuming but nothing can prepare us for the fierceness of that emotion.
The more I fell in love with Ava, the more determined I became to love and protect her at all costs for the rest of my life. For me, this includes being totally open and honest with her about her adoption, it means writing down and memorizing everything about the day she was born, about the day before she was born and the time we spent with her birth mother and all the information she gave us. It has meant the the start of a tentative friendship and a step towards more openness with her birth mother in the last couple of weeks. And yes, this openness is as much about me as it is about her. The tentative steps that Irma and I have taken in the last couple of weeks are not just for me, or for her, but for Ava. How special that Ava has two mothers who love her deeply and who love each other.
But I digress…
Back to the label of angry or unhappy adoptee’s. God knows I hope that that label is NEVER used to describe Ava one day. I don’t want her to be unhappy or angry about the hand she was dealt. I don’t want her to be angry with her birth mother for placing her or with Walter and I for adopting her. I know that these circumstances make adoptee’s emotionally vulnerable but I have to believe that if we continue with our open dialogue, that we allow her the freedom to feel what she needs to feel and to express herself openly with us that we can help her work through her thoughts and feelings about her placement.
A lot of adult adoptee’s who are labelled as angry, are angry because they weren’t given a choice in their placement. So now I’m going to be very controversial here but no child/baby is given a choice, that is the sole responsibility of the parents. As children, none of us were given choices about parental decisions and we are all a product of our upbringing and not just adoptee’s. We all struggle with issues and things that we perceive as being done to us, but I have to trust and believe that both Ava’s birth mother and Walter and I are acting in Ava’s best interests as a minor. Will she agree with the choices the 3 of us have made? Maybe? Maybe not. But that’s just parenting.
Of course, I get that what makes adoption so complex is that it’s a situation where one individual will have a sense of loss over something that will be celebrated by many. We’ve been faced with this ourselves and it’s complicated. I’ve always believed that while Ava is my miracle child, we are not Ava’s miracle and I do set people straight when they comment on how lucky she is to have us, because they are wrong, we are the lucky ones, we are blessed beyond our wildest imaginings to share in her life.
I’m rambling here…. but sometimes I feel so confused by the negative sentiment that seems to go hand in hand with adoption. When I read some of the blogs and opinions about adoption, I can’t help feeling that many birth parents and adoptee’s feel that the only ones who gained anything from adoption are the adoptive parents. And perhaps we are.
Adoption is very complex and sometimes it’s hard to get my head around all the opinions and political correctness. As the end of the day, for me, adoption has been about redefining many of the stereotypes I once believed. What is a family? Family is more than blood. Redefining how we see family to be inclusive of our adoption triad, where there is more than one mommy and while very different, each of us has a role to play.
One thing is for sure, I don’t regret going down this path, not for one second, I’m on the most amazing and beautiful journey of my life, even if it does confuse me at times and I will, oh God, I will adopt again in a heartbeat if we’re given the opportunity.