Adoption – Some Differing Points Of View

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across an Open Letter written by an adult adoptee, I’m going to reference the site where I got the letter from, purely because it feels like the right thing to do. However, after the number of negative adoption blogs I’ve been reading lately, particularly in the States, I’m rather anxious about the backlash this could potentially cause.

I want to state up front that it is not my intention to disrespect the writer or disregard their feelings, however as an AP, it was important to me to gain a few additional perspectives on this letter as it left me deeply troubled. I am in no way making this letter about me, rather I’m looking, searching and trying to find the perfect way to parent my adopted daughter, to bring her up in a home where she IS allowed to feel what ever she needs to feel about her adoption status, in a home where she is free to be whoever she is, without having to hide her true feelings. It would seem that many adult adoptee’s think that AP’s only consider their own feelings and not what is in the best interests of their child, I want to clarify that that is simply not the truth, most certainly not for me.

I think it’s also important to note that adoptions in South Africa are managed in a very different way to those in the states. Adoptions are NOT an industry here, there is no money exchanging hands for a baby, aside from legal fee’s, medical fee’s and SW’s fees, no money exchanges between the BM’s and AP’s. South Africa has one of the most advanced democracies in the world, part of this is our Children’s act. From my experience of SW’s here in SA, they ALWAYS act in the best interest of the child and then the BM’s, they are by no means acting on behalf of AP’s, while of course they would protect AP’s by not knowingly putting us in situations where we could get hurt.

I sent it on to a friend, Allison, herself an adult adoptee who was placed in 1966. You can see Allison’s responses throughout the letter in the sections labelled (A), the area’s labelled (S) are my opinions, thoughts and responses.

To all adoptive parents, hopeful adoptive parents, and anyone who has ever even considered adoption:

Being adopted hurts. Being adopted is hard. It is not beautiful; it is brutal, it is tragic, it is a cause for great sadness. For in order for a child to even be available for adoption, that child must first go through some sort of tragedy; whether that be abuse, hunger, homelessness, neglect, or even the simple fact that he or she is losing the life and family he or she was born into. This makes adoption a thing to mourn; not a cause for celebration or joy. To be joyful about adopting a child is to be glad that this tragedy happened.

(S) My experience of our adoption was and is beautiful. We spent time with our BM and have a shared mutual respect and a great love for each other. While I do agree, there is tragedy in this, from my own experience it was also one of beauty and love.

I don’t think there’s a soul alive who would actually choose to be born into a situation where being relinquished for adoption, voluntarily or otherwise, was necessary.

(S) While I do agree with this statement, none of us has a choice in the situations we are born into and without sounding callous, and again, speaking from my own experience, there are a lot of other awful situations to be born into, ones of immeasurable cruelty and abuse, children born to mothers who struggle with Munchausen by proxy syndrome, none of those children had a choice in that either, that is the reality of birth.

Of course there will always be a need for children to be removed from their parent(s) and placed in safer, more stable, loving homes – but please understand that no matter how good and loving and wonderful the adopting parents are, nothing will ever erase the pain, the grief, and the loss that comes with being adopted.


The very foundation of adoption is that of loss – a child loses his or her mother, father, and entire family; a mother, father and family loses one of their children. And, yes, even a loss for the adopting parent – sometimes the loss of the expectation of having their own, biological offspring, the loss of a dream of having a baby of “their own.” A separation of one family MUST occur before a new one can be built through adoption. Maybe it isn’t a voluntary destruction, maybe the destruction is necessary for the health and safety of the child – but it is still a destruction of the very core, fundamental foundations of that child’s life that will forever be altered.

(S) I find the use of quotes around their own that the writer uses offensive. Ava is very much my own child, just as she is Walter’s own child, she is also her BM’s own child, we share a beautiful love for this child, she is very much our (Mine, Walters and our BM’s) child. While she may not be genetically linked to us, that does not change one iota of how we love her or how we see her. Adoption for me was always something I was open to, having been exposed to the beautiful adoption examples of my cousins growing up, it had always been something I thought I’d pursue one day. For Walter, there was an element of grieving his own genetics but, like any journey in life, he grieved and put it behind him. Ava’s genetics are of little importance to us now as her parents. Without sounding callous, while adoption is about loss, it is also about gain and not just from an AP’s perspective.

Think of it this way…one of your parents dies, and your surviving parent eventually goes on to remarry. Though you might grow to love and have a great relationship with your parent’s new spouse, no amount of love and happiness in this present situation will erase the grief you feel over the loss of your other parent. So please, if you have adopted or are considering adoption, keep this in mind.

(A)Do you find this to be true? I surely don’t. Look around you and ask yourself is this is realistic. Of course you can complete a grieving process and carry on, else no-one of us will be here if the LOSS does not become bearable. NO AMOUNT OF LOVE? No way, girl – this is not true! The relationship is just different but the grieving passes!

Adoption should be the very last resort after all other options have been tried. ((A)and how many kids will grow up homeless then?) Ask yourself this – does an adoption HAVE to happen? Is there anything I can possibly do to help this young mother keep her child? Are there resources I can direct her to, items I can supply her with, can I offer her the support and encouragement she needs to be a good parent? If so, then pursuing adoption is not the right choice. Too many unnecessary adoptions happen as a permanent solution to a very temporary problem. ((A)since when is raising a child a temp problem – it is a lifelong commitment that you are in alone – no matter the support – and if there is no way, there is no way – it is no-one’s fault) Adoption, after all, is forever – ((A)so is parenting) while a current living situation, job situation, etc., is temporary and can be changed and improved. ((A)how many kids are put up for adoption in these cases? Most are fostered until the parents can cope again. Most adoptees i know there was no hardship or even woman involved – it was kids not ready for grown up life with parents not willing to take on the responsibility or unable to) Most women who relinquish their children do so because they feel they have no other choice…but what if she does have another choice, and only needs the support and encouragement to make it? ((A)My BM had a choice right at the end to keep me – her parents eventually said they will help – but she chose not to. So again – every situation is different.)

(S) I feel that this is a very simplified way at looking at the complexities of adoption. While I can only comment from my own experience, I know that adoption was our BM’s choice, no one forced her to place Ava, she was older and could have kept Ava, but she chose not to, for no other reason than she wanted more for Ava than what she felt she could give. Nothing would have changed that, that was her choice.

(A)This is just complete nonsense – who in their right mind would wish hurt on anyone else? Adoption IS a joyful event – not all children are taken away from loving good parents that’s fallen on hard times as author would like you to think. Most of us are unwanted, untimely ”mistakes”” with no loving mom, dad and supporting family in sight.
Adopted people know we are a second choice, a “Plan B,” a solution to someone else’s problem. (My parents never made me feel like this!!! And since i am now childless myself – i know the pain they went through)

While there are some people out there who would choose adoption first, most only do so after failed attempts at pregnancy or to “complete” a family of all boys or girls or to give their current child a sibling. Adding to your family through adoption should never be about meeting some need of your own…((A)again – strongly disagree – what better motivation to be the most awesome parent ever born!) it should always and only ever be about providing for the CHILD’S needs. Please don’t put the added pressure on an adopted child by forcing them to live up to the unspoken standard of the child you couldn’t conceive or the son or daughter you couldn’t produce. Adoption is not a cure for infertility, nor are adopted people “gifts” to be passed around in order to complete somebody else’s life. We are human beings in our own right, with our own feelings, needs, and wants. Don’t add to an already painful situation by expecting us to be something we weren’t born to be. ((A) this is just bitter talk from someone that obviously did not find acceptance – again – not true of all)

(S) But aren’t all families born of a need of a parents need to parent a child? Why should it be any different for AP’s. I have always longed to be a mother, from the time I was a young child. I think I am a great candidate for being an AP because of me, my desire to be a mother was NEVER about genetics or pregnancy, it was ALWAYS about mothering a child, lavishing a child with love and experiencing all the high’s, lows and challenges that a parent faces, including the additional challenges that face AP’s.

Please be willing to be completely open and honest with the child you may someday adopt. It doesn’t matter how horrible of a situation they came out of; tell them the truth, and tell them early. For the truth can be dealt with, it can be processed and closure can be found; but nobody can get closure from fantasies and daydreams. ((A)agree fully!)

(S) Completely agree with the above, Ava’s adoption has never been a secret from her, it is something she will ALWAYS know. Every piece of information I have about her BM has been carefully saved for her, photo’s, letters, sms’s, the works, we believe the only way to successfully raise an adopted child is to be completley open, honest and transparent about the entire process.

Adopted people are stronger than you give them credit for; believe me when I say, we imagine and prepare for every possible scenario when it comes to our families or origin. Don’t think we haven’t entertained the idea that our biological parents were the worst of the worst, or idealized them as some sort of saintly creatures, and everything in between. We have already survived the loss of our original families; don’t for one minute think we can’t survive knowing the reason why. And on that note, if an adopted person ever chooses to search, reunite, or just know more about their family of origin, don’t guilt them into not doing it or make them feel beholden to you. It has NOTHING to do with you. NOTHING. ((A)AGREE!!! You must not take this personally. I saw how my mom suffered with this but she did it silently and gave me ALL her support.)

(S) Walter and I have discussed this at length and have always felt that we will fully support Ava and assist her we she would like us to in searching for her BM. We will let her take the lead and allow her to guide us in this process. We are well aware that this has nothing to do with us not being good enough parents but a need of her’s to know her origins and to have her questions answered and also perhaps the recreate a bond that was once broken.

Human beings are born with an innate curiosity about who and where we come from. For some adopted people to feel whole, they need to know their own personal history and explore their roots. There’s nothing wrong with that. After all, you, as the parent, are responsible for your adopted child’s happiness and well being…not the other way around. Swallow your pride, put away your jealousy, and support your adopted child in any quest for truth they may wish to undertake. Believe me, they will thank you for it.((A) YES – AGREE!!! 100%)

(S) I fully agree with the above as well. I think any potential AP’s who are unable to accept the above should really be questioning whether or not adoption is right for them.

Don’t fall into the terminology trap. Adoptees know they have more than one set of parents…two that created them, and the parent(s) who are raising them. ALL are real to the adoptee. Don’t get caught up in who is “real” and who is more important; let your adopted child choose the terminology that suits THEM. If you have been a good and loving parent, that’s all you need. Besides, a parent can love more than one child, so why can’t a child be allowed to love more than one parent? The heart has an infinite capability to love. Don’t begrudge your adopted child the possibility of loving people he or she may not even remember. ((A)LOVE here is a strong word – love comes from caring and giving and nuture – you can love them maybe in a good friendship way but never  in a parent way – a parent is the one who wiped your bum and put a plaster on a hurt (real or not))

And don’t disparage the biological parents or family either. They may be evil people, the scum of the earth…but to say anything bad about the biological family is the same as saying something bad about your adopted child. The child did come from these people, after all; and better or worse we did inherit parts of ourselves from them. The old saying applies here more than anywhere else…if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. ((A)Good point!)

(S) It astounds me that their are AP’s out there who would actually do this. We have nothing but love, respect and gratitude about or BM and I would NEVER dream of saying anything negative or bad about her, I love her too much to every do that!

Adopted people experience a range of issues from having been adopted…many suffer from the fear of rejection and abandonment, ((A)YES YES YES – big one – as if we can feel it from inception – atleast that is what a shrink once told me – rejection from inception) have problems trusting others and forming relationships. After all, our very mothers could walk away from us, so what’s to stop anyone else? Though not all adoptees experience these, many do, and to varying degrees. ((A)This too is a part of growing up and letting people in – i am sure non-adoptive people also has these issues. We learn, we grow and when the right people comes into your life, you open up and trust and let them in) Just because the adopted person in your life hasn’t mentioned it, don’t think they don’t feel it. Many will never, ever talk about their negative adoption issues for those exact reasons…fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, and just the overwhelmingly negative response they expect. ((A)Most i know is very open about these feelings!!!!)

(S) I feel that is AP’s foster openness and sharing without judgement with their adopted child, then there should be no need for the adopted child to ever feel they need to hide their true feelings & fears.

If the adopted person in your life (your child, a friend or other family member) ever does talk about it, take your personal feelings and judgments out of it. Resist the temptation to say things like, “But you had such wonderful [adoptive] parents!” or “but you could have been aborted/thrown in a dumpster/etc.!” Adoptees are the only subset of society who are wholly expected to be grateful for our very lives, and with this expectation comes the need to try to suppress any negative emotion or feeling. Most adoptees won’t even admit to themselves, let alone other people, that they are hurting. After all, we got this “better life,” didn’t we? We don’t have the RIGHT to feel sad/angry/depressed. So many adoptees choose to stay silent and instead live a lie. ((A) I would also like to point out here that we do not ALWAYS feel like this. It comes in stages and triggers when something bad happens. I guess we sort of blame it on us being adopted. As a child one can easily find a scapegoat before taking responsibility….)

And, yes, that goes hand-in-hand with the child-parent relationship thing…remember, the PARENT is responsible for the health and well being of the CHILD, NOT the other way around. Only in adoption are adoptees somehow expected to always be careful not to “hurt” their adoptive parents; not to rock the boat or bring up something about their adoption because their PARENTS might not like it. ((A)This will depend on how open the parents are – open dialogue is best here. Off course i would never want to say anything to hurt my mom….neither would you and you are not adopted?? It’s human nature, not adopted nature!)

(S) I’d have to agree with Allison here, I think this is also largely dependent on the nature of the child. I have always been the kind of child who was terrified of hurting or disappointing my parents, my brother, not so much.

This is another reason so many adopted people don’t speak about adoption…we are afraid of hurting our adoptive parents. I know that as a parent myself, I would never expect my children to be responsible for my well-being…so please, don’t ever place that expectation on adopted people either. After all, their adoptive parents WANTED to adopt, they WANTED a child, and chose this path for themselves. The adoptee most often did not choose it and had no say in the matter. Don’t expect gratitude. ANYONE could have been aborted, could have been abandoned, could have been abused. These are not phenomena that are solely related to adoptees. Just because a person was adopted doesn’t automatically mean they were unwanted, that they “could have been” anything…they are just people who are being raised by a different family and are living a DIFFERENT life, not necessarily a better one.

Please, if you are considering adoption or have already, educate yourself. Read books such as the Primal Wound. Read blogs by adopted people and relinquishing parents. Go into it with an open mind and open heart. Understand that there is the very real potential that the child you someday adopt might just struggle with it. And while you can be a terrific parent, a wonderful guide and mentor, the damage has already been done. Be prepared to do the hard work of helping your child deal with any grief, anger, and other issues he/she may feel. TALK to them about it. Adoptees are notorious for keeping things bottled up…let them know it’s OK to talk with you about them. Reassure them that you will NOT be hurt, offended or damaged by their feelings. ALLOW them the freedom to feel whatever they feel. ((A)Again – all children need this!)

If you are considering an open adoption or have entered into an open adoption, HONOR that. Unless there is some clear and present danger to the life of your child, KEEP THE COMMUNICATION OPEN. Don’t cease contact with the biological family because it’s an inconvenience for YOU. Understand that yes, at times it might be emotionally trying for your adopted child, your child may come away from visits or reading letters and feel depressed and angry, but don’t take that as a reason to cease contact. TALK to your child. Help them understand WHY they are feeling this way. It’s only natural that this might happen; and in the same breath, the biological mother/father/family may also feel overwhelmed at times and pull back, but do what you can to keep the lines of communication open. Remember, adoption is based on loss, and being reminded of that loss can be overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean it should be avoided. Your adopted child will thank you someday for sacrificing your own happiness and comfort to allow him/her to keep this very important connection. Agree.

Try not to make a big celebration out of your child’s adoption day (and PLEASE don’t EVER use the horribly offensive and insensitive term “Gotcha Day). The same goes for birthdays. For while it may be a happy occasion to remember, keep in mind that it also marks the day that the adopted person was permanently and forever separated from their mother, their father, their original family. ((A)why would anyone like to be reminded of this – only if parents makes this an issue can it be an issue. What child does not like birthdays? When you are small and your parents makes it a big joyful occasion, that is how you will feel always.)

(S) “Gotcha day” – never heard this term used in South Africa, but seriously???? Why would anyone refer to as adoption placement so callously. I’m astounded such a term even exists.

Birthdays are especially hard; for most adoptees have the knowledge that our births were not cause for celebration; nobody was bringing our mothers flowers and balloons and offering congratulations; our entrance into this world was one of sadness and trepidation. ((A)KAK – you can not remember this! Nothing marks no day. It is a feeling, an emotion – not a day! Every child/person deserves a joyful ME day. Strongly disagree here!!)

And it marks the day we were physically separated from our mothers; for many of us, it was the last time we ever saw her. So if the adoptee in your life withdraws around his or her birthday or doesn’t appear to like celebrating, respect that. Understand that to many of us, it is not a cause for celebration. Crap!

I am not trying to tell anyone not to adopt. I am not saying, “shame on you” to anyone who already has adopted.

What I am saying is, please step back and really think long and hard about the ramifications of adoption on the very person who is at the center of it all – the child you hope for or the child you have brought into your home. ((A) EVERYTHING an adopted parent does is for the child – come on, would anyone go through this if not for the child.) Be ready and willing to put a lot of hard work into helping this adopted child heal, to feel whole and complete in themselves. Be prepared to put your own needs and wants on the shelf and to put away your expectations, ((A) all parents do this!!!!) do what it takes to attend to the needs of your adopted child. All the love in the world, all the toys and gadgets and material things you might provide will never replace or erase what was lost. ((A) Don’t agree!! Nothing was lost – just gained! But it is hard for a child to understand.)

(S) IMO every SW (South Africa) worth her qualification does and will counsel potential AP’s about this.  IMO – if potential AP’s are not willing to do the above, then perhaps they need to consider if adoption is actually right for them!

Family preservation should always be the goal. Adoption should never, ever be utilized unless it is the last and only option left. Because adoption should be about finding homes for children in need; NOT finding children for people to fill a need. ((A)This is too simplistic, the need must first arise for a couple to share their home with a child – a dire longing….it is hard and you need that motivation in love to give it a go…)

(S) They way that I understand how our SW’s work is that this is always the case, it’s about counseling BM’s who are considering adoption first and foremost, helping her find her way and only as a last resort is she then offered potential AP’s to choose from. Not the the other way around, they do not go out looking for babies for infertile couples. This was made very clear to Walter and I when we went through our adoption counseling. From the SW’s perspective, while wanting to protect us from potential hurt, it was never about seeing to our needs but rather seeing to the needs of BM’s and their babies. Surely to have it any other way would be unethical and morally corrupt?

Jesus commanded us to help the orphan AND the widow…we as a society should do more to help famlies stay together instead of tearing them apart. Nobody really wants to be adopted…if given a choice, they’d rather their family situations could improve so that they wouldn’t have to be separated. Would YOU have liked it if your mother gave you away?

(S) I do agree with the above, but Moses was also the first example of an adopted child in the bible and look at the great man he was destined to become.

An Adult Adop

I will not entertain ANY spiteful, judgmental or mean spirited comments on my blog in this regard. I am searching for the very best ways to raise MY child and hence the research I have done into this subject. Please feel free to share your opinions, in a respectful and kind manner.

Edited to add: Adoption seems to be subject that is a minefield of opinions. The views expressed above, both by the original writer, myself and Allison, need to be respected as our own opinions. What is one persons truth will not be anothers truth and that should be respected.


  • Gina

    February 24, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Im not adopted, nor do I have adopted children so I am coming from a ‘neutral’ space here.

    I think the writers’ view is heavily based on her own experiences and that possibly those experiences were less than idyllic. Having said that, she does make some good points.

    Thank you to you and to Allison for taking the time to comment on the letter and give a more rounded opinion.

    I hope that you have left a link to your post in the comments of the original post, as I think the writer of the letter and her readers would only benefit from reading your responses.

  • Alison

    February 24, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Wow, i see now that i was really emotional when i responded but atleast i was truthful! I will take some time to read all your responses and comment over the weekend. Love that you had the guts to do this. Only when we delve into these deep hurtful emotions, can we survive life’s little bumps…

  • Alison

    February 24, 2012 at 11:54 am

    You are most welcome my friend! I just hated that you thought for one minutes that THAT is how it is for everyone and nothing you can do about it….so NOT TRUE!

    • Sharon

      February 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks Ali! I put a lot of thought and effort into this posting because I really don’t want to be dismissive of anyone’s feelings but it was important for me to address this for myself.

  • panjels

    February 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Sharon, thanks for a good read and healthy to look at adoption from all sides. I think so much of this discussion can be applied to other areas of life as well. No two people are the same and we all have different influences, experiences, emotions. Two children from the same parents can sometimes respond so differently to the same parenting. It really sounds like this writer didn’t have a good experience and is still struggling emotionally. Altho she raised some very valid points which i certainly don’t disagree with, i think her specific outlook/ story also can’t be generalised & applied to every adopted persons experience.
    There is also grace… who won’t make mistakes in their parenting?
    We can all only aim to raise little ones (adopted or not) to know their worth and purpose and to grow up secure in their parents love…. knowing that they were meant to be alive, that God planned them even if the initial circumstances weren’t ideal.
    I have friends who still struggle with the fact that their conception wasn’t ‘planned’ by their parents…. I can’t understand that based on my story (read Doctor death (with-a-little-d) « twobehold)… but I don’t need to. They respond differently to me and it is up to us all as adults to make forward movement choices despite the hurt of the past (from which no-one fully escapes).
    I was meant to be an abortion which failed…. and my parents got a second chance to raise me….. when I found out, i was so secure in their love for me that it hardly blipped my radar. But this is my story. I also knew God planned me… so that above all, held me safe.

    And I also write as one who is about to start the adoption process with my husband.
    We waited 4 years to know that this was right and that we were prepared… and we WILL LOVE those children…. the little ones that will be entrusted to us…. as best we can!

  • Joni

    February 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Hey Shaz thanks for a very very very informative and good read! I agree our South African experience is soo very different compared to the American context. We have way many more abandoned babies and for these children there is no other option but adoption or grow up institutionalised.

    I’ve counselled children in orphanages and they’ve all said to me they wish they’d been adopted rather than left in care, that way they would’ve had parents to care for them, love them and educate them.

    One group of 16 – 17 year old boys said that the thing they wanted most growing up was someone to call “Mom and/or Dad”, someone who had their backs, someone who loved them unconditionally, someone to watch them play sport, they wanted to be somone’s child (to belong to a family), someone to care and most importantly (and this rated highly among them) someone who gave them hugs, kisses and affection. The majority of these kids rate the lack of physical love the hardest thing they’ve had to deal with in care.

    We are totally open about our adoption with Adam. I will move heaven and earth (when HE is ready) to find his BM.

    I’ve also found that the majority of overseas transracial adoptees have it harder than here in South Africa where we live in a very mixed open society. I too was trying to research how it is growing up in a transracial family and found very many adoptees who battled to accept growing up as the only black face in a white town! We’re fortunate that Adam is one of 10 transracial adoptees in his school and his class is very mixed and multicultural. People often ask me what it’s like to raise a black child and I keep on educating them and saying “I’m not raising a black child, I’m raising a child” or when I get irritated I ask them how they cope with raising a white child…..

    Shaz, I’m sure it’s soo much harder than we can imagine for our children. All we can do is be open, honest, caring and LOVING to our children. Answer their questions (no matter how painful to us) to the best of our abilities and parent the best way we know how.

  • Adele

    February 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Very interesting. Thx.

    I have read a blog where the family do celebrate the Gotcha day! They adopted a baby boy from Ethopia – an American family. I therefore presume it is used in America. It is used when the baby was not placed from birth – they could only fetch him when he was about 9 months old. They waited in great anticipation and the day they finally got him was such a relief. They actually chose to adopt as they are able to have their own biological children. Again, as everything with adoption – it depends on the situation and how the people react to it.

    Very interesting and helpful, thx.

  • Pandora

    February 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Its quite hard not to get emotional about this. I don’t know the writer’s story, so I don’t know why she feels so strongly about this. I have also read the comments and there are some very strong feelings from both sides. I am a bit puzzled by why they feel they are not allowed to grieve their loss. Surely no-one can stop you from grieving? Even if it is in private? Thats just my own view.
    I know adult adoptees, who have loved their AP’s, who only found out in their teens they were adopted, who had the whole fantasy of who their parents were, and even later in life found their birth family. One of them told me the following:
    She never felt rejected, however she did want to met her birth parents.
    She did not like her BM when she did meet her, but she did like her biological brother, who she kept in touch with, her sister she only met once.
    So, as others have said, we all have different experiences and we all process things differently. I hope my daughter never feels she has lost anything, and I will always allow her the space to express any feelings she may have without making her feel guilty about them., or fear she may be hurting us.
    I also think adoption has changed a lot from the time the writer was adopted. Then some young girls did not have a choice, their parents insisted they gave their babies up. This happened to someone in my matric class.
    It is good to look at this from all sides, but personally I am going to choose to keep my positive view on adoption.

  • Kathy

    February 25, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Hi Sharon,

    All I can say is ‘don’t believe everything you read on the Internet’….my FS used to tell me that all the time, and I guess that your SW’s would say the same. Opinions and perspectives are just that. We are all entitled to them, we are entitled to talk about them, blog about them, and share them with whoever is willing to listen. BUT they are not necessarily the same between two people who have experienced the exact same thing. I’m not being dismissive about the writer’s feelings (entirely), but I do find her to be somewhat troubled. Sharon, your adoption journey (as you’ve described it on your blog) cannot be any further from her reality, so please…be open to perspectives but don’t lose sleep over someone else’s (less than ideal) life experiences!

    Just my 2c worth…

  • Kathy

    February 25, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Sorry Sharon I just thought of a clearer analogy to make the point I was trying to make above…

    I recently ran a survey for all managers (300 people) at my work, and one question was ‘I would gladly recommend a friend or family member to work for xxx’…95% or respondents said ‘strongly agree’. These are all professionals who can get a job anywhere they’d like, yet 5% of these people choose to stay where they are for whatever their personal reason. Of course as a company we need to understand why these people are unhappy – after all there are 15 of them so it’s a significant number. My point is that if you ask those 15 for ‘their perspective or their story’ it will be vastly different from the other 285. It could be a bad line manager, relationship with peers, physical working environment etc etc. But the rest of the team who has the same manager, same peers, same environment could still tell you a different story…

    As an individual I choose to listen to all sides, but I decide which ‘camp’ I will belong to. Adoptive families and children all have this choice based on a million factors…

    Sorry for the ramble. But I really don’t like it when people paint things with the same brush and that is what I feel the writer was doing in her letter…


  • Laura

    February 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I didn’t read it all Sharon because it upset me.

    I know a lady who grew up adopted and she is the most well adjusted person I know. She is secure, confident, has a good relationship with her parents etc etc.

    What I wander is what this man would be saying if he had remained with his biological parents. Would he feel more “adjusted” and secure? And what would be feel one day if he marries a women and they can’t fall pregnant?

    Children who are adopted are wanted, they are loved from the day the parents receive the phone call – isn’t that enough? Isnt that what every child needs – unconditional love?

    The comment about the birthday not being a day for celebration – that seemed a little wrong for me. The day Ava was born was huge celebration for you. The same for Melindas Ben etc. And you show gratitude to the BM every year when you celebrate that date. Yes it may be a hard day for the BM – I respect that but I cant imagine how it is hard for the child?

  • Nadia

    February 27, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I am an adopted child. The first time my parents told my sister and I we both cried a little. My parents comforted us and told us that there is nothing wrong with being adopted and that we are their children and they are our parents. I was around 12 when they told me. There has never ever been a day when I felt I was not their child, my word I consider myself lucky, and I thank God everyday that my parents chose me. I have a huge family, mt mom has 20 brothers and sisters.. There has never ever been a day where my aunts, uncles, cousins have ever treated my sister and I any differently. They are my family and I am there’s. My sister has blessed my mom with 3 beautiful grandchildren, and I have blessed her with one. They are my parents and I am there’s I feel no different to any other child. In fact I feel more special.. I was made for them and no one else.

  • Tan

    February 28, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I haven’t had time to post. this has been on my mind so much and I need to say it saddens me that adoptees could go through this.

    I do know that is very different here in SA. I have had to stop reading most of the US Birthmom/ Firstmom blogs as most are very angry and I didn’t understand that at all.

    As a Mom and Birthmom I am not offended by the term birthmom. I am not Taylors’ Mom I never will be. I am her Birthmom. I love her and she is my child but I am not her Mother.

    I pray that she never feels way the author does.

    The author says that it is better for the child to stay with her birth family if possible. Sadly I don’t think that it is always possible and what people who jump on what they think is the ‘save the birthmom wagon’, this frustrates me because, its always well why couldn’t you just help her financially and then she can keep the baby? or offer her solutions that will let help her keep the child. I have yet to meet one of these “save the birthmom” actually contribute to this or do anything to assist a birthmom and sometimes the problems are not a few months sometimes they take years to sort out. Are they willing to financially help a women and child for the next say 5 years?

    I will post on my blog more because as you can see It seems to be something that is turning into a essay

  • Tan

    February 28, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Ok I just lost a whole post on this I will blog about it and link back to you.

    Thanks for a good post. It saddens me that adoptee’s might feel this way.

  • Nisey

    March 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Hey Sharon, I’ve waited a while to respond to this because I felt quite sad reading it and needed to gather my thoughts.

    I also went and read the original letter and comments and didn’t feel any clearer on the situation at all. Our adoption story is obviously different to what she experienced and I think think it is sad that her experience was an unpleasant one – I guess that is why the screening process is such a rigorous affair.

    My personal belief is that part of our life paths are that we will experience certain things and our destiny is how we deal with those things. Jaden was with his biological family for over a year. In that time he suffered neglect and abuse. It was not right for him to be left with them, he needed a home where he would be loved and cared for.

    What I take from this letter is that only children in his situation should be ‘adoptable’. That makes me quiver in my boots. Surely if a BM knows that her child will better off with another family she should not have to feel guilty about making that decision? Surely adoptive parents should be able to provide a loving family home to a child without feeling guilty?

    I am sure there are cases where mothers are coerced into adoption to avoid scandal or whatever other motives those that surround them have and I agree wholeheartedly that a mother who feels she can raise a child should be allowed to do so. Money is irrelevant, financial means do not make you a good or bad mother. I believe that if adoptions are handled in the correct manner and the social workers involved are working from a place of integrity these cases can be avoided.

    But, as with everything in life, there is always room for corruption and I am sure if I was the product of a scenario where my BM was forced to give me up I would also harbour bitterness and anger.

    Saying that all adoptions are bad is like saying all whites are racist. Some are and some aren’t. Generalisations are almost never accurate.

    With regard to the GOTCHA day. WTF? I can’t think of anything more vulgar or distasteful – that anyone would use that phrase truely blows my mind! I will always remember the 3rd of July as the day Jaden joined our family but we have never celebrated the day or made a fuss of it – I remember the tears in his mothers eyes, I remember how he was drawn to his father and I felt my heart tearing out for them, for him.

    It would be naive to think that it wasn’t a sad day for all three of them and although I felt so sad for them I KNOW with every fibre of my being that he is where he is meant to be today. Much like Ava’s BM must have had her heart ripped out when you left with Ava we have to believe and raise our children to believe that we are all exactly where we are meant to be.

    If the time comes that our children want to meet their birth parents I will facilitate that meeting – I will endeavour to find their parents and go as far as my child wants me to go with them. Likewise I will not encourage the meeting. It must be something that the child longs for and desires – I will never know what its like to now know my bio parents so I can’t assume they will want to meet them and I can’t deny them access when the time comes.

    I will do the absolute best that I can for Jaden, like my biological mom did for me. She screwed up along the way and I have no doubt that I will too – there is NO such thing as the perfect parent, we all just do the best we can whether we are parenting adopted or biological children.


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