This is another post in response to the Facebook frenzy that happened a couple of days ago.
I took a hiatus several months ago from blogging on all things adoption, because it was severely affecting relationships in my personal life. But that doesn’t mean I care any less about the issue and it doesn’t mean my opinions are any less valid than anyone else’s. I have had people say some downright awful things to me in the last two days, so I’m sorry but I’m not done blogging about it. And if you have something nasty to say, please, leave me a comment and reiterate how this industry is so dang ugly.
I come before you vulnerable and hurt. So please take these words in the sincerest, least antagonistic tone possible.
I am at a loss as I think of the many ways people just don’t get it. It is so hard to feel so strongly about something and have so few people around you who see it the way you do. Or even try to.
When I voice my opinions on adoption the response is, without fail, “I’m sorry you are hurting, I will pray for healing.” And that in and of itself is not bad! There will always be room for healing, unfortunately I don’t imagine this life is something I could ever be fully healed of. It is heartbreak that I will carry to eternity. And that is ok for me. I have accepted this is my journey and in-part, the path that I chose. However, it is not about my need for healing or even my pain from adoption. I care because I have been hurt, but that is not why you should care. You should care because it is unjust.
Do you know what I lost? As a child? I have always known that I had another family out there in the world and I knew that as a little girl I loved them. As I grew up I began to understand that in new ways. But, it really wasn’t until I found Sarah that I fully grasped the gravity of what had happened to us. My baby sister grew up in a nightmare believing that she had been abandoned and unwanted. Do you have any idea the impact that has had on me? Do you know the depth of the grief and the guilt that has led me to? Knowing that I could do nothing to protect my own sister? And I shouldn’t have to carry that guilt or pain. As a six-year-old girl, I didn’t deserve to lose my entire family at someone else’s hand. And do you know that we were all adopted into separate closed adoptions? Do you know that it is by the grace of God that we even know each other today? And love each other as if no time has passed? We had an awful childhood, but we had each other. And for us that meant something; it meant everything.
D0 you know what I lost as a mother? For a child who grew up with no biological roots to speak of, it is no wonder that I ran as fast as I could from the one thing that could tie all that back together. Even now as an adult, I keep my distance from any relationship but especially biological ones. I’m not going to make excuses, I know that I made the decision to give my son up, that is clear. But that doesn’t mean I knew what the ramifications of that decision would be. I had no frame of reference for what that mother-child bond would entail. I did not know what I was walking away from. I did not know that I would carry him with me in every breath from that day forward. I did not know that there would never again be a day where I would not grieve his absence. Every. Single. Day.
So that my friends is why I care.
But those are not your experiences, so why should you care? You should care about a system that is tearing apart families unnecessarily. About an industry that is creating orphans. About children being torn away from their heritage for obscene amounts of money. About child trafficking to meet the demands of American families who have vowed to save the worlds orphans. It has very little to do with me and everything to do with impacting change. If we don’t speak out about injustices then who will? If we don’t acknowledge that something isn’t right, then the cycle continues. More mothers face a lifetime of loss and more children are traumatized.
I’m not saying there are not children who need to be adopted — there absolutely ARE! But don’t you think that $50,000 toward an international adoption could instead be used to open a women’s clinic providing adequate prenatal care and encouraging mother’s to care for their children? Let’s get at the roots of abandonment and preserve families. Instead of saving one “orphan” (and let’s stop calling them orphans when they have living parents), lets save 10 mothers from the society that tells them to abandon their children. Let’s start showing people love instead of telling them they’re not good enough. Lets be preventative instead of trying to put a bandaid on a gaping wound. Let’s heal traumas instead of compounding them.
Let’s have a dialogue about the failings of the adoption industry and about how those two words should never go together and yet they are synonymous. Let’s stop talking about how much of a blessing our adopted children are and start talking about what a tragedy it is that our children had to be adopted. Lets validate the trauma and loss that these kids experienced at birth. Let’s be real about the brokenness that is an unexpected pregnancy or a disabled child or the “wrong” gendered child or whatever reason it is that could cause a parent to walk away from their own flesh and blood. Let’s stop making something so painful, look so glamorous.
((*EDIT* I want to clarify that I am in NO way saying that a disabled child is a tragedy. However, in MANY countries, the reason a parent abandons a child to an orphanage is often related to a disability or medical condition — the abandonment is the tragedy, not the condition! I wanted to make sure that was not miscommunicated!))