Today starts the first day of a dreadful month in my life. Wait, back up. I can’t say it’s entirely dreadful as it is the birth month of one of the most precious gifts – my child. However, I’m not entirely sure if I even have the right to call her my child. My heart says yes but adoption says no. That’s neither here nor there. Today is the first month of the onslaught of images, stories, and propaganda that will be coming across my news feed on Facebook, television set, radio, and pretty much every other outlet you can think of. The onslaught of adoption. The onslaught of how everyone should love adoption and be so grateful and thankful for it. It’s enough to drive a person insane.
I will watch while people “celebrate” that children could not remain with their families, for whatever reason. I will watch as they rejoice that some other mother wasn’t able to keep her child with her. I will watch as they ignore the reasons for adoption and the pain it has caused so many people. When you point it out most will acknowledge that it’s sad but then follow up with “But look how wonderful this family turned out! What a great gift that was given to this couple!” This negate’s my feelings and sends the message that we aren’t allowed to feel our pain or complain because, well, we wouldn’t want to taint some other people’s great gain of a child by reminding them of our tremendous loss.
“I gave her the memory of a child, a child taken from her mother. I gave her loss. Too soon. The light went from her eyes. The next morning, without telling me, she went to the Chief Elder and asked to be released.”
-The Giver (2014 film)
Anyone who has read, “The Giver” or seen the film knows the pre-text of this quote. Let me clarify for those who don’t. The Giver gives his memories to a receiver in order to be carried on since we all live in a “perfect” and “orderly” society now. A society where women are selected to be “birthmothers” and the babies they bear are handed off to the family the elders find fit for them. The first receiver only lasted five weeks after the memory, above, was given to her.
This hits the nail on the head. If anyone truly had to live through this, had this memory, this feeling, passed onto them, it isn’t something they would be celebrating.
I’m reminded of another quote:
“Another woman’s child calls me mom. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”
This is an adoptive mother who gets it.
The fact is, NAAM (National Adoption Awareness Month) was not created for people to celebrate adoption. It was created to raise awareness to the thousands of kids who are sitting in the foster care system without families. It was not intended to be what it is today. Even those “orphans” in the system probably wouldn’t appreciate the loss of their family, no matter the reason, being celebrated. They may appreciate that they are in a loving family now, but you cannot celebrate one without ignoring the other. Ignoring why adoption was possible is wrong. We need to focus on ways to ensure that there are no losses, that families can stay together and that parents have the resources and tools they need to successfully and safely parent their children.
Today is day one of a month I have to endure. I wish that I could sit here and contemplate the birth of my fourth child without all this static and fuzz called NAAM. I wish I could think about those stolen moments we had together the first few weeks of her life. I wish I could cry when I needed to cry, smile when I needed to smile, and not have to have how “great” my loss is rubbed in my face at every click of my mouse or push of the button on my TV.
Before you go celebrating how great adoption has been in your life, remember our loss.
“I gave her the memory of a child, a child taken from her mother. I gave her loss. Too soon. The light went from her eyes.”