I’m sure, by now, I’m loathed by most who have found themselves in my corner of the world wide Web via an innocent Google search about how to adopt a baby. That’s okay. I get it. My writing is blunt and I don’t mince words. I’d like to take some time, however, to speak directly to the aforementioned.
Dear Hoping to Adopt,
For you, achieving motherhood is not an easy row to hoe. For you, perhaps, attaining motherhood, in the traditional sense, is quite literally impossible. I can only imagine the heartbreak of learning that all of your dreams, that were most likely fostered from the time you were able to snuggle with your first baby doll, are now slipping from your grasp and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.
The countless negative pregnancy tests, maybe the loss of your children before they even had a chance to be a part of this world, the fertility treatments, the worry, the hope, the anxiety, the tears – I understand. I get it. I’m not heartless. I empathize, maybe sometimes too much, with the millions of hardships that we, as human beings, must face.
I think about the hurt you must face every time a friend or relative announces they are expecting or the pain you must feel watching others care for their little ones. I do understand that it must be lonely feeling like the odd man out while others have, what feels like, an exclusive club that only women who are mothers can join. We are women. Most of us, not all, are wired with a natural instinct and yearning to be a mother. I truly understand and empathize.
When you read through my writing you may not think it’s possible for me to empathize with you. But I do. It’s not that hard because I know what it feels like.
I know how deeply it hurts to dream of a child that will never be yours. I know how gut-wrenching it is to grieve a lost child. I have felt lonely as well – lonely when no one else could understand how much pain I was in – lonely when they were praising me for how selfless I was – lonely when I was told that I had given someone a beautiful gift and that I did the right thing. And for the rest of my life I will feel as though I don’t belong with all the other mommies. I surrendered my motherhood to my child and that’s something most don’t truly understand and most are certainly way off base about what that ultimately means.
I empathize because my loss is huge. There was no one there to help me or support me. No one to tell me that I could do it. I was told that adoption was the right choice which, to me, meant I was not the right choice. I was not good for my baby is the message I received and I will forever belong to that lonely club.
Loss is subjective. Some may say the loss of a pregnancy is the same as the loss of a child through adoption. I will always disagree. The path I walk in life, as a first mother, has many layers. I’m sure those who have suffered a miscarriage know what it’s like to blame themselves. The fact is, though, that really there was nothing you willfully did to cause the loss of your unborn baby. As a first mom, however, a good portion of society, as I’m reminded of more and more often, continues to act as if surrendering my child, the loss of my child, was a willful act. Yes, I signed relinquishment papers but there was nothing willful about it. My circumstances forced that hand just as your physical circumstances have forced yours in your journey through infertility.
See, we aren’t all that much different, you and I. We’ve both suffered. We’ve both lost. We’ve both grieved and we’ve both gone through trauma and emotional anguish.
If you ever find yourself asking, “Why is she so angry and bitter?” please think back to everything you’ve gone though in your journey to achieve motherhood. Then ask yourself how you’d feel if the whole of society celebrated it and asked you to be grateful for it, asked you to accept others purposely facilitating it. This is what that feels like to me.
Yes, I have empathy for you, but my empathy stops where your willful ignorance begins. My empathy stops when there are hundreds and thousands of children truly in need of a family but you insist on getting a brand new baby. My empathy stops when I see you begging others for donations to take another mother’s child when the donations that you have rolling in would enable that mother to keep her baby. My empathy ends there. I simply cannot do it anymore. To me, it’s the equivalent of you asking for donations to assure the loss of pregnancy in another woman because, for some odd reason, that’s the only way to ensure your own motherhood.
Facilitating the loss of another’s motherhood so that you may attain your own is where my empathy ends.
It is only a few thousand dollars, usually, to give a home to a child genuinely in need of a family, to become a mother. You seem great at fundraising and that money could be used to help another mother be saved from this life of pain.
I empathize with your loss. Will you empathize with mine? Or will you refuse to because my loss stands in the way of your selfish desires? Look at yourself in the mirror. What does that make you?
22 thoughts on “Dear Hoping to Adopt”
Wow. Perfectly described. Perfectly…
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This is awesome! So very well said! I wish every PAP could read this. It might make them consider fulfilling their drive for motherhood by giving a child in foster care, a home instead of giving a lifetime of pain and grief to an emom and her new baby!
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I’m glad people are finally having this conersation, and it has to be had. We have generations of moms and kids now, separated (largely because of the Catholic church and foreign-Abrahamic-religious influences on our culture) and traumatized by this. I’m one whose mother was forced to give me up. She refused to sign off on me for a year, and even married a man (she was still in high school) that promised to help get me back. He lied, and eventually she did sign off when the priest came and told her a perfect home had been found for me (that was also a lie, they were about to put me in an orphanage). This was 1959; there was no welfare assistance, and her mother was awful and wouldn’t have helped her keep me.
Fast forward 50 years; we finally find each other – and it’s been amazing. She is my best friend, and I adore her. She suffered for years, and finally, in the 80’s, was treated for PTSD. Me, I had an “ideal” childhood; but I was still never happy, never felt like I belonged, and left home very young, which devastated my adopted mother.
So much pain, so many lives ruined, in every Western country where xtianity held sway.
Sing it, my sisters!
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Hugs to you.
What’s the longest length of time a mom to change her mind about the adoption, over there? I think it’s different depending on the state? Here it’s 60 days. Another question I’d love you to deal with on the blog, because I know it’s relevant to your country too is, what are your thoughts on trans-racial (Do you call it cross racial) adoption? Or rather, what is your view on parents who only want white babies? Is that ok? Does it lead to less mental harm on the child? Or should every foster child receive a family regardless of race? It’s not as if foster care doesn’t mentally harm a child anyway…Which is worse? Foster care? Or a differently raced parent? What makes me sad is how willing we are to adopt a child from foster care but some white people are willing to pay gazillions of rands to pay for medical care for a white unborn child and then maybe the mother changes her mind after giving birth…And the wait itself for white babies last YEARS. One woman and her son kept a child until 59 days and mom changed her mind. Poor son still receives therapy for that. Don’t know which is better. A child who looks like you whose mother you met before she even gave birth, or a child already waiting but not your race..?
BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! Standing ovation!!
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Here’s the thing for me. I get it and I empathize, but…the Buddhists say the pain is real the suffering is optional a CHOICE. People lose arms, legs, eyes, their total sight. Yet none think about plucking out the eyes of a living human being – even one an emerging world who might need the money a blind person would willingly pay.
Not being able to have a child hurts like hell. I get that. But it is NOT life and death and we do not allow poor people to sell their organs…yet we traffic children!
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Wow…this is such an emotional topic. I love that you begin with empathy for the woman longing to be a mother. I love that you also established where it ends. We need more warrior women to fight for those who feel powerless or are made to feel shame or simply wish their righteous anger had a voice. Thank you for fighting, fiercely for your right to be heard.
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Thank you ♡
I came here to read this prepared to read something “horrible”, based on comments that I had seen elsewhere. What I read was something quite eloquent, well-balanced, moving, full of sympathy for the plight of both a First Mother and an Adoptive Parent.
Who am I? I am an Adoptive Parent, but I could not love our son’s First Mother any more if she (and her family) were related to me by blood. I care about her wellbeing as much as my own.
I believe First Mothers should be compensated by APs as much as their state law allows. First Mothers should also seek out social services (if finances are an issue behind their inability to parent) to encourage them in their ability to parent.
I realize I’m at risk of making many APs angry here, but I have long had issue with the adoption fundraising. I realize many have already spent so much on fertility treatments…. So then wait until your finances have recovered sufficiently. My heart goes out to families fundraising for serious surgeries and such, but when I see fundraising for an adoption? I cringe! As the author of this beautiful piece noted, there are children in the foster system who would love to be adopted – who would love a stable home and someone to call mom and dad.
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Thank you, Heidi.
Heidi Hopkins – Your heart is in the right place…BUT PLEASE NO! “I believe First Mothers should be compensated by APs as much as their state law allows.’
“Compensation” as in pay??
1) It turns a mother in crisis into a paid surrogate. NOT!
2) It’s baby buying: ILLEGAL!
3) It’s simply insulting.
Again, I know you meant well and feel your love for your child’s mother is sincere. But this suggestion was not well thought through.
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PS: I wanted to say, to women who cannot become pregnant: no one owes you a child, no matter how much you may want one. Do not support the highly-profitable but destructive adoption industry!
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My empathy for you and others in your position ends when you start guilting people pursuing adopting an infant into adopting a child in Foster Care when you and people like yourself refuse to do it yourself. The children in Foster Care have nothing to do with domestic infant adoption. Similar to abortion having nothing to do with adoption. Why don’t fertile people adopt from Foster Care rather than conceive a child? Why are infertile couples held to a different standard than fertile ones?
Yes, I empathize with your pain something I can never understand. Yes, I wish you never had to face what you have in your life. It just plain sucks that you and so many parents out there have gone through what you have. I wish things were different for you and your families. But as you are alluding to in this piece your pain has nothing to do with their pain and nothing to do with the children in Foster Care’s pain.
It’s not the obligation of the expectant mother to provide a baby for the potential adoptive parent. It’s not the obligation of the infertile couple to provide financial assistance to the expectant parents. Though it would be a generous gift. It is most certainly not the obligation of infertile couples to adopt the children that fertile couples pass on when they attempt to have children.
Just as parents like yourself are judged, infertile couples are judged in so many ways. The worst thing we are judged on is not just adopting from Foster Care. As if we are selfish people for not doing so.
True empathy would not include shaming infertile couples and I believe you are showing empathy to an extent. But your issue is with Domestic Infant Adoption not Child Welfare. If a couple decides not to pursue Domestic Infant Adoption do you really care what they do instead or what becomes of them?
Did I strike a chord? You made a choice to adopt. You are talking in circles. You can choose to not adopt. No, I have no empathy for you when a true orphan is not what you seek. You seek to spend tens and thousands to get a perfect newborn baby. You choose to use your money to separate a mother and child for your own selfish desires. You have the means to prevent that (if you have the money to pursue domestic infant adoption) but choose not to. You’re entitled to choose not to help, of course, but, no, I don’t empathize with you. The selfish desires of your heart are worth more to you than the life of pain it will inflict on others. I DON’T FEEL SORRY FOR YOU.
I’m not an Adoptive Parent, Prospective Adoptive Parent or even Hopeful Adoptive Parent. I’m one half of a couple who did not decide to pursue Adopting of any kind. Yes, we are best case scenario for you living childless to grow old with no family isolated by our childfilled society. Someone in the infertility community had shared this piece as part of bringing awareness during Adoption awareness month.
I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me. All I am asking is that you leave Foster Care out of your platform when it has nothing to do with Domestic Infant Adoption. Banning Domestic Infant Adoption will not lead to more kids in Foster Care being Adopted. Instead it will lead more couples to third party reproduction. The bigger issue is how our society outcasts the childless and places a premium on becoming a parent. If you lack children you are seen as having little value compared to parents. It’s why I feel like I’m less than a person because I was born without an ability to reproduce something I recognized will never go away regardless of whether I became a parent. My pain is not because a dream is going to be unfulfilled but because I lack the ability to have a child with someone I love more than anything in the world.
Any time people who are unaware of our situation ask me whether I have kids and I tell them that I’m unable to have kids their response 8x’s out of 10x’s is that there is always adoption. That’s a big problem. That is the driving force behind the demand for babies. That is where people with children have the power to help.
As expected you didn’t approve my response casual it would go against your platform of demonizing all infertile people.
Oh give me a break. You do realize I have a life outside of blogging, right?