Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adoptees who adopt

Be warned, this is a rambly type post that may or may not make any sense!

"Andy....I read this post and I go, "Those are my parents." They'd want Cupcake back in a second. And I think it keeps me from telling them....."

Thanksgivingmom's comment has been rattling around in my head for the last few days. It highlighted something for me that I have struggled to put into words. I live in the unusual position of seeing and processing adoption from 2 sides. By no means do I think that I'm unique. There are other adoptees out there who have formed their own families through adoption. But I do think we are in the minority.

The struggle I'm having is looking at my own adoption and and Liam's and seeing them from 2 different and contradictory view points. If I look just at my own, I see no reason for having been adopted (social stigma of the unwed mother of the 1970's aside), I've had many times when I felt that being "returned" to my first family would have been the right thing to do. Not that I don't love my parents and wanted to leave them. I just felt that I should never have been put in that situation in the first place. And a part of me wanted my parents to take the moral higher ground and give me back.*

The me who is an adoptive mom starts having breathing problems at the idea of having to give Liam back. I can't even think about it. And that leads me to trying to empathize with all the first moms out there. I can't even think about it and they're actually living it. Then I look at his specific adoption and I also see no reason for him to have been adopted. I think that if I knew then what I know now I would have advocated for "K" to keep him and helped her overcome the obstacles that she felt were in her way. But maybe I can only say that, not because of what I know today, but who I am. Today I am a mother. Back then I was not, and I wanted to be one. If I were not a mother today, could I overcome my selfishness in order to help keep a family together? I want to think I could.

So I'm torn. I would not say that I am anti-adoption, but more that I am pro-family preservation. That is a hard place to be, especially when you have to try to explain it to people. How can I be adopted (and therefore should be thankful for being "rescued", "taken in", "given to a good family" say the people outside the world of adoption) and how could I have adopted my son and not think adoption is all rainbows and unicorns? Shouldn't I believe that adoption is the solution to so many problems?

The thing is I don't. I might have once upon a time, but reading and talking and learning over the last 7 years has given me a new point of view. I believe that children should stay with their first families whenever possible. And I don't think "impossible" reasons are money, location, age or marital status. Young unmarried woman who don't make gobs of money and live in a small apartment can and SHOULD raise their babies. Adoption is a long term solution to what is often a short term problem. We just need to give them help and support.

* up to a certain time, and I have no clue what that time is... if my first mother had asked for me back at 1 week, 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years? The theory of this sounds all very easy, but the emotions and bonds don't make it easy at all. Is there really a right thing to do there? No matter what, someone is getting hurt - who should decide who that should be?
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