Adoption: Not Even On My Own Worse Enemy

I will NEVER Wish the Pain of a  Birth Mother on Another

I have always said that I could not, would not wish this pain of loss and separation of a child on my own worse enemy.

Now in some of the circles that I travel in my online world, the adoptive parents are considered to be one’s worse enemy and a blight on creation in general. Lately, some of the differences between the way my brain processes thoughts and the way others do have been..um…very definitive and some of the differences have become much more obvious. I always begin to wonder why that is. I am just like that. I like to know what makes me tick..too many years of therapy or something, but I go beyond in why do I think or believe a certain way, what’s the emotional foundation.

Oh I am Angry About Adoption, But Not Stark Raving Mad

Anyway, my experiences as a mother of adoption loss is much different than many of my counterparts. They had their children taken from them in the Baby Scoop Era (BSE)in ways that were dehumanizing, cruel, horrific and heartbreaking. Drugged, lied to, tied down, broken in spirit and then made to pretend that nothing had happened for many, many years. Thousands of mothers, thousands of stories, thousands of babies lost..it is truly a crime against nature and women and their children. Go to the BEBA sight, or Origins USA if you want a sad read. And the worst is that they were told to just be quiet and “get over it” for years..and for years they did, alone in their grief, alone in this world.

Now, though, they have a voice and, rightfully so, they are MAD. And really, I can’t blame them. I really do understand it. They should be mad. They had to bottle up 30, 40 , 50 years of pain inside and it is righteously roaring now. Heck, I’d probably be there with them. But at the same time, it is just not my way maybe because it is not my experience.

I don’t have my parents, and family, and boyfriend, and society to just be mad at. I mean, they did all contribute to the “reasons”, but really I know I have more of myself to blame completely. No one force me into adoption though I was given many reasons why it was “best” and I was treated fairly and decently at the agency even if they did not warn me that it pretty much sucks forever. So I am not screaming out into the whole world about my injustice. I am quietly contemplating, questioning and trying to understand myself as much as everyone else that played a part and sill plays a part.

Not Anti Adoption Enough

Anyway, so in being “anti-adoption” one of the things that is a quandary (oh, for lack of a better term) is what to do with the sympathetic adoptive parent. Some, rally would like nothing better than to haul them into the town square and stone them to death. Just the fact that they have adopted a child has given them a free pass to hell. And given that they have been put into hell on Earth themselves based on the demands of society and the needs of the adopters, I can understand it, but again..I cannot share it.

Now don’t get me wrong. I do see the correlation between the need for babies to adopt and the social climate that tells the women facing the unplanned pregnancy that she is stronger, more loving, and wonderful for creating that supply. There is a market and it is an adoption industry, but I will not rant on that here and now. And, unfortunately, there are many people who adopt who just make my skin crawl. Some attitudes, feelings towards natural parents, the Crack Whore  Birth Mother stereotype, closing open adoptions, more lies and coercion in adoption counseling..yeah, some of it is just evil.

Human Beings and Their Best Intentions Gone Wrong

I think too that everything in life has the capacity to be either good or evil or usually, somewhere in between. I have seen more pain and evil in adoption than say, pure good, but there is goodness out there..even in an adoptive parent.

I tend to think that the majority of adoptive parents, especially in the past, didn’t really think much about it. They wanted children and could not have them naturally; so the logical choice was to adopt. And I hear that even now, in groups of my own contemporaries. Someone is bemoaning that they are getting older and still not with Mr. Wonderful or they aren’t quite ready and will their eggs be too old? And then another do gooder, non-thinker will chip in and say “Well, you could always adopt!”

And I can’t blame them really. This is what we are taught now to think. We have billboard ads, we have commercials on TV, Lifetime adoptions..movies and a baby!, Discovery Happy Adoption Stories, the highly charged political abortion issue that has every right wing dufus from the Oval Orifice on thinking that adoption is the golden answer, we have Angelina and Brad collecting international babies, and PBS doing its “Celebration of Separation!”…it is shoved down our throats every five point three seconds. I thought adoption was “cool” based on TV movies and some weird ideas of my own at one time.

But back to the people who decide to adopt. Like I will use Max’s parents as an example. Seems like nice enough folks. Happy, married and they want some kids. So they adopt two. I think they probably did some research before and read some “Pass the Love” books to feel good about it, but didn’t really ever look into what it all means on a grand scale. And I think, once they got their two boys, they didn’t really think too much else about them being adopted. They just loved them and raised them and were what they wanted..a family. Did they need to think real hard about little old me…not really, it was closed, I was off in another state. I mean, I think they probably had some warm wishes for me every so often, but I was not part of their lives…so I was, and my feelings were forgettable.

The Adoptive Parent Who Understands Loss and Pain in Adoption

Anyway, often in the militant anti adoption circles, we do come onto the “understanding” adoptive parent. The ones who have adopted and then really get more involved. And some of them I think, really do get it. Like I see so many who do much more research now available online than ever before and I think that many do really try as hard as they can to emphasis with the birthmothers and their grief. I think many now are much more in tune with our feelings, lifelong, and are willing to do all that they can to remove as much as possible. But still, many will say, “oh, I am so sorry you suffered so” and then they will go ahead and adopt an baby anyway. Ouch.

But I know some, a mere few, who will not adopt again because they cannot contribute anymore to the pain and suffering of another human being no matter what they need, want and desire. I know some, who can see that their adopted child should have been with their natural parents. I was messaged by one who worked with a facilitator who admitted to me that she was selfish and they bought their last baby. And they will not adopt again. Those are the adoptive parents who I love and adore.

Anyway..I swear there is a point here! When the hardcore anti adoption folks meet up with a true understanding adoptive parent the discussion often turns to what now, after a final adoption, after years of a child knowing the adoptive parents as Mom, Dad and family, what to do? And some will say “Give the child back” That is how you prove you are really reformed, I guess. You return the child to the natural family.

I Cannot Demand My Adopted Son Back

One last digression. I love that I found my son. And let me tell you, there is no doubt in my heart, in my blood, in my soul..that he is MY son. Did he really belong here, as one of my clan forever, Oh god yes. Is he part of me, part of my children, part of my soul..oh yes. Is it a terrible sad thing that he was lost to us for so long…again, yes. But that can’t erase what did happen. I let him go. And he does have another family. Another brother, another sister, another father, another mother. He has shared memories, and a whole other life. And I know they consider him to be part of them, part of their lives, their family, their heart and their souls too. And you know what? They were suppose to! That’s what they were there for. Yes, I COULD have done it, but I was stupid and I didn’t. And they did. I can’t hate them for it. They loved my son. They love him still. And what is not to love? He is amazing, talented, unique, smart, handsome..my son.

I cannot expect them to ever really “give” him back. I expect them to respect our bonds, his desire for our relationship, and let us have a future together, but not to give him back. I expect them to share. I would want them to rejoice in our finding of each other but I don’t think they do yet. Perhaps in time. ( ETA; no, not in time)  Right now, I tend to think that they might have some “typical” adoptive parents insecurities to hopefully come to terms with. I expect them to allow him to freely pursue what he would like from my portion of his family. But I cannot expect them to give him back. Even if they saw it all my way..they were able to understand my loss, his loss, our pain. I still would not want to take him from them all the way.

To them, he is their child. And I would not wish this pain on my own worse enemy.

I could not ever be party in making this pain happen for another human being, another parent who loves their live child, whether adoptive or not. I cannot contribute.

But I will take all that they can share. I’ll accept as much as he wants, but I cannot demand it.
For then, I am no better than those who are thought of as true evil in the book.
Not on my own worse enemy.

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

6 Comments on "Adoption: Not Even On My Own Worse Enemy"

  1. Claud,

    This exact issue has been running through my mind the past few days, too. Thank you for writing about it. I think you made a powerful point about being unable to fully take away a child who’s bonded for years and years with another family….. I’m not sure even how that helpful to our children. If Moonbeam’s parents died, and I could have her back tomorrow, I’d welcome her with open arms… but to taker her away, at four and half, from her parents and sister if they were all still alive? What then? …It would break HER heart. I wonder, do the people who advocate “returning” the child think it through to its conclusion? Would they want to hear their child crying at night for “mommy,” knowing the child doesn’t mean them? It just wouldn’t work.

    I don’t believe all adoptive parents are evil, either. Personally, I think that’s just outright prejudice, to categorize a whole group of people based on one piece of who they are/one thing they have done… it’d be like calling me a whore just because I had sex with more than one person before marriage. However, your discussion of the trauma of the BSE made it more vivid for me, more comprehensible for me to understand why some might feel the way they do.

    So all around, thank you for an insightful and thought-provoking post.

  2. There are so many layers to this subject. I don’t think you can say that heavy handed coercion is from the past, it still happens today. I have heard horror stories from mothers of young children who were heavily coerced and bullied into making adoption “plans”. I am also more freaked out by the “dancing bear” birthmothers than the militant anti adoption ones. I don’t know where I stand yet but I am more militant mama than dancing bear.

  3. Oh, I do know that Kim. I just didn;t want to expand i THAT much…it felt like a huge run on to get one thought out anyway. I mean the simple thought is that I couldn;t be the one to take a child from anyone….KWIM
    But Oh yeah..there is still some very bad crap going on…hmm maybe that’s another post..horror stories I have heard first hand of this decade..heck in the last five years!
    And this is also sort of a first respond response to just some of the critism that I have had over the last few days from a few of the heavy hand ones. I am still reeeling a bit from that. And the thing is, you manage to talk to “others” too…civilly, respectfully, etc..and some of thse are adoptive parents, you can respect your daughters love for her amother…that;s the kind of things that some BSE’s don;t tolerate at all and are critical of.
    Anyway , I am trying to gat a sense of all that. It’s hard becasue I am no dancing bear anymore…yet my past as a dancing bear ( not that I was that bad really…most of my “happy” years were in the adoption closet) and not having been forced myself…well I ma just not in that other catagory completely either. And I would side myself as WITH them..but my level of communication makes me :unclean:…ugg..need more coffee

  4. Kim, I agree there’s still some pretty terrible stuff that happens… I just think that, for me, having experienced a more subtle coercion and (IMO) a lot of just plain incompetence and stupidity, I haven’t been so completely TRAUMATIZED like the BSE mothers (heartbreak yes, PTSD-inducing trauma, no)… and maybe that lack of outright trauma makes it harder for me to consider each and every aparent the enemy. I know I’m one of the “lucky” ones (if that term can be used in adoption): I have a fully open adoption that is being completely honored… I’m able to visit or back off from visits whenever I need… her aparents put pictures of me in her room and talk often about who I am… my parents have been able to retain their “Grandma” and “Grandpa” titles and roles. It’s hard to hate people who really do take the effort to honor me and my family to my daughter. Do I wish they understood that all domestic infant adoptions under the current system are subject to being (and probaly 99% of them are) unnecessary and therefore, in my mind, unethical? Yes… but if they still believe they cam actually adopt an infant who really couldn’t have been raised by its mother, then I consider them as being simply unable to completely pull the wool off. But I can’t hate them for that…. I mean, I had that wool over my own eyes for many years.

  5. Thanks for sharing this post. I’m a mother who adopted my 2 children (I hate the term “adoptive mother” because I consider myself to just be a mother with no qualifiers…my children are my life and I love them with everything in my heart and soul). I try hard to understand birthmother perspectives. What I appreciate is hearing from a birthmother who does not automatically hate adoptive parents just because they adopted. It’s just too complex of a thing. One of my childrens’ mothers is mentally ill and not capable of caring for a child. The other birthmother was very young and already parenting a child and was completely overwhelmed at the prospect of parenting another..she is very clear in telling me that she has no regrets at all at this point. I think what birthmothers often don’t understand or appreciate is that adoptive parents think more about adoption and birthparents than they might realize. It IS important to us and we’re not all just “oh, here’s my baby, forger where she came from.” But the reality is that we are doing the daily parenting. We bond with our children just as any bio mother bonds with her child. We have to help our children understand adoption and make sense of it. I think adopted children all have the fantasy of the perfect birthmom showing up (I suspect that is where your son is right now…fed up his parents, and fantasy mom has just come along!). I just think there are many sides to the story, and bmothers often have a false image about who aparents are.

  6. while i agree with a lot of what you say on your blog and in this post, i truly don’t feel that people not adopting is the way to solve the problems about which you write.

    we will probably never see a world without adoption, so i just don’t think of it as a viable option in addressing and resolving the issues in the ‘business of adoption’ today.

    it just makes me wonder if you truly think it may be the right solution to the problems, and have an explanation as to how you think it would work, or if you just call for people to not adopt in order to get the public’s attention and focus more on the issues.

    i’m really interested in hearing what you have to say.

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