I’ve never had a problem with the concept of adoption. Good, bad or indifferent, I’ve always been able to translate the idea in a way that makes sense.
I have been through the process with a woman I worked with. I saw the grief, the sacrifice, the confusion and the doubling back and then back again. I didn’t particularly agree with what she was doing, but I understood it.
I have also worked with a girl who had given up her son for adoption after falling pregnant at a very young age. When I met her it was 10 years ‘after the event’ and she was still looking at every dark haired 10 year old boy to see if she would suddenly have ‘miraculous recognition’ and be in some small way re-united with him.
There are of course women who relinquish their parental rights because they are too lame and useless to take responsibility – and that too still makes a sad kind of sense – in the midst of their utter selfishness they are still committing a kindness, albeit it an unconscious one!
And that’s most often how I see the process of adoption – an act of kindness, a realization that the child will be better cared for by people who are in a stronger financial and emotional place.
It’s all very clear.
Where things start to get a tad murky for me are understanding the adoptee issues. Strange that – one would think that part of it would be clear, being one myself!
I get the basic need to find the parentals (or at least find out about them), and I understand the desire to attempt to ‘complete’ one’s identity by connecting with their roots (especially if their birth mother is from a foreign country as mine is).
What I don’t clearly understand is why is that desire so strong? These people are strangers, surely a few pertinent details should suffice?There are many degrees of circumstance that can heighten the need: Lousy adoptive parents, horrid foster homes, not being adopted at birth etc etc and under those conditions it makes more sense. The problem is that from what I’ve heard, it’s more the exception than the rule. The desire to re-unite, regardless of circumstances, is an intrinsic, powerful energy.
Even with kids that come from fantastic adoptive families, apart from those few in complete denial, we are all tied to those faceless strangers that gave birth to us.
And then if that’s not bad enough and if we have the opportunity to meet and be rejected yet again, we feel as if we are somehow lacking an integral worthiness. For those of us a little older we may already have families that love and support us, thus cushioning the blow of rejection. We may also be wiser and stronger and be able to apply our logical minds to our emotional pain and accept what is, but yet somehow the burn remains as does the desire for their love.
A friend once said that God made babies so adorable to prevent us from killing them when they screamed non stop for entire nights. Is the same true of parents? Is there some deeper spiritual, physical or mental bond that gets set up at birth that connects us to our parents. Is it love? Is it need? Is it spirit? all of the above?
I’ve been a good mother and I’ve been a terrible mother, but barring a few good rounds of ‘I hate you, you’re an idiot!’ – I’ve never truly never felt my kids disconnecting from me or me from them – WHY?
What is this bond that is set up at conception or birth that drives us back again and again? It is an important thing to understand, not only to bring release and relief to adoptees, but for us as parents in the here and now. If our children will love us pretty much regardless, then it is vital that we understand why, so that we never take advantage of that bond and always respond to it with gratitude and awe.
After all it is one of the most wonderful gifts, freely given – it is also the one most abused.