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May
18

Adoption heartache?

There are so many thing wrong in this article that I don’t know where to begin. 

When I read an article headed, “Adopting in the US has more heartache than you think”, I expect to see something about the loss experienced by a mother who loses her child, or maybe a child who grieves the loss of their mother… or even perhaps a couple who struggle with infertility and now struggle with the idea that in order to fulfil their dreams of parenthood, someone has to lose something.

What I read was an outrageous example of the trading of children, utilising the bodies of women who hardly rate a second thought, only to be raised without a mother at all.  This is not a tirade about gay adoption, although I am strongly opposed to the creation of children with the deliberate intent of raising them without the benefit of opposite gendered parents.  The right of children will always trump the right of adults (regardless of sexual orientation) in this matter for me. 

It is a tirade about the attitude toward women, in this case a young pregnant girl, the commodification of women’s bodies and the ways in which both people, and systems will be manipulated to ‘get a newborn’.

Apparently when you want a newborn, there are some US States that will ensure you have the least amount of trouble with the mother, for the least amount of time.  This was important to this gay couple…  after all, New York has a ‘change of mind’ window ‘as long as 45 days after giving birth’.   How terribly inconvenient when all you want it to take your baby home and pretend the woman who carried and birthed that child no longer exists.

The author, one of the adoptive dads,  acknowledges that all the women they spoke to had a ‘hard-luck’ story.   Of course a hard-luck story usually constitutes a position with little power, and little choice.  The 14yr old mother who carried their baby haemorrhaged and almost died, gave them the ‘run-around’ but was eventually apparently reassured when the adoptive dad told her she was doing the right thing.   A normally 20 minute paper signing took a ‘nail-biting’ 2.5 hours.   Nail-biting.  Is this the heartache?  What about the agony, the trauma, the devastation, the incredible, indefinable loss of this young girl in signing away her right to raise her child, to even know her child?

But then I guess it all worked out well in the end when, as the author describes it:

“We then walked down the hall, knowing Annika was ours and the rug wasn’t going to be pulled out from under our feet.”

I think about all the mothers whose stories I have heard over the years; mothers who never understood the depth of loss ahead of them, who may have bought lies about how such a sacrifice would be worth it, or they would forget about their child, or that it was the most loving thing to do.   I read this story and I wonder how much more insignificant they could be made to feel, when in fact the carrying and birthing of a child is one of the most powerful, significant and unique things a woman can do.  

When I hear people talk about the need for more adoption to fill the needs of so many infertile couples, I wonder what they think happens to the mothers?  I watch youtube videos of tearful, joyful ‘meetings’ between adopted babies and their adoptive families and all I see beyond the door through which they entered is the devastation left behind and I lament how little value we place on women and on mothers. 

 

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