Thursday, February 27, 2014

Birth Mother doesn't mean Victim

I know I have said this before, but there are times when I grow weary of the bitterness that a decent number of birth mothers have. Now, I am not saying every birth mother is angry or bitter. We are not all resentful and anti-adoption. There are many, many of us who are proud, confident and at peace with our choice to give our child more. But some just take it too far. They not only speak for themselves, but take on an "all adoption is horrible" attitude. And to be blunt, it's irritating and ignorant. Tonight while perusing a blog of sorts that showed up in my news feed, I clicked on a link and was led to a list. "29 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adoption Entered My Life". Now, I have come across many lists like this about adoption, some very true and insightful. This list, however, infuriated me. I am going to be pasting a few of the things on this list, and explaining what makes them so offensive to other birth mothers. 

"I wish I had known that it was not my job, nor obligation to make another couples’ “dreams of a family” come true."

Okay, this statement just, forgive my language, pisses me off. First of all, not once has any agency or adoption counselor, nor adoptive couple, viewed a birth mother as fulfilling an "obligation" to make them a family. No, it's not our obligation, it's our privilege. Helping create a family is not something to turn your nose up at or mock, not something to use as some sort of "fault" where birth mothers are concerned. It's a MIRACLE. Pure and simple. Never in my life will I forget the pure joy and love I saw in the eyes of B's parents on placement day. It was nothing short of a miracle, and nothing I will EVER be ashamed of. And how dare anyone try to shame me for it. 

"I wish I had known that I should not have taken pride nor comfort or some sick sense of self satisfaction by allowing other people’s needs to go before my own, not that I have an issue about giving of one’s self. I donate my knowledge, I give my time, I volunteer; but a child is not giving of oneself, a adoption is giving of another.. a child. I had no right to do that."

Again, this just irks me. I'll address the last part first. The idea that I had no right to give of another... of my son. That I was somehow outside my rights and in some sort of act of irreversible wrong by placing this beautiful boy with the people meant to raise him. That was ABSOLUTELY my right!! It was my right to pray for that baby, and see beyond myself to what was best for him. It was 100% within my right to DO MY JOB AS A MOTHER, and provide that sweet soul with the life he deserves. So do not ever try to infringe upon my rights as his birth mother, or to presume that I somehow wronged him. The only wrong thing would have been keeping him in a life where he was barely provided for. Back to the first part of the statement... Why not take pride in putting someone else's needs above your own? Why not be proud of the strength that takes, the selfless love required? This isn't a flaw, or something dirty. It's the very reason that couples otherwise unable to bring forth a child are able to raise their children and have a family, and experience that joy. There is no joy quite like being a parent. There are many joys that are just as wonderful, yes, and it's absolutely possible to lead a joyful life without having children. However, it's a different joy, one that I am thankful to have experienced, one that EVERY person has the right to experience, should they choose. To have that taken from you, to be robbed of that, well it breaks my heart to imagine. So thank God there are those who take pride and a "sick sense of self satisfaction" in that. Because without those people, a lot of couples would be robbed of the one thing they desire most after God and their marriage. A child to love. 

"I wish I had known that children really aren’t interchangeable. Just because one party wants something and another party isn’t so sure, doesn’t mean that we can switch things about and pretend we are God and it will work out OK."

Before I address the rest of this, I'll address the bit about one party wanting something and the other not being sure. Are you kidding me right now?! The implication that B's placement occurred because I didn't or wasn't sure I wanted him infuriates me. I wanted that little boy more than I want to breath. He was loved from the SECOND his existence was known. To insinuate that I didn't want him is ridiculous, and shame on you for putting being adopted in the same category as being unwanted. The next part is almost amusing to me. Show me a birth mother who claimed to be God. Who claimed to have some sort of right to control life. Not a single one. No, children are not interchangeable. Perhaps learn what that means. It means capable of being used in place of each other, and generally involves two things that serve the same purpose. Is there a puppy somewhere in my home in place of my baby? Was there some sort of barter I was unaware of? Nope. No puppy, no trading post, no exchange of one for another. Just a choice to place my most precious cargo in the arms of the most loving and amazing people I've known. A lot of things describe it. Interchangeable certainly isn't one. 

"I wish I had known that you cannot re-write life as it comes to you. That we can’t cheat it and pretend that things happened differently than we would have liked. And sometimes, most times, given time, what seemed to be a disaster is actually part of making things work out exactly as they should, but we just don't know it yet. I wish I had learned to just accept things as they come and live the hand that was dealt to me"

This is another I find slightly insulting. In placing my sweet B, I did not try to "re-write" my life. I made no attempt to erase this baby from my life, from my story. I was not trying to hide him or act as if he were never born and does not exist. He is a crucial and special part of my story, one that made the rest of my story possible. I am thankful he happened, and "disaster" doesn't even come close to being accurate in reference to his conception or birth. Again, the word miracle comes to mind. And yes, things did work out EXACTLY as they should. I delivered this child from God to the arms of the people He created B for. 

"I wish I had known that adoption was not glamorous or romantic, but that life being a birthmother pretty much sucks."

This doesn't anger me, so much as sadden me. No, adoption isn't romantic or glamorous. It's not sparkly things wrapped in a pretty bow. It's hard. It's painful, sad, difficult, and beautiful. It's the process of breaking one's own heart to protect and provide for that gift that grew beneath it for 9 months. And it's the best thing I've ever done. As far as life sucking as a birth mother. Well, that's a choice. It's a conscious choice made every day by said birth mother. To either get up, put a smile on your face and tackle life head on, knowing you did something beautiful... or to wallow in the self pity and resentment until you become a shell of yourself. Nobody claimed it was easy, but being happy is a choice. You choose whether life as a birth mother sucks. Whether it's a curse or a blessing. That's all on you.

Now, this is not an attack on the writer of this entry. It's not a holier than thou attitude, I don't think I'm better or somehow more emotionally mature. But I cannot stand by all the time while the very women who created these families seek to destroy them. To be blunt, it's selfish. Stop turning your gift to that couple and your birth child into a tragedy. Adoption will never be an easy road, it will forever be the most mangled, terrifying, crushing path you will ever walk. But holy cow is it worth it. Look past your hurt, past your heartache and grief, past the anger at whomever you feel has wronged you. Look beyond all of it. And look at what matters in this. I do it daily, and it's not easy at all. But why take the easy way? Adoption didn't change my genetic connection to B, my love for him or the fact that he has my eyes and holds a piece of my heart in his chubby hands. But it put a light in those eyes more beautiful than any other. It gave him a future and a family that is bright and FULL of love and potential. It gave him a chance.

So please, can we stop treating ourselves like victims of something? Celebrate your birth mother status! Or don't. Because quite frankly, it just isn't about you.

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