Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A Hypocritical Perspective?

Is it hypocritical to not be happy about parts of your own adoption experience yet still be OK with adoption in general? Can you be angry about some of the things that happened to you as a result of your adoption but still look past the negatives of your own experience to see the positives of adoption? I believe you can because I believe I do. I don't know if it's hypocritical or not, but it is who I am, a part of me, to look for and find the good in all things.

I have recently come to the realization that some of the painful and potentially damaging experiences I had AS AN ADOPTEE were in direct correlation to being adopted (I say potentially because I do not believe that I have allowed these things to damage the person that I am, however someone with a different personality experiencing the same things might come away with more scars than me). Despite the realization that parts of my adoption were less-than-ideal and despite reading accounts of other adult adoptees whose experiences were even more less-than-ideal than my own, I still hold a certain amount of respect for the philosophy behind adoption and its purpose.

In my opinion, the purpose of adoption is to give a child a home who might not otherwise have one (it should NOT be to fill a void in a lonely couple's life or to help a family meet their gender status quo). Were it not for adoption many more children than already are would be living in orphanages, group homes, foster homes, or even on the street. I believe there are several reasons why a child might not have a home:
1) Death of a parent with either no immediate family or no family willing to raise the child.
2) The child's homelife is unsafe or damaging due to neglect, abuse, etc. and a decision is made to remove the child from the home.
3) Public or governmental policy dicates the number of children permitted in a home.
4) And, unfortunately, in today's world, there are many societies that frown upon single motherhood. Single women with children can't find jobs or keep jobs. So, why keep having children, you might ask? Well, in many cultures the use of birth control is often not acceptable or even possible. In addition, many of these women live in a place where men are dominant and expect a woman to meet his needs without being married to him. She does as is expected, gets pregnant, and then, out of fear and in desperation for herself and maybe for older children already in her care, she makes the difficult decision to either abandon her newborn baby or make an adoption plan. Oftentimes it's her only hope for a future.

As my husband and I began our own journey to adopt a child I remember commenting that if I could use our adoption money to change society's opinions regarding birthmothers and single motherhood then I would do that rather than adopt. I was immediately informed that there is NO WAY to change society or its opinions. What society feels and believes is what it feels and amount of money will ever change that. And unfortunately I believe that is true. You can contribute all the money in the world to change laws and policies but you cannot ever pay people enough to change their minds.

There are children in this world and in this country who need homes. Without adoption these children will continue living in places that are not conducive to proper growth and development. Admittedly, taking a child out of her country of origin may not be ideal, however, until those countries make concrete plans for how to care for their own orphans there is no denying that a home is better than nothing at all.

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