02 January 2010

Worthy...part 2

It's taken me a while to get back to posting on this subject. Between preparing for the holidays, dealing with a sick kitty (no new news on that front just yet), experiencing the holidays, and then recovering from the holidays...well, I think you get the idea.

First - I want to take a moment to thank Susie, Cassi, Susiebook, Campbell, Mei Ling and Amanda for taking the time to comment on the original "Worthy..." post. It meant a lot to me that you folks commented and especially that you were all respectful of me and of each other. Thank you. I've been reading a few blogs lately where the commentors have been so very full of anger and vitriol for each other and for the blogger.

Just horrible.

So thank you for not making me afraid to read my own blog!

I had an entirely different blog post laid out yesterday, but I received an e-mail from a good friend of mine (T) today and so changed my mind about what I am going to post. Here's what T had to say:

I understand your wanting to understand the adoption process from many angles and perspectives. It does seem that there is a tendency to dwell on the negative aspects and stories rather than the successes. Nothing in life is perfect Jenn. If you really want a child and adoption is your only means of having a child, then it's okay. If you do your best to be a good parent (not perfect---since no parents are) and you and Chris will love that child with all your hearts, then that's the best that you or any other parent can do.. You will never solve the issues/reasons that children are given up in the first place. You will never predict whether your child will be one who knows or wants to know or doesn't want to know their birth parents. Loving someone isn't about perfection. It's about being there and choosing to love them. Life can be full of regrets. Just because kids aren't adopted doesn't make their little lives filled with love---both [your friend G] and I are living examples of that. Loving, nurturing, and helping a child grow into a strong, independent, and good person is what parenting is about. Solving the issues of the birth parents is not your problem nor should it ever become your problem.. You are not responsible for their choice even though you may benefit from it directly. I hate to see you caught up in all of this and not really experiencing the joy and wonder of becoming a parent.

If it were a perfect world, only people who would make good parents would get pregnant at the perfect time. There would be no unwanted pregnancies or children. Parents would always be loving, supportive, and provide a healthy, safe, and loving environment for their children. Alas, the world is not perfect. Life is messy, confusing, and yes hurtful at times. And people make choices that later in life seem wrong and they have to reconcile their lives. Life provides multiple opportunities for us to reach out to others and love them and for all of us to grow.. Enjoy this endeavor to have a family that you are on. The journey should be thought provoking but not emotionally crippling and it certainly should not leave you with a bunch of other people's emotional baggage for you to carry and dwell on for the rest of your life as a parent. Let the wonder, joy, and excitement which started your process swell up inside of you and carry you through till you are picked to be parents.

Thank you T for your good words and kind thoughts. And for reminding me to keep in my mind the joyful part of this experience. And for reminding me that the world isn't a perfect place. Believe me - I am truly excited and happy that Chris and I are on the road to parenthood even if it is through a rather imperfect vehicle...

If it seems that I have been dwelling upon the negative in this blog - please know that it's certainly not my intention. This is simply the place where process my thoughts - good, bad, and otherwise. Perhaps a few years ago - P.B. (Pre-Blog) - I would have done much of this processing in a private journal. I still do that occasionally, but in truth I find the comments that people leave quite helpful as I puzzle my way through this adoption. Sometimes the comments challenge my views as the folks who leave them are from the "opposite" side, but I do find these comments informative, thought provoking and beneficial to my understanding of adoption today. I'm honored that people who don't share my views about adoption take the time to visit my blog to express their views.

Solving all of the problems in adoption today certainly isn't part of my life plan. However, it is my fervent hope that by thinking the issues through that I can work to make our particular adoption - our one little piece of the adoption world - one that is positive and healthy for all of the parties involved: our child, Chris, me, our families and also the child's first parents and first family.

I'd like to be part of a change in the world of adoption. So, amidst my own internal happiness and excitement about becoming a parent, I do take time to think about the process and how I can be the best part of it that I can be.

I may not necessarily be responsible for anyone else's choices or for solving their issues, but by adopting a child Chris and I are taking responsibility for that child. And this particular responsibility comes with a link to another family via the child that we will be raising. Like it or not, we are responsible for how we choose to interact with this child's first family, just as it is the responsibility for the first family to choose how they interact with us.

It is my hope that this link - this relationship with another family - this responsibility that we have for each other - will turn out to be beneficial and positive for this child and, in turn, for us and for the child's first family. That we can all work together to navigate a new relationship with care, with respect, with integrity and with compassion for each other.

I think what I've learned most from all of the blog reading and commenting is this:

The world of adoption is complicated.

Adoption isn't an easy process for anyone involved.

Adoption is hard.

If it's done "wrong" - unethically, with broken promises, disrespect, lies, abuse, and secrets among any and all parties, etc. - it creates a world of hurt for everyone involved: adopted children, adoptive parents, adoptive families, first parents and first families. It leads to anger, resentment, confusion, disruption, etc.

If it's done "well" or as well as it can be done within the flawed system that is currently in place today - ethically, open, with promises kept, with integrity and honesty, etc. - it can create large extended families who love and support each other and work toward raising healthy, happy children.

Adoption - even one that is done well - is definitely not perfect - by no means. There is loss inherent in adoption. That will never change. There is still confusion: how do we make this work for everyone? It takes time and commitment. If adoptive parents and first parents can somehow learn to work together, to be compassionate with each other, to make and keep promises that are always in the best interests of adopted children and each other, then it seems to me that we can make the world of adoption a better place than it is now.

There's a lot to think about. There's a lot to be excited about. Adoption may be hard and complicated, but it seems like it isn't going anywhere and it is a world in which I am enjoying the exploration. I am enjoying thoughts of becoming a parent and I am also enjoying engaging in dialogue about how all of us involved can make adoption better. I look forward to see what the future holds for all of us in this world.

It's time to sign off for this evening. I have some thoughts that I'd like to share on nature vs. nurture, but that will have to wait for another post.

As always, comments are very much welcomed. Please remember that T is my friend and sent the above as an e-mail to support me. I included it here because I thought it was very relevant to the discussion and to my thinking. So please, if you are going to leave a comment I ask that you be kind and respectful to T, me and everyone who chooses to respond. Thank you. I appreciate that.

Happy New Year.


  1. You seem really nice. Thank you for that. It's very healing to read these words from someone who wants to adopt. Like a bright light shining in the darkness. Keep on shining.

  2. Thanks for the lovely comment, KimKim. I am curious where you might fall in the adoption spectrum...It seems like you might have some conection. Hope you'll visit again.

  3. Your friend T hit the nail on the head. I tried several times to comment and say pretty much everything she said, but it just didn't come out right. She said it perfectly.

    I think it's great that you want to not cause any pain to the child or birthmother. However, this should not be the focus of the adoptive parents. The best advice I have received is to LOVE the child as if you birthed him yourself. That is the number one important thing we can do to make our children feel safe and secure with us.

    I think that when you become matched, you will see. Every situation is different. I feel so bad for those who have been jilted in some way by adoption, and it's very sad. But I could not let myself read too much into their stories, because our birthmom is so different. I must focus on the story in front of me. I must focus on the little boy in front of me. I cannot fix adoption, I cannot fix the laws, I cannot fix anything. All I can do is LOVE.

    I hope that was helpful. I am not trying to discount anyone's feelings. This is just my point of view. I don't want you to have a heavy laden heart and to carry that forward onto your child because of blogs you have read, and stories of horrible adoptions. That will not be your situation. You will do the best you can, and love the best you can. You will deal with issues as they come up day by day. But you can't do anything now about something that may or may not happen 10 years in the future.

  4. I think it's great advice to focus on the success stories, and to learn from them also. It's very responsible of you to attempt to enlighten yourself but it must be extremely emotional. It's been a bit of a roller coaster for me and I'm not in the process of adopting. I wish peace and the best of luck to all parties involved in the adoption of this special little boy.

  5. My perspective is different, as I was someone who thought of adopting not because I wanted to parent (I'm happily childfree) but because I wanted to help a child in need. I always thought adoption was about helping children in need. I discovered that in a lot of cases, it wasn't - it was about supplying children to adults who wanted to parent.

    Since I didn't want to adopt to become a parent (even if I had adopted I wouldn't have allowed my child to call me mom), and I discovered there are other more lucrative ways to help children, I lost the desire to adopt.

    That's not to say there's anything bad about wanting to become a parent through adoption. It's clear you're a thoughtful, caring person and the fact that you're actually doing research about adoption before adopting, and trying to get the point of view of first mothers and adoptees makes me believe you're going to be a great mom.

    I'm also heartened to read that ethical adoptions are important to you. I have to link
    this article that talks about how adoptions are different in Australia. They have made great headways in making their adoptions more ethical and less coercive, and I hope one day North America follows in its footsteps.

    I hope you keep researching and listening to what others have to say. Good luck.

  6. I love what T said. I too sometimes feel that you are dweelling too much on the negative of adoption and I want this to be a wonderful experience for you! It was for us and I really want you to feel that too :) I can't wait until you get 'the call'!!!

    Beth in Cali

  7. I don't know whether I would say to "focus" on the success stories, but I think it's good advice to "include" the success stories--and maybe reconsider your definition of a success story. My blog is often about how hard the adoption is for me, but I think my son's adoption is (at least so far) a success story, by most reasonable definitions: it is open, we have friendly and respectful contact, his moms are over the moon, and he is doing well and attached to his parents. Even the success stories are likely to contain incredibly pain, because that's just how adoption usually works. It doesn't mean that you can't have a good or worthwhile experience. Dawn Friedman has certainly experienced her daughter's birthmother's pain and her daughter's adoption-related pain, but I am pretty confident that she'd agree that she is a success story, and that Madison's is a good adoption.