26 February 2011

A good person...

"You're so good to be doing this."

"Wow. It's such a good thing you're doing - adopting this baby who would have had a horrible life."

"You're a good person."

No, I'm not.

I mean, I am, but I'm not when it comes to adoption.

If I were a truly good person, I'd be adopting a 15 year-old away from foster care and dealing with whatever behavioral and other issues he/she might have from years of being shuffled in and out of foster care. If I were a truly good person, I'd donate the money I'm spending on adoption to family planning clinics to prevent the crisis and unwanted pregnancies that lead to adoption in the first place. Or I'd consider working with a family who is considering surrendering a child purely for financial reasons by providing them with the resources necessary to help them keep that child.

There are all kinds of things I would do if I were a good person when it comes to adoption.

"Just think of what kind of life this child would have led if you weren't adopting her."

Well, it would be a different life, but not necessarily a worse life. I hate the assumption that people seem to make that a child who is given up for adoption would have led some terrible life had they not been adopted. I imagine that the vast majority of women who place children for adoption do so because they lack the financial and familial resources to raise them. Because they are poor,  overwhelmed, and want to give their children the life and opportunities they feel they cannot provide.

The child we're adopting - would she have had a worse, terrible life with her biological family? I don't think so. Simply a different life.

Am I doing a "good" thing by adopting a baby?

Not really. But this is the way that my husband and I will be able to have family. It's our reality. It's neither good nor bad...it is what it is.

So, for everyone out there who has told me that I'm doing this good thing - I do thank you for your kind wishes. Really. I truly appreciate that you think so. But really, I'm just a woman who wants to be a mom and this is my path to motherhood.


  1. I wrote a similar post -> http://itiswhatitisorisit.net/?p=609.

    I did want to say, though, that I don't think doing good is relative. There isn't some universal spectrum in which adopting a newborn is on one end and adopting a teen from foster care is on the other (or adopting internationally from an impoverished country). I think that when one enters adoption with an open heart and mindful of their capabilities/wants/desires that THAT is the good. The rest is circumstantial (meaning, it unfolds how it unfolds depending on what "it" is).

  2. Becoming a parent isn't about doing a good thing - whether by adoption or biology. It's about a personal choice, no different from choosing not to be a parent. Doing the right thing, or being a good person is about what you do with your choices. A biological mother who chooses to give her child up for adoption is no less a "good person" than the woman who adopts that child. Goodness comes in what we do or how we act in our decisions, not necessarily in the act of making them.

  3. It is what it is - thank you so much for taking the time to leave a lovely comment. I also liked your post. Both comment and post are very thoughtful.

    Anonymous - thanks also for taking the time to comment and for leaving such a sensible, thoughtful comment. You definitely made clear what I was trying to get at in my post.

  4. I don't think that adopting a newborn versus adopting an older child makes your decision any less good. I happen to be a birthmother. I gave me son up for adoption almost 5 years ago now. My decision to do so was for many of the reasons you listed. I was a single mom with a 2 year old daughter, I didn't have money, I lived with my parents, and the father of my son was threatening me as well as my son. So it was for the safety of my child. Does me child have a better life with his adoptive family? Maybe. It's definitely a life I would not have been able to provide for him. I still get to see him twice a year as it is an open adoption. As soon as I saw his adoptive parents I knew that he was meant to be their child. I never once thought they were "doing a good thing". I just knew that in their heart of hearts they really wanted to be parents. And I knew that I could give them that with my son. I have never regreted my decision, and I know that he has a wonderful family.
    I know I don't know you personally, but from what I have read here, I think you and your husband will make great parents. I hope the process continues from here as smoothly as possible! Your daughter will definitely have a wonderful family that loves her, and that is a good thing!

  5. Emily - thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I especially appreciate it given that you have been through adoption from the other side of the fence as a birth/first mom. Very glad to know that you don't live with a mountain of regret and that it was the right decision for you and your family. Thanks again for the encouragement.