Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What would you do if...

Maybe it's because we are about to add our fourth child to the family and I could just imagine this happening to me on some harried day while running the never-ending errands that seem always carry over into nap time.

Or maybe it's because it's just that awful.

But this just shocked me. Well, up until I read about this. After that, it was not quite so shocking.

(Please go read. It's not long.)

I cannot imagine what would posses a person to believe it was "okay" to approach a stranger and ask if they could adopt their baby?


Wait, actually, I can. I can totally imagine why a person might think it was okay to just ask for someone's baby. It's the same reasons that people participate in unethical adoption practices, whine about hold-ups with investigations or other procedures to insure transparent/legal/ethical adoptions, and ignore the bigger-picture need for family preservation and social change as the solution to the "orphan crisis." I think it can be summed up in 3 major thoughts that people can allow to consume them when considering adoption:

  • I/my loved one(s) deserves a baby
  • I/my loved one(s) would be a better parent/family than the birth family (because of having better "parenting skills", more financial resources, being located in the US instead of a developing nation, holding certain religious beliefs, being married, being white, not having other children to "distract" from the care of the baby, having an established career, being over a certain age, etc)
  • I/my loved one(s) desire to adopt is more important than the loss a child who is placed for adoption will experience, and the losses of the birth family

Now, I get that many parents who are waiting to adopt can feel a sense of desperation. If they are looking for a healthy, white, infant domestic placement, the process can be filled with rejections and endless unknowns in the timeline. If they are in an international program, the unknowns can be significant, and the expected timeline can change in an instant, without warning. I truly do understand how absolutely zany that could make a potential adoptive parent.

But no matter how crazy the situation is, no matter how much a PAP may feel that they are at the end of their rope, it doesn't make soliciting a baby okay. In fact, that is actually illegal, not to mention unethical. More importantly, PAPs/APs are completely out of line when we buy into the type of thoughts I mention above that lead to these totally inappropriate statements.

Reality check:

  • We don't deserve to be parents. Whether our children come to us through birth or adoption, they are a blessing, a completely undeserved gift. The mindset that we "deserve" to be parents is encouraged in this society... I mean, we deserve a nice house, a stable job, a good income, a good-looking spouse, perfectly healthy children, happiness, wealth, luxury, the American Dream.... right? Don't you deserve all those things? No? Oh, you're right. We may work hard and earn those things, we may even have some of those things fall into our laps quite unexpectedly. But we don't deserve them. They are gifts, blessings.
  • Just because we have more money, more years of experience, a more "stable" life, or more opportunities for education/social advancement/etc does not mean we are "better" parents.* What makes a "better" parent? What give us the right to judge that we are "better" than the birth family? You know what? At the end of the day, we are all human. We all are going to mess up, and even if we provide our kids with the best of everything this world has to offer, it doesn't mean that they are going to be happier, healthier, more fulfilled, more loving, more anything than a child who is not afforded the same resources/opportunities. Our ability to provide for a child does not make us "better"- it just makes us more affluent/older/more educated or whatever it is. 
  • How can we tell if the great losses that accompany adoption are of less importance than the great gains of adoption? It's understandable that there are children who must be adopted because of circumstances outside of their control: death of parents, relinquishment, abandonment. But those circumstances cannot be solicited by a PAP in the hopes of fulfilling the dreams/wishes of the PAP at the expense of a great loss to the child. To ignore the fact that adoption inherently causes loss/grief/trauma to the child, or to minimize the loss/grief/trauma because of our own (selfish) desires is the epitome of bad parenting. 

It's been several days since I first read the blogger's account, and I still cannot wrap my head around it. I can grant you that maybe the woman asking for the baby was not a PAP herself, but rather a friend or parent of someone looking to adopt. Maybe she was drunk or was so desperate for her loved ones that she totally lost sight of right and wrong. Maybe she just has no filter. But whatever those particular circumstances were, what  I do believe is that this is not the first nor last time something like this will happen to a pregnant woman or new parent. It's not the first or last time that thought has gone through someone's mind. And certainly, that woman was not the first or last PAP to feel a sense of entitlement to someone else's child.

* I'm not including children who have been victims of abuse in this statement. Clearly, if you repeatedly abuse/harm your child, you aren't fit to parent them- at least, not without some major help/intervention/life changes- and a loving parent would be a "better" parent in this situation.

1 comment:

theadoptedones said...

Sadly this happens repeatedly in many shapes and forms being the PAP or someone else. Incredibly sad.

I have to say in addition to how wrong it is I also found it ironic that it happened to an AP.

Also that the privilege attached to her position in the adoption world allows for others to believe it happened. Stop and think about it.

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