Pardon my French.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I've seen some interesting comments come through on my blog recently. Unfortunately, there are people who choose to write hurtful things about our open adoption. I know there is tremendous hurt and pain for anyone who has had a negative experience with adoption - whether an adoptee, a birthmother, or an adoptive parent - and I would never want to diminish that or cause more hurt to someone already hurting. But I do want to address a comment from someone who asked me to respond publicly on my blog.  

The writer says this: 

"How wonderful. I can see how poverty prevented you from raising your fist daughter. You really seem to have a hard time making ends meet. How do you explain to your daughter why you gave her away? I'd love for you to share that with your readers." 

Sure, I'd love to share my response with my readers. First of all, I think it's poor judgement to make an assessment of someone's ability to make ends meet based solely on reading their blog. Nevertheless, at this point in my life I'm not having a difficult time making ends meet. And the reason is because I had the opportunity to earn my college degree, to complete multiple unpaid internships, and to serve as a leader with several student organizations on campus - all of this while supporting myself financially for four years - so that when I finally did graduate, I had the education and experience necessary to land a job that enables me to pay my bills each month. Yes, there was a time when I had trouble making ends meet - and that time was when I was 18-years-old and pregnant.
Since that time, I have worked really hard to get to the point where I am today, and I'm not ashamed of the hard work I've put in or any of the things I have accomplished. 

I'm not saying that I couldn't have earned a college degree or accomplished great things while raising a child. I know plenty of very capable single parents who have done it and done it phenomenally. But I absolutely would not be where I am today, and more importantly, Deanna would not have had the quality of life or opportunities she has been provided with either.  Not to mention having two parents who have been fully committed to her well-being and emotional growth since before she was born, and too-many-to-count people who love her and have positively impacted her life in some way. 

For most of the first few years after placing, I dealt with crushing guilt and depression. I cried often  and wondered how Deanna would feel about her adoption. Would she hate me? Would she want to have a relationship with me when she got older? What questions would she have about her placement and how would I answer them? My faith is what has gotten me through those difficult times. When I made the choice to follow Christ, I realized that there was a bigger plan and purpose for my life and that sharing my experience with open adoption could help others. I now know that I have been forgiven, redeemed, restored, and made new. Sitting around and feeling sorry for myself was no longer an option. Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."
 That verse is one of many that gave me strength during those hard times.

Something that bothers me is the public's perception of birthmothers. We're not poverty-stricken, uneducated women. We're smart, courageous women who made a selfless choice to give our children something we could not provide at the time. We each have our own unique set of not-so-pretty circumstances that played a role in our decisions to place. And our decisions are not always based solely on finances. Society tells us: If you have the finances to raise a child, but you decide to place, then you must be really selfish. Yes, finances are an important factor in deciding whether or not to place a child for adoption because let's face it... you have to be able to support yourself and another human being, but there is so much more to it than that. So much more. There are plenty of people who have more than enough money, but may not be capable of parenting. I can tell you that at 18, I was not financially or emotionally capable of being responsible for the wellbeing of not just myself, but another human being. An incredibly precious one at that.  

So what will I say to my daughter to explain my decision?  To be honest, I'm really not sure.  Will I say the perfect words to make it all better?  No, probably not. But will the words I say come from the depths of my heart and be the complete and honest truth?  You bet. Because of open adoption, I have the privilege of being able to answer any of Deanna's questions at any time. Whenever she wants. Or maybe never if she doesn't want to talk about it. But that choice is ultimately hers now.

That's the beauty of open adoption.  


Amanda said...

Well said!! I think people forget that people and their circumstances can change. We all have different seasons in our life. I hope you don't mind me sharing this on my Facebook page.

Unknown said...

I absolutely loved this post! I can so relate! I get this a lot also- what people don't know is that I probably wouldn't be in a good spot or successful if I wouldn't have placed! xoxo

Leah said...

Perfectly said!

Emily said...

Wonderfully said. My family has an open adoption with my daughter's birth family. We don't know what we'll tell her when she asks but we know that we'll be better for being able to tell her together.

maggie said...

Just found your site! And as an adoptive mama in an amazing open adoption with a birth mom and her family who were absolutely financially able to support a child but knew that wasn't what made an able and ready parent, this post is fantastic! Thanks for your honesty and authenticity.

Missus Jenn said...

Thank you for sharing! My twin boys came to use through adoption and we have a nominal open adoption with their birthmom (she's pulled back, but we still send pictures and updates). My husband and his siblings were adopted, as well.
Shortly after our boys came home, my sister-in-law (who was adopted as an infant and who had recently connected with her birthfamily), met our boys. We were telling her about the Christmas gifts the boys' birthmom had given them. Her reply was, "Oh, I thought she gave them up because she couldn't afford them. How did she get them Christmas presents?" I don't even remember what I said, but I was dumbfounded. She had assumed that it was purely a financial issue and that their birthmom must be destitute. There were so many reasons why she made the choice she did and I don't know where finances ranked in her list, but I doubt it was the highest, or only, reason.

Thank you for shedding light on this topic!

MommySquared said...

Your reply to anonymous was done with grace! It is hurtful of someone to make an assumption of a situation without any knowledge of you or your situation.

I agree there are too many misconceptions out there of what a birth mother is, you and the two women in our family stand out and above any myth that someone has created.

Thank you for sharing and standing up to anonymous.

Unknown said...

Awesome response, Amy!

Kristen said...

I find it interesting that finances come into play on both sides when people try to undercut the heart and soul of adoption. I've had comments on our blog accusing us of being irresponsible for fundraising and not being able to afford our adoption on our own two feet. Money is such a small part of adoption!! It's only part of the "business" of adoption. Adoption is like emotionally opening up your chest cavity to someone and inviting them to hold your heart. I enjoyed you response!

ham704 said...

Could not have said it better myself Amy!! Thank you for posting. I can relate so well... My decision was so much more about obedience than financial circumstances...obedience to God's plan for my life and for Lanie's. While there are many different factors that contributed to my decision to place-- like wanting her to have two committed parents, desiring for her to have siblings, not having financial support from my parents or being able to provide it for myself at the time--when it came down to it, I could have made it work. It would have been tough, but there were resources available to me. And that was when I turned to Him and said what is YOUR will Lord. Not your will but mine. And He answered that prayer. And now Lanie gets to live into the life she was created to live, and so do I, and the whole situation could not...could not be more beautiful. He is faithful and makes beauty out of our ashes indeed.

Jewls said...

I haven't been by FOREVER! But I had to comment when I popped in today...GREAT POST!

AbigailCarter said...

I miss reading your blog! I still check it every day to see if you have a new post. ;). I am an adoptive mama and have a very close relationship to our birthmom, so its always neat to read about other relationships!

john said...

Nice blog. Thanks for sharing our life to us. Looking forward for the next! GBU

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