but mine were first!
Mother's day this year was a time for reflection for me. I'd never been to this place in my life before. This year I'm happy and secure as a mom to my 4 boys. Yes, 4. How can I include J and L? Well, they're my sons. For right here and now, whether they stay or go, they need that. And deserve it. Still, that could be a whole other post and this post wasn't going to be about that. Or exactly that, anyway. So back on track. Always before Mother's day has been about honoring my mom, dealing with the hurt the day caused me before I had the boys, or shoving my head in the sand just being in shock that I WAS a mom. This year I enjoyed my kids. I really did. But there was more. I spent a lot of my free time reading blogs (a new obsession). They were mainly adoption related and many were the blogs of parents who had placed or adoptees. Reading these blogs, and a call to Ty's mom on Mother's Day, triggered a lot of thinking on my part.
I understand that placing a child for adoption is losing a child. It doesn't matter if that child was involuntarily removed by a government agency (put first here ONLY because it's the situation for me and my boys), placed voluntarily after deciding it was the best decision to make in a bad situation with no GOOD choice, or placed "voluntarily" due to coercion. It still has to hurt. I can't honestly say I know what these parents go through but I can get a small idea. I dealt with the pain of wanting children and knowing how hard it would be for me to do that from the time I was 14 years old. I've dealt with nearly 2.5 years in all of fear and pain at the thought of losing first Ty and Cory and now J and L. Is it the same? No, of course not. Is it worse than what a parent who placed feels? No, I don't imagine it is. Is it a solid base to allow me to have compassion for what that parent has suffered? Yes, it is.
Another thing I've thought about these last few days is how much the system needs to be changed. How? God, I wish I knew. The only thing I DO know is that there'll always be corruption in it as long as it's allowed to be a business. Until that changes parents (both through birth and adoption) and adoptees will continue to "pay" for it. Dearly. But from foster care to private adoptions it needs to be overhauled for sure. Still, some of what I've read scares me. I've read posts that sound like adoption shouldn't even be an option. Faults and all, the truth is that adoption works sometimes. Is a necessary choice sometimes.
I read in several different places how domestic infant adoptions have decreased since abortion was legalized and women began to have more options that allowed them to parent. About abortion...I'm not going to debate my beliefs on that here in this post. What I WILL say is that it's still losing a child and that many women who have chosen that route have suffered emotionally because of that choice as well. What I did NOT read in any of the same places is that while d.i. adoptions may have decreased, the incidences of child abuse and neglect and the number of children in foster care have increased. That is NOT an implied slur on young, poor, or unmarried parents or expectant parents. I do NOT believe that they are any more likely to be abusive, neglectful parents than parents who adopted. I point it out simply to show that adoption in some form continues to be necessary. I'm stressing this because it sounded to me like some wanted to do away with it completely. Major reform? Again and again....YES! To take it away totally? I don't think that's an option. There is corruption in every sector of adoption: greedy, unethical agencies; manipulative, dishonest aparents; and bparents who are out to scam. That doesn't mean that EVERY agency, aparent, or bparent is that way. Nor does it mean that adoption is inherently wrong and evil. I guess it's like this. Even if placing was the best choice in your situation, you still have the right to grieve. If you were one of the countless parents that didn't have a choice or were coerced into the placement you have the right to be pissed off and get some justice. In fact, I hope you do. But I don't understand how you can accept taking that choice away when you see what being denied a choice did to you? Adoption IS a valid choice if every person facing an unplanned pregnancy is presented with all their options in an unbiased way and allowed to make the choice that is best for them. Whatever reform in adoption may look like, that's where it needs to end up in my opinion.
The last thing I noticed while reading was the use of the word natural mother in some blogs. I wonder, like every adoptive parent who has come across the term, what that makes me? What made me angry was that in some places I saw the term it was used not to empower or respect mothers but to degrade amoms. As in: we are NOT mothers. On that I beg to differ. I take care of my kids when they're sick, help them with their schoolwork, comfort them when they're scared, meet their basic needs, and I could go on and on. What other term is there for that? Ask my sons who I am...they know. I have lots of friends who've adopted...ask any one of their kids who that person who has taken care of them is. Does that have to make you a less important part of your child's life? Not at all. Not less, just different. Ask my sons that too. They know they have 2 moms and that they're allowed to love us both. It didn't take away any of the love I had for Ty or Cory as we added to our family. If I can love more than one child, why can't they love both their moms? I'm guessing it's hurt and anger that makes some parents act that way but I didn't cause your hurt. So put your anger and hurt where it rightfully belongs in your situation and leave the rest of us out of it. I am my 4 boys' mom and I won't feel guilty about it.