Thursday, April 29, 2010

A response to another's post.

I have been mulling over and over in my head whether or not to do this, to respond full-post-style to this post over at The Adoptive Parent. I first read the post a few days ago, and it's been bugging me ever since, so I decided to go for it.

I really like that blog, and Sally, especially since I won her book ;). So nothing I'm saying here is meant to offend. One of the reasons I really liked her book was that it gave me a terrific view into an adoptive mom's head and heart. It's a perspective I'll never know; even if I were to adopt in the future, it wouldn't be the same. I rely on people like Sally to tell me what it's like to be an amom, and I believe what they tell me.

Her post about birthparents really did not give us the same respect.

S: Honestly, I don't understand making that decision.
This Birthmom: Understandable. It's one of those things you can't understand until you're there.

S: You chose to walk out of your child's life because you love them?
TB: Actually, yes. It's more complicated than that, but at the root, yes.

S: Tell me you took on two jobs to make ends meet, etc...
TB: Wow, what a slap in the face. Are you saying you don't find my expression of love worthy? I should have done any of the things you wrote to prove my love? This felt very judgemental.

S: My point is that I believe birth parents love their children, but I don't believe that's why they choose adoption.
TB: Why wouldn't you believe what birth parents tell you? We are not able to articulate our own feelings? It's pretty condescending to assume you know better what we mean than we do. If your child's birthmom explains to him that she placed out of love, are you going to correct her?

S: I believe that birth parents choose adoption not because they love their children, but in spite of how much they love their children.
TB: Nope, again. It is possible to place a baby because you love him.

S: It is a matter of putting your child's needs in place of your own. Choosing adoption means choosing to meet your child's needs instead of your own.
TB: Placing my son for adoption met needs I had, too. Maybe it sounds harsh, but I would not have been able to direct my life the way I wanted to, and meet my full potential while parenting at that time. That was a big part of my decision.

At the beginning of her post, she initially admitted that she didn't understand making the decision to place. So, why is she turning things all around? To make sense of it in her own head? You don't have to understand this thing to respect it. It doesn't make sense, to on one hand say that you don't understand something, and then on the other go to great lengths to explain it, almost from a birth mother's perspective. Please, don't interpret what I say, just hear it.

There is no way for an amom to put herself in the shoes of a birthmom. Placing a baby is the polar opposite to infertility etc. If my reasons don't make sense to an amom, OK, so be it. But they are still my reasons. It's not that I'm confused, it's that we are coming at this thing from completely different angles, places, experiences, feelings, and circumstances.

I really really really, can't express enough how much I don't want this whole post to come off as angry or offensive. It's my reaction, and a contribution to the dialogue, that is all.


  1. Patti,
    I appreciate the heads up, and your post has given me
    much to think about, which I will do, and
    then post a response. I hope that I will be able to express my reaction to your words with the level of clarity and sensitivity you show here.

    You "hear" my words quite differently than I do, which, I think, underscores the need for honest discussion. I trust and respect your approach to my book, and I bring the same to your blog.

    Like you, my thoughts are overflowing, so I'm going to end for now. But Patti, thank you! For reading my book, for reading my blog, for sharing your experiences, and most of all, for sharing your reactions to my speech honestly, respectfully, and with great sensitivity. You have not left any hard feelings with me, and I am truly sorry if I have with you.

    I don't believe anything in life is completely random. Not even a random drawing for a book. :) Thanks for walking with me on my journey. You're a great guide!


  2. When explaining my daughter's adoption story, I have had a couple people say to me that they can't imagine ever placing their child for adoption. My response is, "Then you must never have been put in that same position where you had to make that kind of choice." The way I look at it, when you decide to place your child for adoption, the decision is based on love (and I'm sure many other factors.) My daughter's birthmother (and her family) love her so much; you can see it in their eyes. You can hear it in what they say. I have the highest respect for my daughter's birthmom - she made a huge decision and we will always be grateful.

  3. I went back to the original post in the original blog and there's another line that really bothers me: "You chose to walk out of your child's life because you love them?"

    How can someone view adoption that way? I just don't understand that. I would think that the vast majority of birthparents choose adoption out of love and MANY continue to have contact (via letters, photos, or visits.) They didn't choose to walk out of their lives; they choose to give them options for their own life that they (the birthparents) may not have been able to give their child.