Saturday, June 27, 2009

What consitutes adoption?

Ah, the summer's heat. In Cincinnati, it's already blazing 85 degrees at 10am. Eek! So, I thought I would take the time and write a bit more about adoption this morning and start another discussion about it.

Not too long ago, I had a lengthy exchange with a private poster about adoption itself and what constitutes it. While this conversation I had seemed more like a heated argument, it bothered me and stuck with me. The same question rolled through my head. "What constitutes adoption?".

My own birth mother tossed me aside not because of lack of resources (She was a dancer in a club), not because of lack of family support (my grandmother on my father's side practically raised me until I was two) and not because of some greater good that she was trying to accomplish for my own sake. She in effect gave me up because it was easier to relieve herself from the strain of presence in her life and as punishment to my father's side of the family.

Therefore, the question still lurks right below the surface.

The simple fact of the matter (in my meager opinion, of course) is that we have become an apathetic society. We have learned in our lazy, throw away society that ANYTHING that bothers us can be removed. Any burden that we ourselves have brought upon us can be removed for our sake and our own comfort. Sadly, in many cases this children are put into the foster care system for this reason alone.

I have visited many foster homes and agencies and I listen MANY stories of drug addicted parents that have lost everything dump their children off under the veil " I'm giving him/her a better life", which is of course the point. While heartbreaking to listen to these stories, we must to a point detach that emotion(s) and investigate closely the reasoning for the decisions that birthparents make. A great measuring stick for how truly apathetic our society has become.

Many times in the lectures that I give I always hear the same question posed to me. "Do you advocate adoption?"

My only response is: I advocate responsibility in parenting. I don't advocate or disavow myself from adoption (Except in rare circumstances). Adoption in many cases is an excuse to continue living a lifestyle that is less than favorable. I have seen it with my own eyes too many times. Would I personally put my own child up for adoption? The answer is of course, no.

I have also heard "Only if you were in my shoes" or "You have to be a parent to understand". No I don't, nor does anyone else. Our society is one of the most hypocritical, self righteous, arrogant and judgemental of them all. Those who put their children up for adoption because of a "lack of resources" or some other excuse that doesn't include terminal illness, incest and or rape need to think VERY carefully about themselves, their decision making process and their children. In many cases adoption itself sends a messages to a child (or at least it did for me) which are:

You were too much of burden

The double standard of course adoption itself. We put children into the foster care system and then tell them "You have to grow to be a responsible adult". That's an interesting theory. To a thrown away child, that's an awfully hard burden to fight with. Why be responsible when the very people that gave birth to you didn't hold those same values?

To give the offended reader a taste of what I am talking about, I will yet again share some interesting pieces of knowledge that I learned as I walked 55 miles (Cincinnati to Dayton) for adoption awareness.

When I was a child I only knew three words, all of which were rejection words, they were:

See ya, Goodbye and No.

I couldn't sleep at night in ANY of the foster homes I was in (9 total). I learned that was a coping mechanism that my brain developed from the awful fighting, screaming and yelling that I encountered while in my birthmother's care. I still have to tell myself at night "Your ok, your safe", just to sleep and it's still difficult to sleep.

Another interesting thing of note. I was the only child given up for adoption. My birthmother has had 3 other children that she all kept in her care. Seems rather odd to me. Why not give all of them up? Why just me?

With all things being equal, anyone that tells me I SHOULD have been put up for adoption I say this:

I would have known my family, I would have known my mother, father and extended family. I would have known my roots instead of wondering around for 28 years wondering who I was, where I came from and why I am the way I am. I might have ended up in jail, or maybe not. Regardless I would feel connected to the world. I wouldn't have been told a LIE, a fairy tale and been given a life that wasn't mine.

The ensuing R.A.D from the neglect, abuse and multiple foster care placements left me in a very odd spot. Before I was old enough to understand sex (around 7) I was already having it. Teachers, babysitters took advantage of me in many sexual situations that in retrospect showed me what I was worth. The anger, the firestarting, the drug abuse, the animal killing, EVERYTHING just got worse.

All of this, for someone else's comfort and lifestyle.

That is the inherit tragedy of my adoption and many like mine.


PS: Before I get publicly roasted, there are only a few reasons (once again) in my opinion for an adoption to take place. Incest, Rape,Terminal Illness, serious neglect or child abuse.


Lisa said...

Well said, Michael. I really enjoy hearing your insight and perspective. Please keep writing.

eat_love_grow said...

I agree that our society has become a throw away society. Things that are hard, aren't worth it...
I am raising 5 children that we adopted (one has RAD). I disagree tho that it is impossible to ask them to grow up responsible. We all have pain in our childhood. We have to stand in the gap and fight to give these kids a chance. I refuse to believe anything other than success for their lives!

Maybe someday we can get to the root of this problem, and stop putting bandaid on it! Keep searching....

Thandi said...

I understood your comment about being responsible, to mean that we expect it yet we haven't taught it.Not that it's impossible...Back to your post...I have a cousin who fell rpegnant through incest.She kept the baby, weaned it and 'gave' him to her mother.I wonder if that will have the same impact as if he'd been 'given up' to a stranger.

Sheri said...

Nicely written and insightful. Thank you for sharing.

Wendi said...

Wouldn't it be better for someone to give up an unwanted child, than to keep them and subject them to all sorts of abuse and neglect before social services finally steps in and takes the child away? I think you're expecting irrational, irresponsible people to make rational, responsible decisions - and that just isn't going to happen.