Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Adoption Awareness

As I'm sure by now most of you are aware, November is adoption awareness month. Obviously, our family was blessed beyond measure by the miracle of adoption and we sincerely hope to experience that miracle once more. What some of you may not be aware of is the anti-adoption movement. A dear friend messaged me last night after she unexpectedly discovered it via the comments on a post celebrating adoption awareness month on Holiday Inn's FB page. The very same post popped up in my newsfeed this morning.

One of the commenters is clearly anti-adoption. Among other things, she ridicules adoptive parents for paying birth parent expenses prior to a baby being born. She equates it with a bribe since the adoptive parents are hoping that the expectant mother will place her baby with them. What she fails to acknowledge is the fact that the expectant mother is not the only one who is vulnerable or being coerced. The adoptive parents are often times taking a risk by paying those expenses. The expectant mother has the right to change her mind at any moment and she is not required to pay back those expenses.

Adoption is not simply black and white, there's a lot of gray area involved. It's also not all about money. I had a discussion with an adult adoptee on another friend's FB page just last week. This friend had shared a picture that pointed out the fact that most adoptions cost around $40,000 while an abortion only costs around $400. The adult adoptee commented that it was a shame people pay that much to adopt when that amount of money would likely eliminate a birth family's desperation and prevent them from relinquishing their rights. I responded that money is not the only factor that contributes to a birth family choosing adoption. There are countless other factors such as inability to parent due to age or other circumstances, and still others who are unwilling to parent for reasons of their own that have nothing to do with the almighty dollar. This same woman had the audacity to provide me with a link for an "ethical" adoption agency, alluding to the fact that our adoption wasn't ethical. Her perception of adoption has been skewed by her own experience and she refuses to see that not all adoptions are unethical. The difference is I can see both sides. 

While adoption isn't ideal, it still is a beautiful and miraculous thing. Both Shane and I, and JT's parents feel that we were an answer to each other's prayers. Obviously, in an ideal situation JT would have been able to grow up with his birth family. For various reasons though, his birth parents chose to place him for adoption. I am grateful that we were able to meet them and begin building the foundation for our relationship prior to his birth. Due to that budding relationship, my heart literally broke for them the day JT was born. I left the birthing suite to go downstairs and be with Mason so Shane could go meet JT. As soon as Shane headed upstairs, I had to drag Mason into the ladies' room because I could no longer hold back the tears. I cried hysterically for them and for what they were about to give up.  I am so grateful that we are in an open adoption and remain in contact to this day. They are not just JT's birth parents, they are part of our extended family.

I felt drawn to write this blog post because I want to help educate others and dispel the negativity being spread by the anti-adoption movement. While I admit the adoption industry is flawed and in desperate need of reform, I'm tired of adoptive couples being painted as baby snatchers. At its core, adoption is about building relationships. I honestly can't imagine our lives without JT or his birth parents and I am eager to meet our future daughter and her birth parents as well. I sincerely hope that our relationship with them is just as miraculous!

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