Barbara, Like Sadie, I feel like an ambassador for open adoption. My husband Jeff was adopted in 1963 and we adopted a domestic newborn in…...
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Adoption Blog: Inconceivable Family
Adoption: The Selfish Choice
You’d think that writing a book would mean that we had already told the story. I thought so, too. I had this notion that in writing The Empty Picture Frame we were pretty much done with the segment of our lives which is referred to as the Dark Period. Like a video game, we had gone through some difficult times, learned some invaluable lessons and carried on to the next level.
Hmmm… maybe I should have said that we failed miserably, the foe beat the snot out of us so we tossed the game and bought a new one. Yeah, I think that sounds more accurate.
In thinking about where to begin this new blog, it seemed fitting to start with the next challenge: Adoption. But that assumes that the transition from infertility treatments to adoption was like switching on or off a light; it was done, over with a nice clean break. It wasn’t. Sure we had learned some healthy lessons about ourselves and our marriage had seen it’s way through something that many don’t, but were those experiences worth the nightly tears and isolation from some of my dearest friends and family? Wasn’t there some other way for us to grow besides sinking $100,000 into the reflection of failure?
Bitter anyone? You bet.
There was a lot of self-pity, a lot of confusion and a lot of resentment. What I had once experienced in terms of jealousy over friends with babies was nothing compared to what was coming when the gavel dropped and the sentence handed down. I felt like I was the main character in a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ book and I had just picked the wrong option. So in this blog I’m going to begin at the end… or maybe the middle depending on where our story takes us. Ending treatment and thinking of adoption.
For some, adoption is a logical next choice when the building of a family is impaired by infertility. For others it is the first choice. For us, I think we fell somewhere in the middle.
I’d be lying if I said it was all great guns to adopt. As my good friend and mentor through adoption once told me, “adoption is a selfish act.” Yes, it’s true and I know it’s hard to hear. It took me a while to not cringe at the thought. Everyone wants to believe that their adoption is different. Birth moms want to believe that they are entirely altruistic in wanting “a better life for the baby than I can provide.” Adoptive parents want to believe that they are rescuing a baby from what could prove to be a difficult life. But truth, as it is when it’s stripped of social fragility, tends to reveal something different.
I’ll admit it… our daughter wasn’t the response of two people who wanted to give a child a better life. We were desperate to find happiness again and we had an urgency to be parents that could not be counteracted by infertility. While I’m not a fan of speaking for anyone but myself, I think our birth mom would agree that she wasn’t entirely void of the selfishness of wanting a different life, too… for herself.
That doesn’t mean that there weren’t parts of either party’s motivation that weren’t selfless. It just means that, when it comes down to it, we are human and, as humans do, we want to have our needs met. Our need was to raise a baby while our birth mom’s need was not to raise a baby at the time. No judgment here, just calling it as I know it to be true in our situation. Oh dear… I suppose I need to remember that this blog is public and my thoughts on this subject may not be as popular or supported as I’d like.
Alright, let’s risk more unpopularity and go even further out on the limb… adoption is selfish, and in fact having a child intentionally in a typical fertile family is selfish. There I said it. Bring on the posters who would like to challenge this.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love our daughter beyond words. She is my life’s purpose for crying out loud. Looking at her now I can’t believe that our combined selfishness (that of my husband and I as well as our daughter’s birth mother) resulted in someone so perfectly meant to be my child. But our story, no matter how beautiful I want it to be, just isn’t cheery in every chapter. The first chapter is one of those which are slightly less than pretty. That’s our perfectly imperfect life for you.
So here we go… Chapter One: The Baby Briefs is next…
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Jenna NadeauNew Hampshire
I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
Recent Adoption Blog Comments
I have not meet with my son´s BF but I have a couple of photos and he looks so much like her (and nothing like…...
I found the other site a week or so ago and was wondering about it. Now I know! ...
Thanks for sharing article ....i have read many blogs on open adoption and found that people are not much happy with open adoption. ...
Thank you for sharing your story. I have spent the last year and a half creating hair tutorial videos for parents of African American and…...
Thanks, Barb, what a unique story. I also liked what Sadie had to say about nature vs nurture: “There is something to this nature thing!”…...