I've read a lot recently about how awful adoptive parents are. Apparently, the desire to adopt marks one as a greedy, selfish, "baby-luster", who will gleefully pay enormous sums of money to the corrupt and heartless proprietors of "baby shops" for the sheer delight of wrenching children away from their unsuspecting mothers. Hmm! Who knew?
Interestingly, not one of the adoptive parents I know fits that description. And not one of the prospective adoptive parents I know fits that description. And none of the adoption caseworkers, social workers, attorneys, assorted agency personnel, or adoption triad members I interviewed for my adoption book fit that description.
Neither does Paul.
Who is Paul? Paul is an adoptive parent who shared the post below on Leigh's blog, Sturdy Yet Fragile. I love what he wrote and I love the way he wrote it, and I thank him for giving me permission to repost it here.
I'm an adoptive parent. I have two beautiful little girls. One is two and has me completely wrapped around her finger. My second daughter is 6 mos old and we brought her home when she was 2 mos old. She can't interract much yet, but her larger-than-life smile when she sees me melts my heart. We are huge supporters of openness and we volunteer and coach adoptive couples to help them understand the need for openness. My daughters have seen their biological families dozens of times in their very young lives so far and we have sent countless photos and emails of updates.
I love my girls more than I could ever communicate with words alone. And yet I tell them over and over again how much I love them. My 2 yr old is a big-time daddy's girl. I don't discount what biology could've meant to my girls - but I do EVERYTHING in my power to make sure that need-wise it is an extremely distant second place (we're talking light years away) to what comes from feeling fully and unconditionally loved by their mommy and daddy. I know that beautiful people (like yourself) made this possible for me. I look out for and protect the feelings and reputation of my daughters' birth families - regardless of their situations in life. They gave the ultimate sacrifice by placing their biological children in our loving family. Birth parents have lacked a voice for so long that it is time that they/you speak up and share their/your thoughts.
Yet where is the voice to stand up for me? I am vilified in the media by "reality" shows and mini-series and now these books that say I am only an "adoptive" parent and that my daughters have "real" parents from whom I took them. We were entrusted to be the parents of these children in each case and we take that very seriously. In each medium I come across I read how my daughter can only truly love those who are biologically connected to her. Please tell that to my daughter when she runs across the house to jump into my arms when she hears the garage door go up, or when she wants to sit on my shoulders to see the neighbor's dog, or when she coaxes my wife to call me while I'm at work so she can babble to me. If I don't have attachment with my daughters then I cannot phathom what attachment is. That primal wound must be hidden very well.
I'm sure that openness is a big mitigating factor in a primal wound - which is why we believe in openness. But daily, consistent love and safety by the child's parents is the real factor in all of this. If a child is unloved by biological parents OR by adoptive parents than there will be a wound that will not heal. I have grown up with friends who are biological children who hate, or worse, don't care about their parents. Conversely, I have a best friend who is so loved by his adoptive parents that the only reason he has ever been curious about his biological family is to be able to properly thank them for placing him with his parents. The real variable is love and consistent care - NOT biology. I know that what brings a birth mother to make her sacrifice is not a lack of love - but the exact opposite. The best quote I've ever heard was "if I loved my child any less, I'd still have him with me". I am convinced that if a child knows of the love it took to be placed for adoption AND (important) feels loved by their parents who have opened their arms to him/her - then a primal wound is a myth. Absent that environment, there will certainly be a wound.
I will always praise my daughters birth families and will always educate my girls so that they know that we are only a family because of the sacrifice by those wonderful people. But my girls will never have reason to doubt MY love, MY support nor MY attachment to them and I hope and pray that the relationship I have with them (and with their birth families) will continue to be as strong as it is now - despite the anecdotes contained in books and mini-series.
January 19, 2010 12:28 PM
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