Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Adoption is Simply a Way

posted a blog the other day called "What's the Alternative?" I began to post a reply, but my reply ran on, so I decided to post it here instead.

Here is an excerpt of her post.

I can feel the heat coming from this one already. I have no doubt the lurkers and anti adoption commenters will come out after what I am about to write. However, they are the persons who have inspired this post as I have been receiving my share of anti adoption emails lately. In the emails I am generally bombarded with hate and told my children will live a lifetime of suffering because of my acts as an adoptive parent. I am asked questions about how will I deal with issues my children (in their view) will undoubtedly face and (again in their view) the emotional turmoil and conflict they will encounter.

As a general rule, I ignore these emails and comments. I know my position on adoption and I do not feel a need to defend it. I am however curious, what's the alternative?

Here are some of the most common solutions offered by anti adoption movers.
Family preservation...
Government and community assistance...

AM2 goes into more detail about each of the alternatives listed above, and I encourage you to read her thoughtful post. The comments AM2 received show that some people agree with her and others don't. No big surprise there.

This is my response to her post:
Thanks for writing this. The reality is that adoption is rooted in loss and there are losses rooted in adoption. Adoption, like any other parenting/family issue is not itself "good", "bad", "inadequate", "dangerous", or "a gift". Adoption itself is simply a way.

Adoption is a way of forming a family, a way of moving on, a way of changing relationships, a way of preserving oneself, a way of making it different... it's just a way. The power to hurt or heal isn't in adoption. It's in HOW we are as adopters, adoptees, and birth families.

It's in how we partner,
how we honor our children and their history,
how we honor our children and their present,
how we stretch ourselves to meet our kids where they are and help them hold their history intact,
how we tend their roots both past and present,
how we celebrate them for who they are, not for who we dreamed they might be,
how we uphold our promises,
how we give, and love, and accept without expectation.

Adoption itself is an event or a process. It's a beginning or an end. It's a choice among many. But it's not a snarling, pouncing, clawing, merciless beast. Nor is it a chaste, haloed, sublime, transcendent divinity. Yes, people are hurt by adoption, and yes, people are healed by adoption. But it's HOW we do adoption that makes the difference in our lives. Which makes adoption fundamentally no different than any other thing that changes who we are.

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
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Adoptive Momma said...

Excellent! Thank you for your commentary on my post, you are exactly right. It is a way.

LilySea said...


Elizabeth @ TexasEbeth said...

I so agree with you. Adoption is a way - it is totally up to the individuals in the triad to make it what they want it to be. Adoption is not black & white; there are LOTS of gray areas that overlap.

Von said...

There may be gray areas but to adult adoptees you'll find things look very different.Many are very concerned about the adoption industry, about the way it brainwashes all who are involved with it.
There will rarely be agreement, we all stand in different places but at least let the voices of all be heard and recognised for the truth they tell and treat all with compassion.
I will post a link on my blog if I may.

SustainableFamilies said...

I think if a child is adopted under unethical circumstances it's very little to do with the "how" of what happens after, if a real parent/child relationship is not offered made and option for the adoptee and biological parent(s).

If adoptive parents are standing in the way of a desire that both child and biological parent have to be closer, than it doesn't matter how "nicely" or "filled with honor" they are when they block child and biological parent from having the kind of relationship a normal safe loving non-custodial parent should have the right to have with their child.

As an adoptee I was allowed to write letters to my biological mother and to initiate visits, but I couldn't just have my own mother.

And there was no justifiable reason for this other than adoptive parents paid to have all the rights and they want to uphold those rights EVEN IF IT HARMS OTHERS.

Which is not cool to me.

(Hi I'm one of "those people!", nice to meet you.) : )

Maru said...

Another great post, Sally. I agree. Adoption is not a tragedy. It's not a fairytale either. Adoption is a way.

Jill said...

It is a way to build a family you are right and that is your perspective. I find it concerning that you are choosing to ignore the other perspectives but hey, it's really none of my business how you parent the children you are raising.
It won't be the first time adoptees are raised to believe they are a cure for their parents' infertility, that their purpose in life was to provide a "way" for you to be a parent.
It's all about you until it's about them and if you refuse to address their feelings, they'll find someone else who can. Happens all the time.
It just makes me glad my adoptive parents chose a different way.
Best of luck.

Sally Bacchetta said...

AM2 - I find much to think about on your blog. Glad we found each other in cyberspace.

Von - I commented on your blog, but I'll say it here again. I always agree with: "let the voices of all be heard and recognised for the truth they tell and treat all with compassion."

Sustainable Families - I agree with everything you said, but to me you are speaking to the HOW. Anyone who adopts under unethical circumstances or stands in the way of "child and biological parent having the kind of relationship a normal safe loving non-custodial parent should have the right to have with their child" is not "doing adoption" with love or honor or concern for the child. They're perverting relationships to meet their own dysfunctional (and possibly cruel) needs, and the child pays the steepest price. That's how NOT to adopt.

I'm sorry that your experience was/is so different than my kids'. I'll never understand a-parents who think they can or should erase their child's history. I just don't get it.

Jill - I'm confused by your response to my post. I don't believe I ever said or advocated ignoring other perspectives, and I know I never said that my children are a cure for my infertility, that their purpose in life was to provide a "way" for me to be a parent, or that it's all about me. Why would I say something that's the polar opposite of what I think and feel? It's unfortunate if someone in your life has said that to you or refused to address your feelings. It happens far too often. I've been in the counselor's chair for many people who have had that experience. I, too, am glad that I've chosen a different way to raise my kids.
Best of luck.

LeMira said...

I just found your blog today, and I've been loving it. I love this post, especially, because recently I have really been evaluating my purpose and feelings on adoption. I am a hopeful adoptive mom, but like you, I love to read all sides of the issue. My perspectives on adoption have completely changed since three years ago when I started my journey. I have since read many different experiences, positive and negative from all sides of the "triad." This post, this explanation has put into words the thoughts I've been having lately. Adoption is a way. . .love it.