Friday, April 13, 2012

Is it (Ever) OK to Complain About the Expense of Adoption?

One of the comments on my previous post (Open Letter to Prospective Adoptive Parents [PAPs]) was this, from :

I have to defend the talking about expense discussions. It is a common complaint for most everything related to infertility. Most of the expense complaints I hear and my personal expense complaint have everything to do with how unfair it is that infertiles typically have to spend crazy amounts of money to become parents and it is a bitter pill to swallow. It is unfair and deserves to be acknowledged whether it be the expense of IVF or the expense of adoption.

I've been thinking about her comments and asking myself, "Is it OK to complain about the expense of adoption?" I still say no. For the most part. And here are my Top 10 reasons why (in random order):

1. It's insensitive. A parent who places a child for adoption faces incomprehensible losses for the rest of their life. You can make more money. They can't re-make the child they lose.

2. It's crass. 'Nuff said.

3. It positions your child as a commodity. There are plenty of people in the business of adoption who see your child as a commodity. You shouldn't be one of them.

4. It's not anyone else's problem. It's not. Life is hard. Infertility is devastating. The costs of adoption are prohibitive and ridiculous. I get it. I do. But it's not anyone else's problem.

5. It smacks of entitlement. Any complaint about the cost of adoption implies that it should cost less or be free. Why? Because you want it? Because you need to save your money for something else? Because you'd be a great parent, but you can't afford to adopt? Again, I get it. But we're not entitled to anything.

6. It breeds resentment. Between expectant mothers and potential adoptive parents, between adoptive parents and first parents, between friends, etc.

7. It's not anyone else's problem. See #4.

8. It's a waste of time. When women started fighting back against the barbarism of the Baby Scoop Era, someone figured out other ways to exploit adoption and make it profitable. Unless and until large numbers of adoptive parents and PAPs seriously join the fight to reform adoption, complaining about the costs is a waste of time.

9. Someday your child may read your words. Can you imagine how they would feel?

10. It's a distraction. When you're a PAP, the wait is bone-deep agonizing. Every baby shower invitation and announcement of a friend's pregnancy is like a telephone pole being driven through your gut. I remember. Money is a convenient lightning rod for anguish, anxiety, fear, and frustration. But complaining about money is a distraction from more important things like getting to know some first parents, adoptive parents and adoptees and talking to them and reading their blogs to learn how adoption has impacted them (both positively and negatively) throughout their lives. Like researching the history of adoption and getting involved with adoption reform. Like volunteering with organizations that offer support to expectant mothers and mothers who need help to be able to raise their child/ren.

All that being said, it is financially expensive to adopt a child, and of course, PAPs need to talk about the cost. But those conversations should be kept private. Complain and fret to each other over breakfast. Unload your financial frustrations to your social worker or attorney. For crying out loud, keep it out of cyberspace. Please. It diminishes everyone.

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

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+