Why do we act as though they do have this right? As though loss through the inability to bear children or the desire to make a family larger are the biggest wounds that require immediate filling by taking someone else’s child.
Follow any adoption as it occurs. Does the birth mother have the same support the adoptive parents do? Is her voice heard, her fears spoken? Are the losses the child and mother experience addressed or even acknowledged? Is the reality that the child has been transplanted from one set of arms to another acknowledged as a trauma that will follow them throughout their lives?
Or is celebrating ownership of the child and their narrative the main focus instead?
Moving children from parents who are “unfit” or “unwilling” (often euphemisms for poverty, singleness or youth) to those who are “fit”, “deserving”, “capable” (often euphemisms for money, status, age or marriage) is an overarching theme in adoption. Race and disability cannot be excluded from this theme, neither.
Adoptive parents often bemoan what they have to do to adopt a child while simultaneously demeaning birth mothers for creating children and keeping them without similar barriers. Sometimes this extends to birth fathers as well, as is illustrated in this selfish narrative. Adoptive parents say that no one is controlling how biological parents are able to become parents (I think most Child Protective Services would disagree) but that their own pain at not being able to conceive is only compounded by having to meet standards and wait for “the one” to be “gifted” to them. (Of course, these barriers are not the same for those who are able to convince family members or friends to adopt to them, or those who adopt by becoming foster families first.) The most incongruent portion of this narrative is that so many foster and adoptive families are abusive, neglectful – in short, fail to meet the very standards they place on the biological families they take their children from. Even the best of these families, who offer the ideal adoption situation for children, avoid recognizing the trauma their adopted children carry within them, forcing them to adhere to the “lucky adoptee” narrative.
No one has the right to ANYONE else’s child.
For good or for bad, the biological family of a child must be recognized as of vital importance to them, on par or even more than the importance of the adoptive family. Millions of adoptees agree that this is the least that must happen.
What do you think? What is your experience of the mainstream narrative?