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The Adoption Chiasm

There is a literary term called a chiasm, often seen in Biblical texts, but also utilized by everyone from the Bard to JK Rowling. It is, simply put, an inversion of the story. For example, in the first line, the door opens; in the last line it closes. In the second line, the person sees their sister; and in the second to last line, they lose their sister. There is always a turning point in the middle.

Or, to use a concrete example you probably read, with Harry Potter, the whole series is a chiasm, with the turning point being the resurrection of Voldemort in Book Four (not to sound like a complete literary nerd). Harry starts Hogwarts in Book One and finishes Hogwarts in Book Seven. He meets Ginny in Book Two and falls in love with Ginny in Book Six. And there, in the middle, the story transforms and all of the emotions, plots, and relationships invert and play out as a mirror image, giving depth to the earlier leg of the story. You understand his care for Ginny later, because you saw the inverse–her unrequited love for him.

In its earliest form, chiasms were used as a mnemonic device–the teller of the story only needed to remember half a story for the price of a whole one. In contemporary literature, it is used to lend depth, to draw connections between seemingly unconnected events, or to juxtapose two characters.

The point of all this literary crap:

I couldn’t stop thinking about this lit crit term while watching MTV’s True Life episode last weekend. I’ll be frank, even if I wasn’t an infertile woman, it would have been a difficult show to watch. But it added an additional layer to consider the inverse of my situation. It was the two ends of the spectrum: the woman who cannot carry a child to term and the woman who is carrying to term a child she did not intend to carry. It is no easier to have the problem of an unplanned pregnancy than it is to face the idea that you may never reach parenthood. There will be people from both sides who argue out the Pain Olympics, but I am simply describing what I observed: the mirror images of being in a situation with few exits and both women–those who can carry a child and those who can’t–moving towards one another to meet in the middle, closing off the figurative X of the chiasm. I cannot speak about the child since the episode told only the point of view of the parents.

The anguish, from what I could observe, was so similar (again, unless someone experiences both situations, they can never completely speak to how close the two situations are in actuality)–the feeling of being trapped, of feeling like there are no easy choices to make, of feeling judged, of feeling desperate. It was very difficult to watch the episode. I cried hard for Kayla and Amanda, hoping for peace of heart with the decision. I felt a deep gratitude that they allowed us a window into their world so we could better understand the process. And I will say this though I know not all readers will agree: watching the episode reminded me of how grateful I am that adoption exists.

The documentary followed two women considering creating an adoption plan for their unborn child. The first, Kayla, was 19 years old and conceived the child out of relationship. She immediately stopped doing drugs once she discovered she was pregnant. She made the decision to place her daughter twice–once when she was pregnant, and again once she had held her daughter and parented for several days. When I say that she made the decision twice, I mean that she made it rationally while she was pregnant–she knew that it was the better choice for her daughter. But she made it emotionally after giving birth. As she said on the show, it was the choice that was best for her daughter and terrible for herself, but she wanted to be selfless with this decision.

The second woman, Amanda, was 22 years old. She conceived her daughter during a brief relationship with a man, Rob, after she broke up with her girlfriend of four years. It was originally Rob’s decision to parent the child; while he was supportive of adoption, he wanted to raise his daughter. He already had a son from a previous relationship and he lived with his parents while between jobs and in school. Amanda felt strongly at first that she wanted to place with a couple she met through an adoption site online, but changed her mind during the episode. In the end, they chose to parent and Rob is raising his daughter without help from Amanda.

There were two things that struck me in this episode. First and foremost, the anguish. This episode was the anti-Juno. These were women who were gutted, trying to figure out a decision that could balance out their own emotional wants with a child’s basic needs. They didn’t casually pick out a couple and then go through the next nine months set in their plan. They agonized and debated and grieved. There was such deep grief as each woman realized that she didn’t have the ability to give her child the life she wanted her to have. That it went beyond having enough love or enough money or enough outside support. That there was a missing element–perhaps unexplainable but clearly missing–that they couldn’t provide.

But the second thing was that obvious missing element, the thing keeping them from parenting, which was not money or support or information or love. Perhaps it was an impulse; that drive that kicks in when people realize they consciously want to parent. For many, this drive kicks in prior to pregnancy and is the factor that moves people to build their family. Other times, it comes after learning of an unexpected pregnancy. The person is able, for whatever reason, to shift their view of the future to incorporate the child.

It was clear from the episode that even though Kayla had a support system with her mother, resources with organizations, and a deep love for her daughter, that she was missing this vital element that even she recognized when making the decision. She simply wasn’t ready to take on that responsibility. She explained to the couple who adopted her daughter that it wasn’t the inability to go out with friends or the lack of sleep–it wasn’t, in other words, the surface of parenthood.

She explained the elusive missing piece with an example that was more concrete: her primary coping mechanism was drugs. She was self-aware enough to realize that she needed other coping mechanisms in order to not only get through life but to be a parent. It was a matter of maturity–not the maturity that brings self-awareness since she certainly had that. But the maturity that propels the next step. And while it was clear that she was going to reach that maturity in time–she has now been sober for a year and is working on her GED–she didn’t have it in hand. And that was going to affect her child. Did she want to learn those lessons, acquire those life skills while also parenting or did she want to take the time to allow herself to grow up on her own terms?

The closest way I could explain would be to compare it to placing a twelve year old behind the wheel of a car. Could they learn the surface skills of driving; how to turn on the car and work the brakes? Could they even possibly drive for a few weeks to basic places in town and not cause an accident? But what about the quick thinking that is required to make split-second decisions while driving? The maturity to accept your fault in an accident and make sure the other driver is okay rather than fleeing the scene?

It is not a perfect analogy because there are plenty of teenagers who are ready to parent and perfectly capable of parenting. With the right resources in place and support systems at their fingertips, they may not have the smooth path that other parents enjoy, but they are capable of overcoming that rocky start to raise their chi
ldren. Yet more often, there are those like the self-aware Kayla who can point to herself and say, “I’m just not ready to take this on.”

Maturity is supposed to happen in due time. Thrusting a teenager into adulthood before they are ready is like thrusting a baby prematurely out of the womb. It’s not that premature infants can’t develop outside the womb. But development happens at a different pace outside the body. While the sucking and swallowing reflex is mastered in-utero around 34 weeks, babies born at 33 weeks don’t acquire it a week later. They may not acquire it for weeks and weeks beyond the date they would have in the womb. And I think Kayla realized that a similar thing happens when children move into adult roles before they’re ready: that the development of skills takes place at a different rate. We can’t thrust a baby into an unprepared teenager’s hands and expect her to pick up the same skills she would have picked up without a child to raise.

Therefore, I think Kayla made a decision that was best for her daughter and best for herself, even though it was the most painful decision she ever had to make and the aftershocks will continue to be felt for life.

Returning to the idea of the chiasm, it was helpful for me to visualize the child in the center (forming, undoubtedly, their own personal shape inside this experience), with the two women–the adoptive mother and the birth mother–moving towards each other, both from extremes of emotion towards a meeting in the middle. And then, the exiting, the second leg of every chiasm, as the roles reverse with the passing of parenthood. It filled me with emotion, with empathy, without words to explain how enormous the building of an adoption plan is for all involved.

Though perhaps open adoption is not a chiasm insomuch as it resembles the mathematical symbol for infinity.

Maybe a more accurate portrayal of the situation with intertwined loops forever connected by the central person–the child–who holds the adults, well-rounded with emotion, together.


1 Io { 03.25.09 at 8:25 pm }

Gosh DARN it! I swear Mel, I don’t mean to gush like a groupie every time I comment on a post, but I can’t help it. You are just so insightful. I read this and my brain just opens up and this flows in with perfect understanding. It’s just such a beautiful thought. (And I had never noticed the Harry Potter thing.)

I sounds like a goof, I know 🙂

2 Jess { 03.25.09 at 8:42 pm }

This is really a sweet way to put it.

I believe that IDEALLY those who are biologically a child’s parents will parent that child. Maybe it will be harder, but I wish there was more support for those who wanted to take this route.

Before you all shoot me….IDEALLY we would all get pg and have biological children of our own, too. LIFE is not ideal. There are situations in which adoption is wonderful. OBVIOUSLY I believe that. But I also feel strongly that that infinity symbol needs to STAY IN PLACE. That all members of the adoption need to ideally never part. They need to all become family, even if they don’t see each other often. YOUR ADOPTED CHILD comes with family, just like your HUSBAND or SO comes with family, and there is no denying that.

And there’s no need to deny it.

And sometimes adoption IS best. Though there is heartbreak there, on all sides, and possibly inevitably somewhat for the child. And that’s a weighty thing. And it means that if you’re going to be an adoptive parent, you need to be cognizant of what exactly it is you’re getting yourself into.

That said….I want to say that I believe that if you are not ready and willing or able to parent (or as Ava’s birthmother, not able to parent ANOTHER child since her son had higher needs) adoption is a wonderful option. And IMHO, adoption with some level of openness is an even MORE wonderful option.

Also, though, you know, age needs to stay out of it, I think. Like you said, some teens are able and willing, and we as a society need to help them and respect that, and respect the sanctity of the family. My best friend married a man who had a child at 16 (or 17?) and he and her mother do a wonderful job. IS it hard sometimes? Yes. But now that they’re older especially, it’s not harder than a divorce, and it’s certainly a blessing that he will have that many more years with his daughter, as I said to him the other day. Also, I was 24 when we adopted our daughter, an age where many are “not ready” while Ava’s bio mom was 28, a much more “acceptable” age….but it wasn’t our ages, it was how our lives had played out that put us into our individual situations.

People are shocked when they hear that Ava’s bio parents are older than we are. But I wonder why that matters? In people’s heads does that make them better or worse? And who are they to judge?

3 Rachel { 03.25.09 at 8:43 pm }

When we had to go listen to birth mothers’ stories as part of our orientation, I felt this parallel grief. Even though our pain is completely different, it is somehow the same. I can’t explain it exactly, but hearing the birthmoms’ stories, I felt it. I felt like I knew exactly what was missing from their lives because it was missing from mine too, except the missing things were the inverse of each other.

I haven’t watched this, but I have it recorded. I haven’t been in the right place.

All of this still frightens me, and sometimes I question my ability to have it be part of me, but I know that sometimes, no matter how painful all of this is, it can be the right thing for everyone.

4 luna { 03.25.09 at 9:52 pm }

oh mel, this is so fucking beautiful.

in my own experience, I feel we can point to those paths that led us to our expectant mother and her to us. and I can only hope that our infinity symbol will remain intertwined and linked as it is now…

I agree about the show and how moving these stories were. kayla’s awareness and anguish in particular is just so powerful to see as a prospective adoptive mother. and as I’ve said before, I think that family’s story shows the critical importance of giving an expectant mother the time and space she needs in her own process, to make that decision again, especially after birth. the adoptive family’s patience and grace in the face of such uncertainty and emotion is remarkable.

thanks for this post.

5 Kristin { 03.25.09 at 10:47 pm }

Oh wow…And, I can’t help but second everything Io said!

What a beautiful observation.

6 Lori { 03.25.09 at 10:51 pm }

You just added several facets to my understanding of adoption.

I love the symbols, and your take on maturity — how it happens at different rates based on location/circumstance.

And I love the phrase “adoption chiasm.”

Call me groupie.

7 Beautiful Mess { 03.26.09 at 12:15 am }

I waited to read this until I watched the show. I tried really hard to keep my mind open while watching it. I tried so hard not to be quick to judge. I think Kayla made the right choice and I do believe it was so hard for her. I was really angry with Rob. I felt he pushed Amanda to make a decision she wasn’t ready for, then he held it against her when he realized it wasn’t her time. I love your take on it. It all clicked in my head after I read your entry. Thank you for your beautiful writing. Sing me up as a groupie, too.

8 Heather { 03.26.09 at 4:05 am }

I’ve often thought of it as Venn diagram of sorts, the two circles of your infinity symbol overlapping, with the child tucked into that space they share.

9 A Mom in Jacksonville, FL { 03.26.09 at 5:45 am }

Mel, another lovely post! I especially like your comparison of the chiasm and infinity symbols. 🙂

10 Anonymous { 03.26.09 at 6:29 am }

Mel, Cecily has a link to a very interesting adoption story on her blog (Wednesday’s post)

11 niobe { 03.26.09 at 7:32 am }

I almost never say this to anyone — but this was really a wonderful post.

12 Ali { 03.26.09 at 8:23 am }

I don’t think that a lot of people (outside of the relationship) think about the mother that is giving up the child, and what an inner struggle it must be. I think your insight was a very good comparison and I fully agree that the infertile woman and the woman carrying but that never intended to have a lot more in common than one might think.

Thanks for the post

13 lassie { 03.26.09 at 8:29 am }

I saw this program over the weekend and its been rolling around my brain ever since. I guess my daughter’s situation fits both Kayla’s and Amanda’s. My daughter’s birth mother was (emotionally?) unable to place her daughter at birth. She ultimately placed her daughter with us at one year old.

I don’t think LL’s birth mother’s inability to place had to do with age or even maturity. She is not young, not a new parent and not new to the adoption triad/chiasm. Our adoption is open, but contact has been lost.

I often worry that my daughter will need answers to why her birth mother made her choices. I feel woefully unequipped to help her work through this when the time comes.

This comment is long and turning into a blog post. I think I’ll take this over to EggsBene and finish there.

Thanks for discussing this so eloquently. It has helped me sort out some feelings that have been brewing for a long time.

14 Elizabeth { 03.26.09 at 10:42 am }

I dont know why this post made me cry.

15 Anonymous { 03.26.09 at 12:26 pm }

I am sorry for your pain but adoption is not a cure for infertility. You are all so concerned with what the birth mother’s and adoptive mothers are feeling. What about the children? Isn’t his supposed to be about them? The best thing for a child is to be with it’s biological family. I was adopted as an infant, I have a great adoptive family that I love very much. I was not abused. I got everything I ever wanted, went to college and have had a good life. I would give it all up to have been raised by my 17 year old emotionally immature birth mother. I would give it all up to experience what it would be like to grow up feeling normal, like I belonged and happy. I have grown up with a number of issues that were caused by the trauma of being separated from my mother. All of you need to read books like The Primal Wound. This is not about you and your needs, it should be about the children.

16 DrSpouse { 03.26.09 at 3:50 pm }

I met someone recently whose son was adopted after his birth mother realised she could not care for him since she was on her own and spent about half her time in psychiatric institutions. She was in her late 30s – the birth mother – older than the woman I met. So it’s not all to do with age, by any means. In fact, most of the adoption professionals I’ve spoken to have said that more teenagers raise their children, at least recently when they are pressured less. It’s mainly women in their 20s and even older who place for adoption.

17 Queenie. . . { 03.26.09 at 4:16 pm }

The post was of course brilliant. But I also have to comment on the status by the Chickienob. Oh, that made me laugh, the bit about Sleeping Beauty.

18 Michelle { 03.26.09 at 7:52 pm }

I watched this show and while it scared the CRAP out of me from my side of things it showed me the side that I don’t often really think about when thinking of adoption. I thought all people involved where incredibly strong. The type of strength that I hope I can have if/when I am faced with the choice of adoption.

I think your post summed it up beautifully!…as always.

19 ..soo.see.. { 03.26.09 at 8:06 pm }

you are a nerd! haha, i’m kidding – seriously though, you know how to make things even more clear. it made total sense when you explained how maturity development happens at different rates and levels depending on the circumstance. so true! and the status update w/ the chickinob’s quote is too cute!! put me on the list as a groupie too… of the chickinob and wolvog too. 🙂

20 millie { 03.26.09 at 11:59 pm }

This was a freakin’ awesome post. Great job, Mel!

I do think this True Life was the Anti Juno and that’s a good thing for so many reasons (although Juno had a much better soundtrack).

I also think the “child centered” view is what we should all strive to achieve. I agree with one of the other posters: adoption is not a cure for infertility. We prospective adoptive parents need to do plenty of hard work so that we don’t look for adoption to cure us or heal us. Expectant parents who consider adoption also have hard work of their own to complete so they can make the best choice for their child.

I think that every expectant mom considering an adoption plan needs a great deal of support, resources and therapy with qualified and adoption literate professionals. Kayla got that. It didn’t seem like Amanda did (at least from the edit). That is unfortunately all too common.

Every expectant mom should be encouraged to think about parenting and what that would mean. Every expectant mom should be given the space to make their decision a second time. Dale and Michaela along with their facilitator and Kayla’s social worker all did an amazing job of supporting Kayla while giving her the time and space to make her decision.

I think Kayla showed amazing insight when she said she made the decision that was the best one for her daughter but the hardest one for her. Her daughter will never doubt how much love and thought went into that decision. She grow up surrounded by even more love.

I think at the end Kayla said she plans to become a social worker focused on open adoptions. I think she’s uniquely qualified to help a lot of other women with their process and make their own decisions.

21 Clare { 03.27.09 at 2:21 am }

this was really powerful. Thank you

22 Kymberli { 03.27.09 at 7:02 am }

*sigh* I have to read this post again. Bookmark it, read it again and again and let the words sink in. I missed the episode and planned to catch it over the weekend. I’m so glad that I read your review of it first because I know that I will see it with a much clearer perspective than had I read this after the first viewing.

Through the reading, I felt my heart catch in my throat several times because in your description of Kayla, you seemed to describe my sister PERFECTLY. She’ll be 27 in September and she seems like she’s perpetually frozen in the mental, emotional, and developmental state that she was in when she delivered her son (my nephew who I am now raising) at age 17. We just don’t know what to do with her anymore.

She is behind the wheel of the car in your analogy: she has all of the skills and training she needs and she’s able to drive it, but she’s too damned scared and frightened to get on the highway. She’s sitting there in the driveway with the car idling in park.

I’ve been very angry with my sister for many various reasons and the longer she sits there, I feel resentment swelling. Your post softened me a little bit, because the sympathy that I once felt for my sister had waned long ago and it’s been getting harder, nearly impossible, to keep feeling sorry for her. Reading this post, I could clearly see my sister sitting there gripping the wheel, eyes wide open staring at the whizzing traffic in front of her, and I felt sorry for her.

23 Lollipop Goldstein { 03.27.09 at 9:30 am }

I definitely agree with the comments about age. And truly, I was only speaking about the two women in the episode: what was missing for them (though the same element could be missing for someone else, but I’m only speaking about what I observed in the episode and what the women said themselves).

I don’t think that maturity comes with age either. I can think of plenty of teenagers who could accept responsibility for their actions and plenty of thirty-year-olds who are too self-absorbed to accept responsibility for how they comport themselves in the world. That most people could keep a child alive but fewer people could raise a child. And it is a big difference. That raising a child is more than putting food on the table and rocking them to sleep and taking them to school. I thought Kayla was brilliant in her self-assessment and while she can’t control how Bella will feel when Bella is older, I am hopeful that she will watch the episode and see that the best choice was made at that time with the information, resources, and self-knowledge at hand.

In an ideal world, people would only become pregnant when they wanted to become pregnant (and I’ll extend that to include that anyone who wishes to become pregnant will be able to get pregnant and carry to term). And as I stated in the post, I cannot speak to the adoptee perspective because it wasn’t included in this episode. I believe there was another episode that followed adult adoptees and I would love to see how they covered it. But I cannot address that in this post because this post does not speak universally about birth mothers, adoptive mothers, or adoptees. It speaks solely about the two women (and truly, I focused more on Kayla because I felt like I heard her reasoning more than I heard Amanda’s thought process) in the episode.

24 Ashley { 03.27.09 at 10:08 am }

This was by far the best post on this episode I’ve seen yet, and I’m hoping they posted the episode online so I can watch it.


25 Bea { 03.28.09 at 6:04 pm }

The x. The infinity. So perfect.

I like your thoughts about premature babies vs premature adulthood, too. Although I’m not at all sure it explains the complexities of how a person actually develops in those (adult) situations (hey – it’s a blog entry, not a PhD, right?).

I think in some ways people can and do grow up faster, and I think society has a tendency to prolong teenagehood and reinforce a message that 22 is still a child, etc etc. (Weirdly, at the same time, we tend to truncate actual childhood. Like we feel that adolescence really is the funnest life stage.) But in any case, it certainly is a messed-up way to grow when you have to take on too much too soon, and recognising your own limitations is an important talent.

Anyway, it was a good post.


26 Lori { 03.30.09 at 11:43 am }
27 Parenthood For Me { 03.30.09 at 4:05 pm }

I just read the post and all the comments. I am enlightened by the feelings of the adoptive mothers even though I thought I “got it” before. But I have a knot in my stomach too. As an adoptive mom I am scared for my son’s feelings and how he will feel about being adopted.
I didn’t watch the episode. I’m not sure if I could.

28 joy { 03.31.09 at 10:37 am }

This is a patently ridiculous self-congratualatory post.

I say that as both a teen mother and adoptee.

I am disgusted.

29 BethGo { 03.31.09 at 11:08 am }

Yes. It is interesting to see the comparison of adopting a child as a completion somehow to one’s infertility.
It isn’t. It just isn’t.
My brother and I did not end our parents’ infertility with our adoptions into their family. And frankly, I for one am glad I was placed with people who never expected that of me. How horrible!
That is a big expectation for a tiny little baby.
And for me as a person who was placed for adoption as an infant, my issues began with the event of being left at the hospital by the one person who was supposed to care for me. The fall out of that came full circle with my subsequent reunion as an adult. It does not end for the adoptee. It never ends.
It is sad to me that this post seems once again to emphasize the reality that adoption is no longer about a child needing a home but adults needing a baby.

30 Anonymous { 03.31.09 at 11:47 am }

As an adoptee, I find this disgusting. Especially the part at the top about an iPod, and a Mac and an adoptee. I’m sorry, but a human child doesn’t belong in that list. We are people. Do you ever think how these children will feel when they grow up and realize that they were adopted to rectify their parents’ infertility? To fill a hole in the lives of adults who should know better? Children NEED parents. Adults do not NEED to parent, no matter how strong the urge might feel. You are disgusting.

31 Furrow { 03.31.09 at 1:21 pm }

Okay, BethGo and Anonymous, If parents don’t feel a NEED to parent, what compels them to adopt? Do you want totally dispassionate people adopting children? I just don’t get it. Why the hate? My husband is adopted, so although I don’t completely get it, I’m not completely ignorant, either.

32 BethGo { 03.31.09 at 6:46 pm }

What an utterly dismissive comment. Being married to an adoptee does not an adoptee make. And honestly, you should thank your lucky stars for that one.Ask my husband. After seeing all I have gone through, he would never, ever want to be adopted.

All I’m saying is that people adopting these days seem unabashedly…entitled.

It’s about people thinking they deserve a bayyybbeeee more than others.

Please. Please educate yourself. Read “Journey of the Adopted Self” by BJ Lifton. Read “The Girls Who Went Away”. Read “The Primal Wound” and “Coming Home to Self” by Nancy Verrier (an adoptive mother!!!).

I don’t hate adoption and I don’t hate my adoptive parents. I just hate that people seem to think adoption is some kind of infertility cure when it is anything but.

When I became pregnant with my first child, my adoptive mother asked to be in the delivery room because she told me that even after raising two children, her one regret in life was that she had never been pregnant.
I also know that while my pregnancies and my children have brought my mom a lot of joy. there is also a tinge of bittersweet mixed in there.
It’s just one of the lovely side effects of adoption that the agencies don’t tell people about.

I didn’t cure my adoptive mother’s infertility and most importantly, she didn’t expect me to. And THAT is the big difference I see between adopters today and those of my parents’ generation.

To want to parent is a wonderful thing but I wonder if those looking to adopt these days really consider WHO it is they are adopting. Every single child expert will agree that babies are not blank slates to be filled up and programmed by the people that raise them. It doesn’t work that way. Babies come hardwired with their own unique qualities that deserve to be recognized.
My hope is that every truly caring adoptive parent out there today is truly trying to nurture their child’s nature.
But I will be honest, I worry when I see the way people, especially those looking to adopt view adoption and adoptees on the internet.

33 Julie McCoy { 04.02.09 at 1:08 am }

“even though it was the most painful decision she ever had to make and the aftershocks will continue to be felt for life.”

Aftershocks indicate that she has a foundation to be disrupted. That there is a time when life is *calm*.
And when it is shaken up for 30 seconds.

That is a *blessing*, compared to my experience.

To quote my therapist, Nancy Verrier,
“When someone suffers a trauma at age 30, she can go back to age 25 or 27 as a reference point for her feelings, attitudes and behaviors. She knows that she wasn’t so fearful, so mistrustful, so needing to be in control, so sensitive to rejection, so depressed and anxious. She knew who she was and it isn’t who she appears to be now….

You as adoptees have no reference point. For most of you, your trauma occurred right after birth, so there is no “before trauma” self. You suffered a loss that you can’t consciously remember and which no one else is acknowledging, but which has a tremendous impact on your sense of Self and others, your emotional responses, your behavior, and your world view. “

Making the right choice for a child, ultimately, should mean that one is raised with an access to heredity and ancestry. It should enable a person to grow up with mirroring and reflecting. It should not mean taking an innocent child and sentencing it to live a life without any biological markers.
Trying to assimilate an event that may not be visible in the conscious memory, but is still present, in the body and brain.
That sucks.

Feelings have memories.
And in my experience?
I was VERY aware that my mothers were swapped out, and I have NEVER fully recovered from the experience.

But that’s clearly not the priority. My basic needs to have housing, food and clothing? Check.

But what really matters in this world:

My natural mother got to attempt to move on from this mistake and spend the next 30+ years vainly convincing herself that I was “better off”.
Did her life trajectory change?
I’m not so sure about that one.

But hey!!!
My adoptive parents got to have their *perfect* family and raise a baby.
So mission accomplished, right?

Who cares about the rest of the fall out…..

34 beagle { 04.02.09 at 7:42 pm }

There are always many angles to every story. It saddens me to read the angry comments by adoptees but it is good to voice your opinions.

I was raised by biological teenage parents and that was not always a picnic either. I am not sure that I agree that biology is best. Putting children ahead of adult whims is best but that is not an adoption issue. That is a human issue. There are many more selfish biological parents than there are adoptive ones (purely a statistical matter.) If you grow up in a bio family and end up with wounds you blame your parents and if you grow up adopted and have wounds primal or otherwise you blame your parents too. Again, more about being human than being adopted in my opinion.

And yes, I am infertile. And yes I am an adoptive mom. And no, I am not “cured” nor did I expect to be. But I hope I can do right by this little boy who’s life was placed in my (selfish, if you must) hands.

35 joy { 04.04.09 at 12:30 pm }

None of the adoptees that posted claimed that life is a picnic if you aren’t adopted.

Why do people always respond to us as if we don’t have a legitmate complaint?

As if we are so self-absorbed as to be unaware that other people have problems too?

Do you respond to others that way too. For example if I were to say, “I broke my leg and it really hurt and I found it difficult to get around with a broken leg” Would you tell me, “Well life is not a picnic for those of us without broken legs!”

I mean really that is all true but it doesn’t not negate the fact that adoption sucks for the adoptee.

I don’t know a single person who would rather be adopted than born to a family that could love and care for him/her.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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