Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I maintain: Adoption is not Ideal

In response to an anonymous commenter:

(scroll down a post or two for the context.)

I'm not sure you'll ever read this...but here goes:
Adoption is redemptive. Adoption is good. Adoption has been a priceless gift for us. And in many situations adoption is the very best possible choice for a child.

And I maintain: Adoption isn't ideal. Ideally, 2 people committed to each other (in marriage) have a baby together in circumstances that allow them to parent forever. Ideally, this is how it works.

Anytime a baby/child is removed from his or her birthmom there is trauma; no one in the field of adoption or neuroscience, or chid development disputes this. And rarely (especially in today's adoption) is that the only trauma a child faces. Some kids are really resilient, and sometimes the trauma is minimal and in those cases families may see little fall out. That's great, and I would say it is also increasingly rare.

Also,I cannot conceive of a birthmom out there who wouldn't call the termination of her parental rights traumatic. It is a deeply sad thing to not be able to parent your child. The very thought of it is like a punch in the gut. Sad, can give birth to beauty. But sad is alway the seed of adoption. It is.

I think I'm a "Hero", you say? Yeah, well maybe, once, I was enamoured with the romantic notion of "saving an orphan." But that was before she was placed in my arms and I was so humbled by the precious gift and daunting responsibility. I'm sure you understand. It sounds like you are a parent too.

She is my daughter, you see. She isn't an orphan. She's mine. I help her dress, and brush her teeth. I read her stories and apply band-aids when necessary. I get annoyed when I tell her for the zillionth time she needs to put on her shoes and she's still futzing with a coloring book. There is nothing heroic in the day to day. I am a mom; I am not a hero.

And let me assure you, my bio kids do not see their little sister as the "emotionally damaged adopted child". That's just totally offensive. They bicker with her, and love on her, and put up with her antics just like they do with each other. They are sibs - all four of them. The end.

But how many 10 year olds do you know that can spot the signs of disregulation and know immediately that "heavy work" will give the sensory input necessary to calm a situation? How many kids do you know that end up with sleep issues themselves because their sibling cannot regualte sleep cycles. The "bigs" (as we call them) have absorbed the impact of trauma. It was one of the great miscalculations of our journey to assume that my husband and I would be most deeply impacted by the choice to add to our family. It's not a "them" vs. "her" thing. It just is the reality of living with a child with a disability. And her disabilty is not adoption - that isn't a disability per se. But my daughter's story, and the lifelong challenges she will face, cannot be seperated from the circumstances that led her to us. And her "melt-downs" are not of the typical variety. They stem from brain differences. But as you are an anonymous commenter, you would have no way of knowing this.

Incidently, my bio son also has some acronyms. And, incidently, those impact our family too. We are savvy about his stuff, as well. But this particular story was not about that.

And, um, I may not yet be a veteran parent , but I'm no rookie, either. So, yeah, I've had a kid or two lose it before. Heck, I've thrown a juvenile hissy fit a time or two.

This is not the same. At all.

Get to know a child with FASD. Talk to a momma raising a child who has come from very hard places. Be slow to judge, because you know not of what you speak.

The mammas who commented before you have walked a very hard road. Until you have walked it too, please be slow to judge.



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