Another lifetime movie about a birth mom trying to steal her baby back, another adoption story from the adoptive parent perspective, another birth mom in a crackhouse or high trying to comfort their baby and make themselves look presentable, another newborn in a dumpster or a bush or found with drugged up parents.
Another way to distance normal society and birth moms. Another reinforced, mythical requirement to being a woman who chooses adoption.
In my 10 years of being on this journey, i have heard many opinions on my adoption. Most of which don’t match my situation. At all. Or any situation of a woman i know. Yes, laws are in place because birth moms have tried to steal back their babies, but they don’t tell you about the adoptive parents who falsify documents to steal a baby. Substance abuse is real, but it is not a requirement to be a birth mom. Several stereotypes have become default “reality” when people think of birth moms. Let’s talk requirements.
1. Be pregnant or have a child.
2. Love the child
3. Want a better life for that child.
That’s it. Many times women aren’t on drugs, aren’t abused, aren’t homeless, aren’t worthless, and definitely love the child. Many grown women in healthy marriages, with careers, with good lives choose adoption.
But why?! Why would you give away your baby.
I’m glad you asked.
See. It takes more than money and two parents to raise a child. It takes mental health, being ready, support from family and friends, a time in your life that you can dedicate a majority of your life to being a parent, and so much more. If you don’t have that, if you can’t do that, the situation is not good for a child. Not to mention the good amount of adoptions that are not by choice. Yes, the papers were signed without a gun to the mothers head. But she is young and the parents tell her that she can’t live there with the baby, the dad runs off, her friends can’t help, and she has nowhere to turn. Where does she turn. What does she do. Abortion or adoption she will be crucified.
Which is also my next point. I intentionally broke it down to those two choices. Because again, people think “well at least you didn’t abort.” I never thought about abortion. I wanted to raise my baby. I wanted to be her mom, raise her, hold her, and teach her. But as I got farther along the reality of everything that entailed began to take form. The lack of support was deafening, and I realized love and wanting to raise a child isn’t enough. I was old enough to get WIC, get on the housing list, get food stamps..I could have done it. But was I willing to do it 100% alone and make my child suffer more than I did. That’s what it came down too. In MY personal life, I did not want to do abortion. This is not to speak down on women who did want an abortion, but chose adoption. You did what is right for your situation, and my personal beliefs or feelings aside, that is on you. You live with your life, it’s on nobody else to judge. It is on decent human beings and Christians to love you, and support you.
The savior stereotype/the requirement to need saving. The adoptive parents give the baby “someone who actually loves them”. “You have saved that baby from a horrible life! You gave them something that they never would have had! How could someone not love something so precious, how blessed that you see how precious they are!” I need to know how people know this baby was saved. What is ACTUAL love, if not enough love to want your baby to have a life you aren’t ready for..how is that not seeing how precious they are? How do you know what they never would have had. Every parent, adoptive, step, or birth can give a child something the other parent can’t. That’s just personalities. The adoptive parents aren’t saving the baby, always. Nor are they saving the birth mom. My adoptive parents call me their angel, they are equally mine. They hold me up SO high, and so loved for being a mom, and for allowing them to raise our child. ALLOWING. Their word. They are amazing humans, that other humans could learn from. Now, do I celebrate like hell when my friends who suffer infertility get blessed with adoption? Hell yes! I also see the birth mom. I pray for her pain, and I am grateful the friends I have seen adopt or have family members adopt never bash the birth mom. I’ve seen them thank the strong woman who made parenthood possible. For that, I celebrate them even more.
This closely ties with when birth moms talk about their child. I LOVE to brag on my daughter. I love to talk about her daily. She’s a part of my life, she’s a part of who I am. Unless you’re a birth parent, you don’t understand, and that’s okay. I’m not looking to be understood by someone who can’t understand, I’m just looking to be heard. To be seen, and to be able to talk about a huge part of my life without being cut off because it’s uncomfortable, or to have an opinion that’s invalid. I’m not talking about her because I regret, or because I want you to ask if I regret my decision. That’s frankly none of your concern. Do you want me to ask how you feel you’ve failed as a parent, do you want me to give my opinion on how i would handle your child I do not know like you do, or on your life that I don’t live? No. You don’t. You don’t feel I understand, which I don’t, and that’s okay. But sometimes you want to vent, you want to brag, you want to aimlessly speak that Clemmy painted her crib with poop because you passed out folding laundry. No judgement, maybe a laugh, but just a statement. Because you’re a parent, like me, who just wants to talk about their kids. We may have a lot of grief. We may cry, and hurt…but we just want to talk. We trust you enough to see that, please do.
Another requirement deemed common by society is the baby goes with the new family and the birth mom is at the will of the family. We have no right to know about our baby. We do, actually. It’s in the legal paperwork drawn up for the adoption. It’s also up to us how open or closed we want the adoption, not the adoptive parents. Agencies do their best to match parents that have similar wants, but we are not at the mercy of the adoption agency or adoptive parents. Most adoptions past the unwed Mother’s home era, and the 80’s are semi open or open. It’s not unique that a birth mother wants to know about her child, or that she is involved in their life. It’s unique that people will listen to the actual situation before they speak their opinion on the situation. Open adoptions can be confusing from the outside. As stated previously, mine is semi open so I’ve asked women with open adoptions to explain to me their adoption dynamics.
One that sticks out is the pride. They get a front seat to their child growing up, and the ability to be proud daily. When explaining the dynamics it was explained as in laws. They see each other regularly at agreed times, and attend joint family functions. All family members are involved, and respectable to each other’s boundaries. It’s extended family. It seems strange. It seems like the “My sister is my daughter” scenario..but it isn’t. It’s healthy. It teaches children that love is endless, there’s never enough. It also shows that love does not have bounds. It doesn’t see a birth mothers inability to parent at the time adoption was decided as a downfall, but rather just another way to love her and celebrate her. Celebrate her ability to love so much, that she can understand when someone else is in a better place to parent, and want that for her child.
The last “norm” I want to talk about it the mentally ill, off her rocker birth mom. I mean what sane person would inspire a lifetime movie about wanting to steal her child?! Hello! Cuckoo much?
Well, no sane woman would. I have not met one birth mom that comes out of the situation without any mental scars. When a woman has a support system to remind her she’s loved, those scars aren’t as deep in the area of abandonment. Even though the mother is doing the act of placing the child into adoption, it is a loss. It is a bigger loss when you are 100% alone. When you rip your heart out of your chest, and nobody is there to remind you you’re loved. I feel it’s important to point out types of love. I had friends. A handful of friends that are precious jewels of life. They loved me, they supported me, they were there. My family was not. There’s a love only family can provide. Without that, no matter who loves us, the loss is there. We lose a piece of who we are. I was the girl ALWAYS laughing. I loved to smile, laugh, tell horrible puns, and be incredibly secure in who I was. Adoption changed that in me. I didn’t laugh, I didn’t smile, and I was incredibly insecure. I didn’t feel worthy of love, of happiness, of anything. If I had not had my few friends, my husband, and my grandma I would have been more bat shit than I already went. Your brain can only process so much grief and loss. I got to a point I would have done anything to feel loved, so without my few friends and family actually caring, it’s not that far fetched for me to track down my baby. Which, doesn’t speak on me. My brain was pushed to the max, and I was abandoned by those I needed. Instead of demonizing my primal need for love and security, society should scorn themselves for not normalizing loving and supporting a hurting member of your tribe. Don’t accept your family for what’s acceptable to you, accept them for who they are. Sane women don’t try to steal babies, abandoned women do. Thankfully with semi open and open adoption being the evermore option of adoption plans, these instances are farther and fewer between. No matter what the news tells you.
I’m not saying bad situations don’t happen, or that some adoptions aren’t saving the baby. Some are. That’s a battle not for me. My battle is for birth moms to be seen. Not just the birth moms who society believes we HAVE to be to be in this situation, but the mother we are. The caring, sane, loving, strong and successful women that we are. The only requirement to be a parent is love, the requirements to be a parent who is in a place to raise a child are many, many more. See a birth mother for who she is, she will probably inspire you.