Dear Ms. Feverfew –
The more reading I do about adoption – birth mother blogs, adoptee blogs, adoptive mother blogs, adoption agency websites, news articles, books, and scholarly journals, the more “head scratchers” I come across. Those unexplained, unexplored paradoxes of adoption rhetoric, kind of like the stuff from the other day about modern progressive scientific thought and Mormonism. You know, those things that just leave you going, “Huh???? Did I really just read that?”
Here’s my most recent head scratcher from the adoption world. These quotes are from a website called “AdoptHelp: Giving the Gift of Family.” In particular, they are from the section for single parents. As in single people who are potential adoptive parents. Not single parents who actually birthed the child. That information is reserved for the section “Pregnant?” This stuff is directed at singles who want to adopt kids.
“Concerns over single parent adoptions should be laid to rest by the many benefits single parents have to offer children in need of a home.”
“Single parents approach parenting adoption with the same commitment and devotion as a married couple. There is no reason to discriminate against a single person for parenting adopting a child when she/he is quite capable of providing a stable and nurturing environment. A single parent can provide a loving and nurturing home for a child. Adoptive single parents use family and friends for extended support. They give their child their full attention and all of their love.”(Strike-throughs my addition.)
“The latest research indicates that children raised in single adoptive parent families compare favorably with other adopted children and show a healthy involvement with friends and family as well as in the activities of their age group.”
So wait a minute…
When I found myself pregnant and single, I was constantly warned of the horrors I would inflict on you if I raised you as a single parent: poverty, abuse, you would be more likely to drop out of high school, abuse drugs, be depressed, you would have fewer social skills, etc., etc., etc. You know, all that research. I was told that if I really loved you, I would relinquish you for adoption and that if I was truly a good parent, I would do what was “best” in your interest.
But this adoption website is saying “the latest research” indicates that single parents aren’t so bad after all so go ahead and adopt – single parents make just as good of parents as married ones.
Now I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, I readily admit, but…I don’t get it. (This is where the head scratching comes into play). It wasn’t OK for me to actually give birth and parent you as a single mother because that would cause irreparable damage to you, but if I had adopted you then it would have been OK?
My intent is not to argue the merits of single parenting mind you (well, actually maybe a bit. It was only 4 year after I relinquished you that my temple marriage to a seminary teacher came apart at the seams and I found myself a single parent all over again. Frankly, I was an incredible mother during that time period of my life, in spite of what that research says. But that is beside the point right now.) What I am trying to point out is that on one hand, this website says, “Single parents are great!!!” but on the other hand, they say to pregnant mothers who are single “You can’t be a good enough parent because you are single.”
The more I read, the more perplexed I become. And as much as I don’t want to admit it, it is becoming more and more apparent that much of infant adoption is driven by money – who has it and who doesn’t. Who can provide a college education for a child and who can’t. Who can take the child to Disneyland and who can’t. And yes – no joke – on one blog I read this morning, who can buy a child a pony and who can’t.
I guess in my defense I just want you to know that every decision, as faulty as it was and as poor as the advice I was given, was based on love for you.
While I can’t undo what has been done or un-close an adoption that was supposed to be open, I can find refuge in the shadow of the cross and in the arms of a loving God. He tells me that today, today I don’t need to unravel the paradox of adoption. Today I just need to know His sure provisions attend me all my days and that today, His mercy and grace are enough.
They are always enough.
Much love and belief,