Saturday, July 03, 2010


You know, this really annoys me. Both as an adoptee, and as an adult who tries to be moral and responsible.

Most of the time, I love being a parent. ;-) Most of us grow up imagining parenthood, and I have a lot of compassion for those who find out one day that biological parenting just isn't in the cards for them. I feel their pain, I really do.

I had two children with my first husband, when I was really young. Both were born with supposed genetic developmental disabilities. Although I was ok (yes, a relative term), I had no medical history for anything.

My guys and I went through genetic testing, mostly because my former in-laws were reluctant to provide information ("there's nothing wrong with US! It's YOU, you Bastard!") At the time, genetic testing only identified about 17% of known disabilities, and we were cleared.

Back in the day, before they became de jour, any kind of learning disability or cognitive issue was rather taboo and a cause for shame. After our divorce, my ex and his sister went on to be tested for issues later on, both because it might explain some of the problems they had while growing up that their parents ignored, and because my ex's children from his second family were having problems.

When I met my current hubby (we've been together 18 years!) I made it clear that unless I found my biological family and got a medical history, I didn't feel like it would be a moral or responsible thing to do to have more children that could possibly be born with developmental disabilities. Before anyone squawks about it, I have to explain that I just didn't feel it would be fair to my guys to have to divide the care they would need into adulthood in an extensive way, especially since my Little Guy would need lifelong assistance. Our love is infinite, but our resources aren't.

Hubby loved me enough to marry me anyway, and to take on my guys as his.

I found my birth family 8 years ago, and yes, there are some possible genetic issues. We decided not to have any biological children together, which has been really painful for me. I loved being pregnant, and Hubby's a wonderful Dad.

So I get the pain, I do. And somewhat the desperation of wanting to parent (aka Baby Rabies).

What I DON'T get, and have little patience for is:

Prospective adoptive parents who are so desperate for a child, any child, that they will take on and invest themselves---emotionally and financially---with a baby who is not actually legally free to be adopted.

KNOWING that both parents haven't signed off on the adoption, they take temporary possession and then refuse to give the baby up, desperately dragging it on for months, or even years, figuring that "possession is 9/10ths of the law", only to have to give the baby up to (usually) the biological father who has never given consent for relinquishment in the first place and has been trying to establish his parental rights.

Then the prospective adoptive parents cry to the media (knowing that the baby was never legally free, but thought that their two-parent and/or more affluent status would win them the day) that the child will be traumatized by being ripped from their happy home.

Yeah, probably so. But whose fault IS it? Who dragged it out, knowing that both parents didn't sign off? Who cared more about themselves than the child? Adoption is about finding a home for a child who needs a family, not about finding a child for someone who wants one.

And if they win the day, how will they eventually explain to their child that one of the biological parents didn't want to "abandon" him/her, but fought to keep him/her? That their desire to be parents trumped a child's right to be a part of their family of origin, just because the adoptive parents had more money or a better attorney?

That shit really pisses me off.


Webster said...

Yeah, it pisses me off, too. No explanation will fully answer the future questions of these children. It exposes the problems inherent in our foster system. Oh, la.

You are one good Mom AtM.

CiCi said...

Sounds like your husband is a pretty great man. I've never had any close contact with adopting but the phrase in your post that stands out to me is "Adoption is about finding a home for a child who needs a family..." I so agree with that. The child must be kept top priority whether in foster care or adoption.

ntsc said...

In 1976, when I gained sole custody of my son, there were less than 5000 men in the country in that status. It was unheard of for a single father to raise a child. So unheard of that my family advised me against it.

Even today when male custody and joint custody are far more common, most people think it is the mother's choice, that the father doesn't enter into it.

When he entered school, my then girlfriend not only was inducted into the PTA but was elected secretary. She is now my wife of almost 30 years and his adoptive mother.

There were serious developmental problems, 5+ years in a children's residence, but my wife never wavered. I've often wondered why.

Your blog helps sustain me in facing the fact that not all children are Wally and the Beaver.

gayle said...

I totally agree with you!! These things should not be happening!!

Jeanie said...

Doc, my husband-like person, has a daughter with Downs Syndrome and his ex-wife's family always blamed him.
I agree with you that adoption needs to be about the childs needs, not those of the adoptive parents.

Anonymous said...

I laughed when I read "Baby Rabies." But I hear your anger loud and clear. There are laws for a reason, they need to be obeyed no matter HOW rich you are or HOW good your intentions are.

Jennifer Leeland said...

I read those stories and I never know HOW to feel. Everyone is in so much pain and there's never a really good solution.
I always back slowly away, realizing I am unable to "take sides".
That's not true.
I'm usually on the kid's side, but then, it's not always clear about "the best interests" stuff.
Well meaning people with good intention. The road to painful Hell is paved with them.
Me, being one of them.

Brenda said...

It pisses me off too cause there's never a winner in these situations and the child is always on the losing end in some way.