Your One That Got Away
In many of the little moments and all of the big ones, I think about your first mothers. They both said they chose adoption out of love. They both said "I'm not able to be the mother I want my child to have. You are.”
At the time, the words sounded right. It made sense that these young, unwed women - one in high school, one just out - weren't ready to parent, and I - a married, college-educated, fully adult woman longing to be a mother - was. I was honored by their trust. I felt we were partners. I vowed to be the mom neither of them could. We were in this thing together. Go us!
The lens has changed so much since then. Now I can't get past "I'm not able to be the mother I want my child to have" without wondering, Why? Is there no one who can help you? What about your family? A social worker? Aren't their resources available to help you to raise this child you grew in your body? Did anyone confirm your right to parent? Did anyone let you know that other young women in difficult situations have done it? Did anyone offer to help make that happen?
At the time it didn't even occur to me to wonder. Everything was handled by the agency. They were the experts, right? They had counselors and case workers and years of experience that I didn't have. Even if I had thought of it, I doubt I would have questioned the decision. I would have thought it was out of line for me to probe or second guess another woman's decision.
I did ask both your first mothers if they were sure this was what they wanted, and I believed them when they said yes. And maybe it was what they wanted. Maybe they're still happy with their decisions. I hope so. Not all first mothers/fathers want to raise their children, and that's for them to decide. But it's impossible to choose an option you don't know exists. I wonder if anyone asked them if they wanted to raise their children.
Did anyone explore their reasons for wanting to make an adoption plan? Or was it taken on faith that a young teen - not old enough to drive or see an R-rated movie; one who required a parent or guardian's signature to take a class trip out of the county, get her ears pierced, obtain a library card, get a cavity filled, ride a friend's school bus home, opt-out of a state exam, volunteer at the animal shelter, attend overnight camp, or join a softball team - was fully capable of making one of the most monumental decisions of her life?
Believe me, I know I'm late to the dance here. I know I'm not the first or even the thousandth to recognize that there are FAR more resources and FAR more pressure directed toward getting women (young women, especially) to make an adoption plan than to figure out how to raise their child.
But I'm the one who adopted these children; and one of them is now almost the same age as her first mom was, and I can.not imagine her anticipating or understanding the long-term ramifications of such a decision, especially in the throes of post-partum hormonal hell.
I'm not in the "adoption is evil" camp. It's one option, and for some people, it's the right option. But it should be one of many options; not a default.