Sunday, July 16, 2006
The Adoption Divide
I attended a pool party yesterday at the home of my friend, Sarah. It was an annual event for biracial families and transracial adoption families. I helped start the organization that holds this event over 10 years ago to socially support such families. As I sat and watched kids of every shade of the rainbow splash around in Sarah's pool, I was reminded how the group was really two groups. One with interracial couples trying to raise their children in a hyper-racially sensitive culture, and one with couples raising adopted Black or bi-racial kids. Each group really has vastly different needs and concerns. I sat next to and chatted with a young couple hoping to adopt a child who wasn't legally cleared for adoption. Their story sounded like a heartbreak waiting to happen. I became more and more uncomfortable listening to thier conversation with other adoption families, getting advice and trading stories. Not because I was pregnant, but because I was a birth mother myself. I was a young college student, and mother of two, who gave my baby up out of a sense of survival. The baby's and mine. I certainly could have had an abortion, but I chose instead to interrupt my life and my children's lives for nine months to grow and birth this baby and make sure to the best of my ability, that he had a good home to go to. It made me uncomfortable to hear them make not unkind, yet somehow judgemental statements about the birth mothers of thier children. Are all birth mothers irresponsible, promiscuous, hard drinking, drug totting, disasters waiting to give birth and dump the kid so they can go back to thier former ways? Thats often the impression I get listening to adoptive mothers. Where is the gratitude? Why the demonization? Perhaps I'm too sensitive on this issue. After all this is one of my issues waiting in the wings to be dealt with. I do feel apart from these women. What have I to offer them? My whole life is devoted to a passion that women who can't or choose not to give birth have no connection to. I don't even know how my message sounds to them. It's not my intent to alienate them, but I'm concerned that I will. Their children will get born some way and they do have a stake (if not a say) in how they get born. This issue is a difficult one for me (especially since I spent so much time in this blog whinning about even being pregnant). There is a distance between adoptive and birth mothers and I don't know how that bridge is gapped.