My understanding of the intention behind this month is that this is a vehicle to draw attention to the need for foster families and foster to adopt families. Some enterprising souls have also dedicated the month to "promote positive perceptions and debunk myths" about adoption. I acknowledge the value of these goals. I, too, long to see every child in a loving, supportive home. And as an adoptive mother I hate the stupid stereotypes I see daily about everyone in the adoption triangle: first parents, adoptees and adoptive parents.
But. But there is another awareness that needs promoting. Problem is, there's no happy spin on this one, so you won't see it on glossy brochures or TV ads. It is the awareness that adoption means that somewhere along the way something went very, very wrong.
Plainly, babies are meant to be with their mamas. Their first mamas, their natural mamas. And mamas are meant to have all their basic needs met: need for safety, good food and shelter, a supportive, loving environment. In any situation where you find a baby removed from the arms of their natural mama, consider it a giant red flag.
To me, the prevalence of adoption is a signal of how messed up our world is. The poverty, shame and ignorance that propels many incidents of children being relinquished is just wrong. The shame, greed and manipulation that drives the removal of babies from their mamas by controlling family members and conniving adoption works is beyond wrong. Adoption is a devastating symptom of the severity of global illness.
So I'm promoting this awareness about adoption - that at its core, it's wrong. There should be no place in our world for the separation of baby and mama.
Just to be clear, I in no way support anyone who promotes the idea that there is something bad or wrong about the mothers who relinquish their children, whatever their motivation (hurt, yes. wrong, no). Similarly I'll rail against anyone who suggests there is something wrong with adoptees or foster children (hurt, yes. wrong, never). What I am communicating here is that our entire culture is mixed up in a system that is at it's core deeply perverse.
So I've waited until the end of Adoption Awareness Month to write about it. Because of this on-going internal conflict:
- To my core, I believe babies belong with their mamas. Regularly I ask myself am I doing my part to help effect the change that will keep them together?
- Right now somewhere there is a baby who, for the evils of this world, needs a mama. Do I continue to grow my family through adoption, all the while weeping and angry for the need of it?
Here are some resources for a new understanding about adoption.
- Bastard Nation's Adoptee Rights website
- Nancy Verrier's article on the effects of separating baby from mama
(and a fascinating rebuttal)
- Ethica - A Voice for Ethical Adoptions
- Pact - my favorite adoption support resource