My life is a social experiment. Truly. All of the decisions that were made for me about who was best to parent me, where I belonged, and even how I would feel about it, were nothing but a social experiment based on the era when I was born. A social experiment, I might add, that was based on half-truths and social prejudices rather than facts. The funny thing is, I was given up for adoption so that I could be raised in a stable two-parent family, and yet my adoptive parents divorced before I even entered the first grade. So I ended up being raised by a single mother anyway. Only this time, I wasn’t blood-related to her. Then, due to subsequent marriages and divorces, I ended up being the only adoptee in a large family of biological children. And as a result, I now consider myself somewhat of an expert, or “the poster child”, if you will, for being the lone adoptee in a family.
What brought this home to me recently was learning that one of the most well-known leaders of the pro-life movement has recently adopted a child. This pro-life spokeswoman is already the natural mother of several children; an oldest child, then 3 sons born approximately a year apart, and with possibly another baby on the way. In a recent family picture, it is unclear, but it appears that she may be expecting again. I apologize if I got that wrong but, as I said, the picture is rather hazy.
The reason I wouldn’t be surprised if she is expecting again is because one of her platforms is that she is against all forms of birth control. I, on the other hand, am 100% supportive of birth control. There has never been a time in society when only married people were having sex. It just ain’t gonna happen. And even if it were, there is still the risk of divorce (I’m sure everyone is aware of the dismal divorce statistics in this country); and what about disability or even unexpected death? I just cannot support women having baby after baby that they may not be able to take care of. Being against all forms of birth control except the rhythm method for natural family planning is too extreme. I mean, how far does this go? Is every possible conception that doesn’t take place every month considered a loss, something to be mourned? Take, Michelle Duggar (please). Now, I have nothing against Mrs. Duggar. If she wants to subject her body to repeated pregnancies and childbirths, as long as she can take care of the children and provide for them, it is entirely her business how many children she has. But Michelle Duggar is not someone I consider a hero.
So here is what usually happens when parents already have several biological children and then bring an adopted child into the family. The adoptive parents and the bio-kid siblings all say (repeat after me), “We love our adopted family member every bit as much as the biological kids. There is no difference.” Well, that may or may not be true. In my case, it turned out not to be true. My adoptive parents treated me in ways I don’t believe they would ever have treated their natural born children. Yes, I realize I am just one person and that my experience is not across the board. However, the experience of being an adoptee in a family is very different from being a biological child, and that is across the board.
For example, here are some differences. Based on the current laws, I was never even supposed to know who my natural parents were. My bio-kid siblings certainly didn’t have to worry about that! They knew exactly who their natural parents were. They were living with them! Bio-kids also have relationships with their grandparents, so they know exactly where they came from ancestrally. I was the descendant of people I didn’t even know, and was expected to be content with never knowing them. And, in my case, I came from a city over 800 miles away from where I was growing up; while my bio-kid siblings had large numbers of extended family members living close by.
Also, adoptees don’t pretend to be the experts on being raised by one’s natural parents. Yet non-adoptees in a family often assume they are the experts on the adoptee experience, especially the experience of being the lone adoptee. And what happens if the child has problems with being adopted? What if the family can’t accept that? What if, because they ‘love him so much’, they can’t understand what the heck his problem is? Maybe he is hurt by being the only child in the family who doesn’t live with his natural mother, but (if in an open adoption) only has his ‘real’ mother come to visit once in a while–that is, if she doesn’t renege on her promises to remain a part of his life, or if her circumstances don’t change and she is still able to be a part of his life.
In a previous post called Simplifying Adoption, I did suggest that those who are active in the pro-life movement have a moral obligation to adopt a child. But I hope I made it clear that I was referring to a child who truly needed an adoptive home since I couldn’t help but notice that this pro-life advocate trotted out the ‘selfless, heroic and brave’ meme when referring to her new son’s natural mother. Isn’t it interesting how in my day unmarried mothers were considered sluts, morally lax and unfit to parent, while the exact same action–having an untimely pregnancy and giving the child up for adoption–now makes a mother selfless, brave and heroic? Hmm…
So I have to ask: Did this child really need to be adopted? Did the mother really want to keep the baby? Was the mother forced due to circumstances? And furthermore, was she even going to have an abortion? Had she been looking online for abortion providers? Had she made an appointment at Planned Parenthood? Selfless, brave and heroic Catelynn Lowell, one of television’s most popular first mothers, would never have even considered abortion. So, how can anyone say adoption is the better alternative when abortion wasn’t even on the table? As I’ve said before, the idea that an expectant mother can “just give the baby up for adoption” is often akin to jumping from the frying pan into the fire. The mom-to-be better get all her facts and think long and hard before giving her child to strangers.
Well, I sincerely hope that this little boy does well with being adopted into a family of biological children. I hope he never feels like too much of an outsider. Only time will tell.