Tonight I felt like I needed to post something I wrote about in one of my adoption groups recently. It is about the term “gave up a child for adoption” that I wish would never be used. I wish that people would use the term, “placed a child for adoption”. Here is why.
(Also, I am writing this to birth mothers/adoptive mothers, but this applies to birth/adoptive fathers and birth families as well).
I had a hard time when people would compare the loss of a child to adoption. I would get pretty upset because I was with families all of the time who had lost their child (I volunteered to take pictures of stillborn babies at the hospitals). What these families wouldn’t GIVE to see their child again, see them breathe, watch them grow up, etc. I felt like it wasn’t the same at all. Then I discovered it wasn’t really about the loss of the child in adoption, but the loss of so many other things. Everyone grows up with a dream about how their life will go. When it doesn’t go the way we planned it, we have to give up that dream and create another one.
As a birth mother you give up the opportunity to be that child’s mother. You give up watching so many firsts, seeing that child everyday, etc. You give up your dream about how your life was supposed to be. Everyone’s story is different, but everyone gives up opportunities that come with being a mother to that child.
As an adoptive mother you have to give up on the dream of having a biological child. You give up feeling that baby move and grow inside you, watching them come literally out of your body and when you see them, seeing all of those physical characteristics that just look like you and instantly bond you as their parent. You give up being the only mother in this child’s life and will forever share that with another woman. (I don’t mean co-parenting, but I do mean that that birth mother is forever in your thoughts, even in a closed adoption, when your child does anything*).
*In my situation whenever Alayna does something funny, says a new word, etc, I always think about Lauren and how I need to tell her about it, record it for her, etc. There is NEVER a day where she isn’t part of my thoughts, and to be very honest, sometimes that is hard. Adoption is hard. Sometimes I want to be selfish and just enjoy moments without having to share them or feel like I should. I give that up pretty quickly though because I do love Lauren so much and want to share it with her. I think one of the hardest things about adoption is that the things you GIVE UP are forever. You will forever be giving up things that weren’t in your perfect dream life. But by giving these things up, you grow and change in ways you never thought possible. You find out that you can love more than you ever thought you could and more people than you thought you could.
On both sides of adoption, there is a lot of “giving up”. The reason I don’t like the term when it is used about talking about the child is that no one, on either side, is “giving up” on this child. They had to give up a lot of dreams they had, but because they choose to give them up, they are GIVING this child so much more. So maybe it is really just that little word “up” that throws the whole thing into a negative connotation for me. I love that in adoption there is so much GIVING.
As a birth mother you GIVE life. You GIVE that child a family. You GIVE unconditional love. You GIVE part of your heart that will never feel whole. You GIVE another mother a part of her heart that was always missing.
As an adoptive mother you GIVE unconditional love. You GIVE part of your heart to another mother. You GIVE a life and a family to this child.
So in adoption, although there was a lot of things you had to give up, please NEVER GIVE UP! Much love, Terra