November is National Adoption Month.
I used to think that was awesome, a way to help educate the masses on how great adoption is.
That was then. This is now.
I have mixed feeling about adoption now that I've been through the process twice and have experienced every adoptive parent's nightmare of failed matches, including taking a baby home only to have his mother change her mind a few days later. But this isn't about me, it's about my kids and how they are affected by the decisions that were made for them, in situations where if the system were set up differently, they could have been raised by their first parents. While I don't doubt for a second that under this current system, my kids would have been adopted no matter if we were there or not, I'm not sure it means that everything is copacetic. We have an open adoption with X's first mom and in the last 5 years, I've learned a lot about the pain of a mother who has had to make a sacrifice through no choice of her own. I've seen firsthand how she wants badly to know her child, but every time she sees him, is reminded of the situation she found herself in; is reminded how she was not allowed to be a parent. Baby Z's mother doesn't want to know him except through the removed medium of letters and pictures. The situations are different, the people are different, and the decisions are different, but I venture to guess that the pain is not different. They choose to face it in their own ways.
I love my kids, and my love for my kids has no bearing on my conflicted feelings about how I came to be their parent. That doesn't mean I need to be happy about the system that brought them to us. I can't help but wonder, if adoption hadn't been so easy, would we have children? We would have gone the IVF route if the lure of adopting a baby hadn't been marketed so effectively. Who knows if that would have been successful, and maybe we would have had to accept the fact that we would be a family of 2 plus dog. Adoption marketing permeates our entire society painting the adoptive parent as "saviors" of the children who need families. But how many of those children really need families? They already have families, and often the situations that lead to adoption are temporary.