Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why would anyone choose that?

Yesterday I saw yet another story of a young man who decided that dying was preferable to living because being gay in our world was too much for him to bear. Every day gay and lesbian teens and adults are bullied, insulted, beaten, ostracized, shunned and shamed by their friends and families and yet we call it a "chosen" lifestyle. Why in the hell would anyone choose to live a life like that? Why would anyone choose to be brutalized by society and it's attitudes? Why would anyone choose to be treated as less than a person worthy of respect and dignity? I didn't choose to be heterosexual. I didn't just wake up one day and decide hmmmm..... men or women? I think I'll like men today. It's just who I am so why is it so hard for others to understand that being gay isn't a choice either. The pain of being treated with such disdain for simply being who you are must be terrible. I imagine, for some, the pain of hiding and not living an authentic life eventually becomes greater than the pain of being open and honest about who you are so it then becomes time to let people see the truth regardless of how those people will respond.

This brings me to adoption and mothers of adoption loss. A comment on one of my recent posts was...

"How can anyone believe that we would have knowingly and willingly signed up for this?"

So the same questions I asked about being gay could be asked about mothers who surrender babies for adoption. We supposedly made a choice, right? Why in the hell would anyone choose to live a life like this? Why would a mother choose to live without her child? Why would she allow strangers to raise her baby? Why would a mother choose to be brutalized by society and it's attitudes? We were treated as less than people worthy of respect and we still are in many circles. How many times have we seen comments from people that tell us that we deserved to lose our children because we didn't keep our legs closed? How many times do we hear that the "birthmothers" must have been drug addicted, she probably didn't even know who the father was, if she keeps the baby it'll just end up in a dumpster or in foster care. How many women would go into a so-called open adoption knowing that the adopters could close it at any moment, knowing that they could suddenly be shut out of their child's life for a minimum of 18 years? Why would anyone choose that and why is it so freakin' hard for people to understand that we didn't? Why can't they understand that expectant moms still really aren't choosing it?

I hear and see people all the time talking about the horrible pain of a disrupted adoption, how awful it is to lose a baby that they thought they were going to adopt. Everyone consoles them, tells them how sorry they are and how they're going to pray for them. What do they do then? They get over it fairly quickly as they move on to the next available adoption situation baby as soon as one is presented to them. At the same time there's the adoption agency telling pregnant women that if they love their babies, they'll give them to strangers to raise. I was told I would be selfish if I kept my baby. Aren't women still told this very same thing when they're strongly and repeatedly encouraged to do the "brave and loving" thing? Pregnant women aren't told about the lifelong grief they'll experience because then they're not likely to sign up for that. Instead they're told that they'll be sad for a while. I was sad for a while when my cat died. I can tell you that being sad for a while isn't even in the same universe with losing a child to adoption.

Pregnant women aren't told about the likelihood of adoptive parents closing an open adoption. They aren't told that the open adoption agreement isn't legally enforceable. They aren't told that their child may suffer from feelings of abandonment regardless of how loving their adoptive family is. They aren't told that there are no guarantees that the baby's adoptive family will remain intact, or they won't have financial problems, or won't have substance abuse problems, or won't abuse their children. Of course they're not told any of these things because then, why would they sign up for that?!

They say (before the adoption consent form is signed) that "birthmothers" are brave and selfless. We weren't brave, we were beaten down. Today mothers aren't being brave, they're being coerced. Later when a mother wakes up to what happened to her and her baby and she finally understands that she was exploited for the sale of her infant, she's called bitter and angry if she dares to speak up. Sorry, no consolation or empathy for you. Her voice is shut down. She's banned and blocked from public forums because the general populace doesn't want to hear it. Too many mothers are still hiding from the shame that was imposed on them. They not only have to face their past but then they have to face what people will say about them now and in the future.

As more people come out of the closet, whether they be gay or mothers of adoption loss, the more our voices can be heard. If we get loud enough, maybe, eventually, some minds will be opened, some hearts will find compassion and we can end this tragedy known as infant adoption.