Thursday, February 4, 2010

My First Encounter With an Angry Adoptive Parent

On January 1, 2010 I posted in my status update on Facebook this statement:

"Warning: this status update could be construed as offensive. To all those infertile couples out there who think adoption is a good solution, did you maybe consider that God made you infertile ON PURPOSE?!? Maybe you're not MEANT to parent?!?"

A month later, February 1, 2010, I received in my inbox on Facebook the following private message. My reply is below. I have yet to receive an answering message in return. Please note that the names of the letter writer and his wife are deleted out by my choice to protect their privacy, since they privately messaged me. While I understand that simply posting this to my blog may seem contrary to the spirit of privacy the letter writer intended, I feel that the points she makes and I rebut should be made public in order to help all in the Adoption Triad understand the difficulties in communication on all three sides of the triangle.

"you don't know me but I am Xxxxx' wife. I feel since you are putting your feelings out in a public forum that I can do the same, but a little more tastefully than you.
We respect anyone for having passion about what they believe in but we are very offended about your comment regarding people who can't have children naturally not being meant to have a child, through adoption either. I am unable to have children but i don't believe God would want me to let that get in the way of sharing our good values, morals and unending amount of love to a child who needs it. Anyone can give birth to a child but it doesn't earn then the right to be called a earn that title.
Xxxxx is the greatest father to our adopted son and I can't imagine our son missing out on that just to stay with his abusive, gang member, drug using birth mother who us tax paying citizens are paying for because she is in jail.
We feel very sad for you. you sound like a very bitter person with lots of issues and maybe you need to take some of your own advise, when you made the idiotic statement about God not giving some people the ability to have children because you are not meant to have have children.....well did you ever stop to think that maybe God doesn't want your birth parents to know you or that maybe you don't deserve to know them!
just putting our feelings out there also."

My Response:

"Dear Mrs. Xxxxxxxx,

I appreciate that my comment was offensive, generally speaking. I was venting some of my feelings in as safe a public forum for me as possible. My comment was not directly aimed AT you. The anger you sense in me is from the community at large believing that simply because a woman is poor and/or young that she will make a bad mother. Being poor and being young are not crimes, nor are they permanent situations in life. This country has a love affair with adoption that sickens me because of the sense of entitlement many prospective adoptive parents feel concerning young and poor pregnant women. There is a broad paint brush sweeping type attitude that if you are either of these things, then automatically you should not, cannot mother your child; and to me, that is plain wrong.

When Xxxxx added me as a friend, I looked through his pictures, and saw the photos that were taken of the official adoption of your son, and I was happy for him, and for you and your son. It looked like a very happy day for your family. I will admit that I was under the impression that your son was biologically yours, Mrs. Xxxxxxxx, but for some reason his biological father wasn't in the picture and Xxxxx stepped in. I was unaware that you were unable to have children biologically.

I understand that not every single person who has a child, biologically speaking, is capable or fit to raise that child. I feel very badly that your son has a birth mother who is a burden on our society, but I am pleased to know that he has adoptive parents who love him, care for him, and are providing a warm and secure home. That's what ever child deserves.

That being said, not every child who grows up in an adoptive home has the benefits that you are providing for your son. I am a survivor of incest from a very early age for many years by my adoptive brother. Does incest happen in biological families? Of course, so I understand that simply because I'm adopted that doesn't make my situation unique to adoption. It is what it is.

As far as "tasteful" goes, if you read my status update saying that, you may have read the replies to it and there are many of my Facebook friends that feel the same way I do, and in fact feel even stronger about it than I. That same week I posted in my status a question about what my FB friend's general opinion was of step parents adopting their spouse's children, and got very much the same response as the original post. However, I would love to see my fiance adopt my children from another marriage because he is more of a father to my kids than the man who provided the sperm for them.

I cannot, however, agree with your belief that "you earn that title" as far as being a parent goes. My next statement will more than likely be viewed as offensive, though it is not intended as such; however, I have found that the majority of people who make that statement are adoptive parents who are insecure due to their lack of inability to biologically procreate. When I say that, these are my experiences, nothing more, nothing less. That being said, not only am I an adopted person, but I am also a birth mother. I was a mother the moment I found out I was pregnant with my first son. You wouldn't tell a woman who had a miscarriage that she was never a mother. You would sympathize with her loss, grieve with her, and offer your condolence, but you would never be so rude as to say that she was never a mother. So why is it any different than a woman who lost a child to adoption? I carried my son for over nine months in my body; I loved him, cherished him, nurtured him with my own body. I cared for him when we were in the hospital while I recovered from my c-section. I agonized over what would be the best choice for him; raising him or to place him for adoption. How are my feelings any less than yours as a mother of an adopted child? Does the fact that I was manipulated into giving my ONLY flesh and blood up for adoption mean that I wasn't a mother?

Perhaps to you it does. But to me and to literally millions of other women, it doesn't. We ARE mothers. We are mothers who LOST our children to adoption. Do we grieve any less than the mother who had a miscarriage? NO. But by societies standards and expectations, we are not allowed to grieve our loss. We are told that you should just get on with your life, you did the noble deed, you gave the gift of life. Collectively, that's a slap in the face of each one of us because you can't carry a life inside of you for that long and just walk away with no repercussions. Children are not gifts to give away.

Does this make me bitter? To some extent, it does, because giving my child to another couple to raise was the worst decision of my life. It was the best decision for my son, but on a purely selfish note, that doesn't help me one bit. I am overjoyed that my son was raised in a household that could afford two houses, vacations all over the country every year, a private school. These were things that I couldn't give my son at that time in my life. He is one of the lucky adoptees because he had these material things as well as a wealth of love. That doesn't mean that I didn't love him with all my heart, and that doesn't mean that I would have been a bad mother. I was simply a young, poor mother.

Beyond that, I'm not a bitter person, regardless of what you interpret from what you read in just my status updates. I am a very happy, passionate person who is full of love and joy and wonderment at the world around her, especially with my children that I've been blessed enough to raise.

All that aside, I have a few last things I would like to say. I would strongly urge you to research "the other side of adoption"; educate yourselves with books like "The Primal Wound", "The Girls Who Went Away", and "Not Remembered, Never Forgotten". Please take the time to find out about specific issues concerning adopted children and the trauma adoption can cause. I urge you to do this for your son's sake. He may have questions, concerns that you simply cannot be aware of unless you have educated yourself in these matters. It will strengthen the bond you and your son have. Not every child experiences adoption trauma in the same way, some may never even experience the trauma. But it would be better to aware of the possibility that it may arise, rather than be caught unawares.

I realize, for the most part, that you are simply regurgitating my words back at me due to the pain you allowed them to cause yourself, but my reply to you is that every child, every person deserves to know where they come from. They deserve to know their genetic heritage, their cultural heritage, their medical background, and the people they come from (extending beyond abusive parents to generations preceding them). So, yes, I deserve to know my birth parents. And if God didn't want me to know my birth parents, then I wouldn't have found them. But find them I did, and they love me and accept me and welcome me with open arms.

The last thing is, I never wrote that comment/status update to offend you specifically. However, you took it personally, and directly attacked me instead of explaining your position and asking me for a clarification of mine. If you wish to continue a conversation in a civilized manner, I welcome the chance. But I will not allow myself to be directly attacked in this manner again, especially over a comment that was a very sweeping generalization in a forum that is my "safe place". I do apologize if my comment invaded your "safe place" because that was not my intention, but I do not apologize for my comment. If Xxxxx wishes to block me from his friends list, that is his prerogative, and I won't argue with it. I have fond memories of Xxxxx from high school. He was one of the few people I knew during high school that was always nice to everyone, never had a harsh word, and was fun to be around. Nothing can change my memory of him that way. But I'm a grown woman that doesn't need to hang on to old high school memories in order to fulfill my life now.

I wish your family all the happiness, blessings and joys that life can bring.

Warm Regards, "

And I signed my full name.

Due to the nature of the people who are on my list of friends on Facebook, the comments to my original status update were overwhelmingly supportive of my statement. However, I will only post my replies to my friends comments in an effort to maintain my friend's privacy. The reason I am re-posting these are to illustrate the seeming fact that the original letter writer chose not to further read, and thus making the mistake of achieving full understanding of my true position regarding the place of infertile couples in the role of adoption. On four separate occasions during the time that status update was there, not only did I state I was venting, but also that there ARE terrific adoptive parents in the world; and I posted at least twice that I was NOT specifically speaking to any one single person or couple.

comment 1)
"Even if my group of friends is a closed group, I had to say this at least once, publicly, "out loud" if you will. I really don't want to offend anyone, and I know this could be considered really, really rude, but it is honestly how I feel. I won't apologize for how I feel, but I will apologize if this hurt "your" (anyone who thought it was rude) feelings. That's not my intentions. I just felt I had to get it out."

comment 2)
"I know there are terrific adoptive parents "out there", and I completely understand their desire to have children any way they can. I just can't help but feel there's a reason why they're infertile."

comment 3)
I've always said: "you have to have a license to drive a car... you should have to have one to raise a child."

I won't argue that some people wouldn't benefit from that! And that there are some people who have children that just shouldn't have ever become parents. That's not my decision to make, tho. I'm just venting a bit right now."

comment 4)
"I hope you read my subsequent posts (and it looks like you and I posted at the same time, but I'll restate it here; I am mostly just venting). I KNOW it is offensive, and I DO feel sorry for people that struggle with infertility. And I DO know that there are terrific, wonderful adoptive parents out there and horrible, awful natural parents out there.

And ultimately, it isn't MY decision one way or the other. Plus, I cannot dictate to people how to live their lives. I KNOW that.

MY anger comes in where couples that want to adopt begin to take on this attitude that they're ENTITLED to someone elses child simply because that person is poor and single. And as they go along in this suffering through infertility, all they begin to see is all these horrible unwed mother's who abuse their children...and they see NOTHING ELSE.

Mostly, what I needed to do was to "vomit" this out; get it out of my system. While this wasn't a "knee jerk" reaction to those types of people, it IS the other extreme to those couples who see young, poor pregnant women as incubators.

I'm not aiming that comment to any one specific person, so I hope you can step back from this and see it in how I explained. As I said previously, I won't apologize for how I feel, but I am sorry if I hurt someone else's feelings. My intent wasn't to offend, merely to vent."


  1. Well I'm adopted. I don't think that there is a "reason" that infertile women are infertile. As in the reason that they shouldn't have a child.
    I do think that is mean.
    There ARE biological mothers out there ( I see them with my own two eyes) who should NEVER have had children. EVER.
    But they do.
    I believe that like anything else in our bodies , fertility is just another "part of us" and you either have it or you don't. Like Cancer. WE ALL have the genes but only some people (well one in two now :( ) genes will mutate into BAD = Cancer.

    I do however believe that for SOME infertile people environment plays a big part.
    Infertility is on the rise ... why is that ?

    Well I guess some people will say its Gods way of stemming the population ! like some people say about poor countries that are overpopulated and have massive floods, cyclones, fires , earthquakes and other things that take out hundreds of thousands of their people!

    Life SUCKS. We all have our crosses to bear

    and maybe just maybe if we were all nicer to each other we might get through it a lot happier.

    But everyone is all about Me me me me....

    Said with Love Dana... none of this was directed to you.. I am just so sick of everyone. I'm sick of everyone fighting, and hurting one another. I'm sick of no one understanding any one. I am sick of how the world is getting worse day by day...

    I sit and worry daily how its going to be for my babies :(

    A Very tired Jane x

  2. Thanks for reading my post Jane. I didn't sense any attack from you, concerning this. You never do (at least from what I've seen).

    As I pointed out by reposting my comments from the original FB post, I was primarily venting my frustration over the sense of entitlement that Prospective Adoptive Parents have concerning young and poor pregnant women.

    To be honest, I don't believe any human is capable of knowing God's Will.

  3. Just as an update; the couple above NEVER responded to my letter; however, the mister in the family hasn't blocked me, either.