Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 19: On Adoption: Agreeing to Disagree

I had a friend in high school with whom I lost touch for many years, reconnecting again some time ago.  A lot had changed - she had since given birth to a baby while in college and given him up for adoption, and was currently undergoing radical surgery to save her life from a rare cancer that had spread through many crucial internal organs.  We spent some time together, visiting, corresponding, talking on the phone.  The surgery saw to it that she would never have the energy to be able to re-join the work force, and she was putting her creative energies into positive outlets, like writing and art.  She shared with me her pain in giving up her little boy at his birth, and told me of her attempts to contact him over the years, including a visit to him at his school.  She was convinced that his adoptive family was cruel and emotionally abusive.  Perhaps they were, or perhaps his stories were those so typical of an angry pre-teen who viewed a revocation of his privileges as a serious grievance.  I don't know.

With so much time on her hands as she recovered, she turned to the internet as a source of information and support on why adoption is always bad and how to get your kid back once they have been placed up for adoption.  She sought advice from advocates all over the world and searched legal documents.  I listened as she outlined her plans and voiced her opinions on the evils of adoption.  I couldn't respond.  My baby brother was adopted, given up by his 16-year old birth mother on the day he was born to two wonderful, loving parents, my father and my step-mother.  He was a typical kid growing up, well-adjusted, normal.  I could never speak against something that works

My friend and I drifted apart again, letting a few more years slip by.  We lived several states away from each other.  I was busy with my hectic career in retail.  I had a baby.  I e-mailed her and we reconnected again a year or two ago.  This time, she stated that her son was coming to live with her, and she was putting him through college.  She went off on another diatribe in her message to me about how bad adoption is.  I responded to her that my experience was very different, citing my brother as an example (I don't think I knew about Reece's Rainbow yet at that point).  I felt the desperation in her as she tried to force her point on me and wanted to somehow salvage our friendship, so I suggested that we drop the subject and agree to disagree, moving on with the other aspects of our lives. 

I didn't hear from her again.  I almost wasn't surprised, but not really.  I did contact her again about 6 months ago, hoping she could see past her stubbornness and let it go, but the conversation was strained, and I realized that some efforts are just not worth it when someone else is unwilling to try to make it work.  Her son was, indeed, living with her.  I didn't ask her too much about the details, but she seemed happy with the situation.  I'm glad she is happy.  I'm sad for her negative view on adoption, an institution that really does work.  Not in all cases, but in most.

And I think about Reece's Rainbow, and how many times I have cried looking at the faces of those beautiful, unwanted children, unwanted because of their extra chromosome.  About all of those families with whom I have connected through blogging and Facebook who have brought some of those children home, to loving families, before they could become doomed to an unimaginable life inside an institution somewhere in the world, dying so young of neglect.

I'm willing to agree to disagree, but will not stop hoping that one day she might change her mind and in turn change others' minds.  Perhaps that change of one mind will lead to a change of events that will result in the adoption of even just one child that needed a home, needed a family, needed security and love.  I don't know if she reads my blog.  She might.  I know she had the address at one time.  I hope she does.


tekeal said...

taking deep breaths as i read this...

Ruby's Mom said...

I have an older brother that my Mother gave up for adoption.We got to meet when we were in our thirties and are now very close.He has wonderful,loving,adoptive parents.I'm so thankful to them for loving my brother.My Mother always had horrible guilt about giving him up but at the time it was what she thought she had to do.
I think adoption is beautiful and know several families personaly that have adopted kids and they love them like there own.Maybe sometimes it doesn't work but look at all the times it does.
Great post!

Lacey said...

What a great post. I'm so sad that your friend had a bad adoption experience, and unfortunetly here in the states we are having more problems with birth moms changing their minds sometimes years later and fighting to get their child back! I can't imagine how hard it is to give up a child, but once you have done it, you need to think of the child and leave them alone, you made that decision. And of course I can't help but think of where my sweet girl will end up if we didn't bring her home. Its to horrible to think about!

Jenny said...

One person should not let their bad experience overshadow all the good that comes from adoption...just because their situation didnt work out doesnt mean that ALL adoptions are bad. Adoption is so beautiful and wonderful for so many children and families.
And true friends always know to agree to disagree...just because you are friends with some one doesnt mean you have to share the same views...I hope your friend one day realizes this and you can move past this issue.

Kacey Bode said...

I can imagine that it would be hard to give your child up for adoption and hard live with that decision. Like you said, maybe that child had a poor home life, but maybe not. We don't know. BUT adoption is a wonderful thing. My husband was adopted at birth, his birth mother was a 16 year old girl who wanted to go to college. Chris had a great life, still does, and is very close to his parents (adoptive.) I too look at all those faces on Reece's Rainbow and sob. I wish I had money to adopt, I definetly have the heart to.

Melissa M said...

There are so many times where adoptions are amazing experiences for everyone. Its sad when someone thinks that their experience is the same as everyone elses...RR tugs at my heart too!