I’m recently returned from a fabulous weekend with my daughter, Joy. We celebrated our birthdays, sharing our loves and opening up our hearts a little more, truly breaking new ground. Each experience we share, whether silly, painful, mundane, sweet or revealing is a blessing to me and adds to my awareness, adds to me, adds to my awareness of God in me and in her.
We were mulling over another family’s adoption experience. Thinking of a woman I don’t know, but I’m putting myself in her place, trying to figure out how life works. Due to unknown, private circumstances, this woman relinquished her first born to an infertile, Jesus loving couple. It’s an ‘open adoption’– an ‘ethical adoption’. So for the past couple years, this woman has been living in what I imagine as a form of hell. I can only try to imagine. I only know the devastation of relinquishment. I don’t know how one copes with the continuing relinquishing — watching someone else ‘better suited’ mothering my own child.
So I try to imagine what could possibly justify this action? Perhaps she’s really only a princess, maybe just fifteen or sixteen at the birth of her second child? Maybe she’s a princess in a tower, with keepers who beat her on a regular basis and would surely beat her infant? (Maybe we should call CPS.) Maybe it’s incest? (Again with the social services.) Or perhaps she’s so strung out on drugs that she couldn’t possibly give adequate care to an infant? Maybe her family, which is ‘better off’ than the adopting family is doing all that they can to assist her. Maybe she’s seriously mentally ill and not able to care for herself or her children? Maybe she’s living in an abusive and/or neglectful home? What are the ‘few valid reasons for a woman to place her baby for adoption’?
The really crappy thing is what does giving her children away do? How does it help her children? How could it improve her situation? I guess you can say it’s private and really ‘ethical’ (whatever ethical means), but whatever it is, it’s got to be pretty FU.
I know what the message that I wasn’t good enough to raise my daughter meant to me. It’s a hard one to overcome. How does one deal with a world in which one isn’t ‘good enough’ for one’s own flesh and blood? Who is telling her that? I know I rejected the world that judged me unworthy.
This woman who was so disadvantaged in the first place, that she was unable to keep and care for her firstborn child, has been further wounded by the ongoing loss of this child. Now she is facing a doubling of that loss. How will this equip her to ‘explain’ to these children as they grow up, how they were rejected by their original family? Where is she to gain the strength to overcome this message of unworthiness, of rejection, of betrayal that is so important it is being repeated?
How does someone stand by this mother and say, ‘Here, I’ll help. Let me take these children from you. I’ll care for them and keep them safe, over on the other side of the continent, because I REALLY like babies. And these two match! Even though I’m angry that you got in the same situation again and angry you didn’t take better care of yourself after your first loss; I really respect you and your ability to survive this kind of trauma. We’ll tell the kids it was the best we could do. It is surely someone else’s fault.’?
All things come from God. All things. This is a tough one for me.