Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Infertility 101-Ch.6 Adoption Is Not A Humanitarian Act

I'm a nice person. I dare say a fantastic person. I recycle, donate my clothes, money, and on occasion my time. I might not be perfect, but I'm a decent human being. At the very least a moderately conscientious human being. Whatever, the point is there are bigger asses than me in the world, and there are much nicer people than me in the world. All in all I'm pretty mediocre.

Intriguingly though, all my flaws or assets are often hidden under the neon coloured sign of our adoption. I'm convinced I could rob a bank and people would still think of me as a good person. After all, I'm adopting aren't I? There are also those who think I'm satan incarnate off to kidnap children and wear them like handbags. It's a fascinating dichotomy. The sinner and the saint existing under one act. I always preferred to play the villain, so for today I'll challenge myself to venture into my role as adoptive parent aka. Joan of Arc.

I'm not adopting to be nice. I'm not adopting because it's the right thing to do. I'm not even adopting because I can't have biological children. I'm adopting because I feel I have a child in the world who I am meant to find. I am adopting because I want to be a Mom, and this is what feels right for me. This feels right for my family.

When I am told it's nice I want to give a needy child a home, it makes me think my child is going to be looked at like an abandoned puppy. I don't even like the idea of people looking at an animal like that. Don't adopt a puppy because you feel sorry for it. That is such a self congratulatory act. Adopting a child isn't a humanitarian act, and it doesn't make me a good person. All it means at the end of the day is this is how my family is being created.

As an adoptee I have spent a good part of my life being told how lucky I am. I am lucky. I have a wonderful Mom, amazing aunts, uncles, and cousins, and I had the best grandparents you could ask for. I have been blessed. Being adopted though didn't make me lucky. Adoption is essentially being born into hard circumstances and being separated from your family and placed in the care of strangers. Whether I can remember it or not, there is trauma there. I'm not suggesting my life was oh so difficult, but yes, there were challenges. People who were raised with their biological family, have often remarked how lucky I am, when really, I'm apt to think they are the lucky ones in that regard. Again, I'm not saying adoption is the worst thing in the world. I'm just saying when you think about it, would you rather be raised with your biological parents and have access to your medical history, ethnicity, even people who look like you, or with a whole lot of unanswered questions? I don't think it's a hard choice.

Doug recently explained to someone “Adoption is the best case scenario, for a sad situation.” It is a sad situation. There is a lot of loss in adoption. Most importantly adoptees don't choose to be adopted. I hope my child one day feels blessed to have me as a mom, but I don't expect them to feel lucky for everything they went through for that to happen. They will grieve, and I certainly don't want them under the misguided impression that they should just be happy they are not in some dire situation. I am well aware I will not be able to give my child all they will crave. I can not give them their history. I can however give them a future, and I can support them as best I can through their grieving.

Our child will not be a charity case, our child will be a blessing. Our child will be a survivor of things I can't fathom in my spoiled North American upbringing. Our child is not our final act in declaring ourselves good people. There would be much simpler ways of feeling like a 'good person'. I could volunteer in a soup kitchen. I could wash Doug's laundry, and he'd probably start worshiping me for that alone. I am often horrified by the realization my child will be the subject of pity. I dearly hope they will not feel so paralyzed by expected gratitude that they are unable to honestly deal with their anger, frustration, and sorrow of being separated from their biological family. I hope they never feel guilty for acknowledging their own losses.

This is a difficult subject for me tackle, and I'm not sure I'm doing it much justice. The truth is being on both sides of the coin sometimes makes the subject of adoption difficult to articulate. I am so excited to meet my child, and feel so fortunate to have this opportunity, but this is not like donating to Unicef. However our family is created, shaking the roles society deems appropriate on us has been at times overwhelming. I believe we all play the villain and victor in our lives, but I don't believe adopting a child makes me either. It just makes me an expectant mom, waiting to meet my child. That much at least is simple.

J xx


  1. you are going to be a wonderful mom Jessa

  2. Bravo...well said as always!!! .... and me a very excited expectant Grandma!!!

  3. How well written Jessa! I love the way you think things through and put it on paper...well, ok, the computer. Well said.


  4. Our child is lucky to have you.

  5. Aww... Thanks Jen!! That means a lot to me.

    Ruth, thank you so much... This was a tough one, and I was worried about writing it. I'm relieved to know it came across ok!!

    Mom and Doug, I love you both tons.


  6. You are going to be such a fabulous Mom. :)


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