One Theory on the Adoption Option
Often when I hear people discuss adoption, it’s followed by a litany of other unsuccessful options before arriving at this conclusion. It’s a last resort to many, right before giving up completely. As an adoptee, this tugs at my heart for a brief second. I too was a last choice. My parents used to tell me if it weren’t for my mom becoming pregnant and their decision to cancel the order for a newborn girl at the adoption agency, they wouldn’t have gotten me. My mom suffered yet another miscarriage and they reinstated their order at the back of the line. So, I have the added bonus of being a double last choice.
Unfortunately there’s still shame attached to a woman who gives a child away – and men feel it too if they’re man enough to admit it. But all these years later, with advances in open adoption, shame is still a component. Why?! Unless you’re surrogate, giving away a child doesn’t feel good, and hormones can force even the most unattached individual to feel a sense of loss. As for the baby, abandonment issues are real and inevitable no matter how loving a home you are placed into. Not too long ago I saw an incredible story about a sperm donor that made me wish he was my birth father.
I was conceived the old fashioned way – teens in the back seat of a car. But this guy on 60 Minutes donated over 400 times to his local sperms-r-us bank to help pay his way through college. He’s now an adult who is an executive at Google and (so far) has 22 children, plus a couple of his own. The number of potential children he could have is in the 900’s. But the coolest, most admirable part is he welcomes every single child into his life who wants to connect with him. This is possible through the sibling registry for donor-children. How awesome is that. The registry zaps the shame when siblings can reunite and validate each other. Sign me up.
Unfortunately it’s not available for someone like me who was part of closed adoption. And while most days I can live with not knowing my full biological history, when I see shows like 60 Minutes demonstrating a happy and healthy bunch of young adults who are stronger as a unit, I feel short-changed. If a man who helped create all of these beautiful children via a cup can rise above shame, why can’t everyone else?
I get it. On the one hand, sperm and egg donation is not a last option for some and typically one person of the couple will have a genetic imprint to the baby. It takes out half of the unknowns. Let’s face it, sometimes an adopted child, like myself, can be a crap shoot. But what if pride could replace shame, and hope could replace fear, and curiosity could replace condemnation?
We can do this in baby steps, pardon the pun, and maybe someday adoption won’t be a last choice and people won’t feel bad about it and kids won’t grow up with a sense of loss. This is my hope.
Missed last week’s Random Thoughts? Check it out here.