This guest post was written by a Lifetime adoptive mother who adopted a baby girl last year, along with her husband.
“It’s National Adoption Month. I’ve had a lot on my mind. And I’ve tried to do my due diligence at reading/listening to all members of the domestic private adoption triad. Here’s what I’ve learned…
The adoptee doesn’t want to be told to be thankful. She lives with a label she can’t hide from and a shadow of what the unknown could have been like.
Birth mom doesn’t want to be told what a selfless and sacrificial decision she made. She may live with guilt and grief, and despise the adoptive parents because she feels like a doormat. Only getting contact to check off the box of what they owe her…
We haven’t heard from our birth mom since our daughter was six weeks old. I can’t help but wonder how she is. I send her a lengthy email every two months, update pictures in a Google share folder, and send text pictures randomly. No response. I gave her permission to tell me to be more frequent, or less frequent – but no response. I miss her. I care about her. I wish I knew how to help her.
Our daughter is great! She loves her family, and we love her. This is a journey, and in 10 years there will be much more to say about how she is – how she has come to accept her heritage. My prayer for her is that adoption would not define her, that she wouldn’t let it be her sole identity. But rather, through this experience she would become an advocate for families. An advocate for children.
My husband is a pastor. We work with a lot of children and adolescents. There are so many difficult situations our kids are dealing with – living in. Step parents are cruel, moms are in jail, dads and boyfriends are abusive, and children beg for food, I could go on. This is really difficult to say without sounding judgmental, or proud – so please hear this carefully. 18 years is a long time for a child to live in turmoil. When I think about our daughter’s birth family, the writing on the wall tells me she would have been living among unstable and non-committal relationships. Her birth mom found herself in a very sticky situation, bless her heart. I have full forgiveness and mercy for her. And for our daughter’s sake, I’m so thankful she chose adoption. I’m not sure what her motives were. Whether she realizes it or not, she saved our daughter from a slew of messy and quite possibly abusive relationships. She gave her stability and full acceptance. She’s no longer an accident, a mistake, an ex-girlfriend’s other child, a half-sister, or a girlfriend’s daughter. This is an identity she does not have to live with! And I am so THANKFUL for her sake. She is a daughter, a sister. No strings attached.
This is also difficult to say, because I don’t want to exclude single adoptive moms – or cast judgement on single parents. I simply want to say, that on top of what I’ve already said about the gift our daughter’s birth mom gave her, she gave her a DAD. Had she stayed with her birth family, in 15 years she may have been saying to her pastor, like many have said to us in tears, ‘I don’t have a dad.’ They call mom’s boyfriend dad, but he’s not their dad and next month he could be gone. Their siblings’ dad babysits them, but he’s not their dad, and everyone knows it. Our daughter has a dad, and he’s not going anywhere.
The gospel has incredible healing power. And I believe God changes lives. I would 100% support a single woman with an unplanned pregnancy who wanted to parent, because I believe God can turn our mess into something beautiful. He is the God of restoration. But the road isn’t easy. Quoting the title of an excellent book, the Christian life is “a long obedience in the same direction.” Although this next part grieves me, I’ve also learned to accept that not every birth mom is ready for the long obedience that will transform her mess into a beautiful story. And so I praise God for those birth moms who choose adoption. And I also praise God for bringing the gospel to me, for cleaning up my own mess and equipping me to be a part of someone else’s story – my daughter’s story. It’s an overwhelming privilege. I pray I am faithful to the task.”