While searching my news and blog alerts this morning, I came across a blog entry that I will not link because I don’t want the potential adoptive mother involved to be flamed. But what she said caught me so off guard that I needed to write about it.
Recently matched with an expectant mother considering placement, the potential adoptive mother described the process as “fun.” Fun. My first response was, “What about this is fun for the expectant mother?” While pregnancy itself is an amazing and beautiful time, full of new experiences that could be classified as fun if the entire situation wasn’t full of ambiguity, confusion and fear for those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and considering placement.
Then I thought back to my own experience. Matching and creating a relationship with my daughter’s (now) parents was somewhat exciting. We did have some fun together, getting to know each other in little bits of conversation via phone and e-mail and a few visits. I did enjoy my time with them then just as I do nowadays. I had fun with them as I have fun with them now.
But the truth is, there is little about the adoption process that is fun for an expectant mother. The relationship part can be, yes, but I often worry that these mothers will become more invested in the thoughts and feelings of the potential family than that of themselves or their child. Beyond that, when you factor in pregnancy worries and woes, legal dealing with an agency or attorney that may or may not have the best interest of the mother and child in mind, negative reactions from friends and family about either the pregnancy or adoption plan, stresses in the relationship with the biological father and the normal stress of life (work, friends, and so on), well, it’s just not the most “fun” time in one’s life.
Beyond that, the aftermath of relinquishment doesn’t ever come up as a fun memory in my mind. It was such a hard time in my life and, truth be told, I was in denial for a good couple of months so I wasn’t even actively dealing with the grief and loss that I had experienced. The healing process, even at almost five years out, still manages to catch me off guard. There are days when I think, “Yeah, I’ve got this in the bag. I’m awesome.” Then I’m smacked back to my reality with something I didn’t know to expect and I think, “Oh yeah, this isn’t fun at all.”
And while fun can exist in the midst of turmoil, I suppose this was just a glaring beacon of difference that I see in the birth parent and adoptive parent experiences. (Solely speaking of domestic adoption and not any other avenue.) I know that some potential families understand, on some level, the weight that an expectant mother making a decision regarding adoption or parenting carries on her heart but comments like that one make me vividly aware of that chasm of difference in our experience. The differences, of course, are to be expected but, at the same time, I can’t help but wonder about the expectant mother in this situation. I wonder if anyone has asked her if she’s having fun… or if she would be honest if she wasn’t jumping with glee.
For more on unplanned pregnancy, read these posts.