To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Adoption IS My First Choice, Thank You!

When my husband and I decided (waaaaay back when we were dating) that we really, truly did and were going to adopt one day soon, I began looking around for blogs and books and articles - anything! - that was written about adoption, especially those that were written by adoptive parents of adoptees themselves.  I've found some simply amazing books and articles; and, overall, I've found many of the insights very helpful and genuinely interesting.

Yesterday, at Barnes and Noble (, I was in the "adoption" section, as usual, when I found Labor of the Heart by Kathleen L. Whitten, Ph.D.  While I've only just begun reading her book, I feel that Dr. Whitten is assuming that adoptive parents are in a similar situation as herself - choosing adoption after a long, emotionally-painful struggle with infertility.  She is constantly referring to the need to work through the "anger" and "pain" and "disappointment" (even with God, if you are religious) that comes with being forced to turn to adoption in order to become a parent.

While I understand that infertility does force many couples to turn to adoption, Dr. Whitten seems to be completely ignorant to the fact that there are many of us who choose adoption first.  It's as though it's hard for her to see anyone's attitude toward adoption as anything outside of her own personal experiences and emotions.

Toward the beginning of the book, she mentions that she thinks that people (like my husband and I) who do choose adoption first, are only able to think thusly, because they/we have personal experience(s) with adoption in our lives.  Honestly, I do realize that my mother being adopted has made me more aware of adoption as a whole; however, I cannot say that her experience alone is enough to make me want to adopt.  I have been exposed to adoption through a cousin, friends, and more.  I suppose there's no way to prove that I would have wanted to adopt without these personal "brushes" with adoption; but I'd like to believe that my heart has always been open to people and things who need homes and love.

As a child, if I found an animal that was hurt or alone on our farm, I would always take it in and try to help it.  I was also known as the child who would talk to the children who were left out of "normal" social interaction at preschool and kindergarten because they had this or that ailment, handicap, etc.  (My best friend in preschool was a boy who had a cleft lip which horrified the other kids in our classroom.)  For this gift of compassion, I thank my parents.  They were constantly helping troubled teenagers through an organization called "Youth for Christ" back in the 80's and 90's.  There was a sense that one should tend to people with kindness and caring.

I feel it is mainly for these reasons that I feel drawn to adoption as a means to motherhood.  I choose adoption, not out of pain and suffering and loss, but out of joy.  I choose it first.

This isn't to say that don't want to have biological children one day; but how my children come to me isn't as important to me as the fact that they have come to me.  There's much more to come in Dr. Whitten's book; and I don't mean to pick on her, every person's experience is their own.  I suppose her telling her own experience has only made me stronger and more attached to my own decisions.

Be Blessed, *mandie*

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