A friend recently asked me:
I was wondering how you would suggest I respond when people trot out the, ‘don’t be selfish just wait 9 months and give your child up for adoption’ BS.
Besides the other things I thought to respond with, I also came up with: “Whoa, really? Your solution to the ‘problem’ of abortion is to advocate human trafficking for profit?”
What ways would you respond?
Besides the fact that, as a male, I assert that the only valid stance I might take on this issue is allyship for women’s inalienable right to choose, the amazement by some that an adoptee could be pro-abortion speaks (two) volumes.
Specifically (to me): (1) the expectation that adoptees could only be grateful that abortion was not chosen (never mind the “if I didn’t exist, I wouldn’t complain” aspect); and (2) the failure to grasp that this expresses the notion that adoption is inherently more pernicious than abortion.
My response would be the same I hope – it’s a good one!
“Don’t be selfish. Give all the resources you would have spent on A-wording to the child’s mother/family to enable her/them to raise that human being.”
I would ask how do you justify moving heaven and earth to offload the care for the fetus/abscond with the child of someone you would kick while down in the gutter?
As a woman, one of the first questions that enters my mind is, “why should victims of rape or incest feel compelled to carry a physical reminder of this horrifying and painful experience with them every single day for nine months?” Even if a situation of that level isn’t involved, let’s suppose a young teen couple finds out they are expecting, pregnancy certainly affects schooling, education, and future plans. While I certainly respect someone’s decision to not choose abortion, I think the women who do choose that should also be respected.
Unlike abortion or even death of a child, adoption creates an ambiguous loss. This is a type of loss one can never really move on from and causes continuous grief. A mother will always know that her child is out in the world somewhere and wonder how tall they are, where their interests lie, what type of person he/she becomes. Similarly, the adoptee will always know that there is another family they could of had, another life they could have led, another person they could have become. Expecting mothers should not be cornered and corralled into facing this type of lifelong grief.
Lastly, not wanting to bring a child into this world who will immediately be placed into a broken foster care system, who will be denied full access to documents revealing who they are, who may become a statistic in a number of unscrupulous legal practices (ex: the state of Utah), and who will always feel like an outsider of sorts may not be an incredibly selfish thing to do.
Ambiguous loss is a great way to describe it. Like giving birth to a ghost; a spirit; someone in between realms. Reminds me of our “shadow children” discussion. I know an adoptee whose mother was assaulted and carried her to term. Because of the way Lebanese law works, she must know the father to obtain her nationality (which is not matrilineal; this was done to prevent Palestinians from marrying into the population). This to me is a horrible paradox….Just adding that as an aside; you got me thinking about it.