When Moms Grieve: The Dark Side of Adoption

One of the first questions many people ask an adoptive parent is, "Is it possible to love an adopted child as much as one who is biologically related?" Most adoptive parents will immediately respond, "Of course." We love all our children — just as all parents do. Sometimes that love comes easily — when the child is freshly washed and tucked away in bed, counting sugarplums. In those moments, parenting is one of life's sweetest pleasures.

But sometimes — more often than we'd like to admit — that love is not a feeling, but a holding-on-by-the-fingernails choice. This is especially prevalent in adoption circles among families that adopt older children, who may not be capable of connecting readily with their new family. So you hug, and try not to take it personally when no one hugs you back. It's difficult, but for some parents there is no other choice.

Some families have even greater challenges to overcome: How can you love a chaos-creating, snot-spewing bundle of snarling rage? How can you not resent the fact that your efforts are unappreciated and resisted at every turn? How could you not feel as though you are being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the claustrophobic vortex of insurmountable neediness by a three-year-old insomniac and his openly defiant five-year-old sister?

Yes, you love them. But you don't always like them very much.

PADS: Adoption's Dark Little Secret

These feelings of ambivalence are very common in adoptive mothers, and have become so prevalent that there's a name for it: PADS (Post-Adoptive Depression Syndrome). One study indicates that PADS afflicts as many as 65% of all adoptive mothers. For more information, go to http://parenting.adoption.com/parents/negative-feelings-after-adopting.html or http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art385.asp

This is the "dark side" most adoptive parents (myself included) find very hard to admit. Who would understand? After all, we chose adoption! The needs of our child must supercede our own… isn't that the very nature of parenting?

Well, yes, of course we know these things are true. If we didn't, we couldn't have gotten this far. We choose the gift… again and again and again we choose, just as every parent does. But unlike every other parent, we must struggle with some unique realities that natural parents need never consider.

We don't get to experience that child move within us before we have to deal with the super-sized toddler tantrums. We don't experience the same kind of delivery (natural or any other kind), confirming that the child is truly a part of us. We don't often get the solicitous interventions and supports of friends and family in those first few days and weeks after a child's birth (though we get to experience the erratic sleep patterns of infancy, often for years). We don't get to look into the child's eyes… and see her Daddy looking back at us.

 Each time we find ourselves unable to live up to the "perfect parent" image we promised the agency, part of us dies a little — and worries about the consequences of our failings down the road. Yes, all parents feel inadequate from time to time — but most of them don't feel an invisible third party in the wings, keeping score.

Four Important Lessons on Adoption

Why am I telling you all this? Am I trying to dissuade you from becoming an adoptive parent? Not at all. There are many, many happy moments in adoptive parenting, and life lessons that you would not be able to learn any other way. God created the human soul to give itself in love, a well that swells and spills over many times, contrasting those dark moments with times of indescribable contentment. Even joy.

But if those dark moments come, it's better to acknowledge the reality than stuff it inside.  Praying (and having others pray for you) is important… just don't neglect the more practical details as well, such as food and sleep and exercise. There will be times you must put your own needs first, to have the resources you need to tend to your child. If your support circle is limited, you may need to consider arranging for a few hours — or perhaps even more than a few hours — of childcare simply to get the perspective you need to continue on the road you have chosen.

For us, it meant using the subsidy money the State gave us for daycare, so I could keep working and writing. Not because it was immensely profitable (it wasn't), but because it kept me sane, so I could tend to the children's needs the rest of the time. I was sometimes criticized for this choice — the harshest critics were people who knew us only casually. And there are times when I have to admit that I still could have been more patient, more giving, more available.

But if I had it to do over again, would I? The answer is, "I don't know." What I do know is that somehow we made it through three harrowing years of foster care, until the adoption came through. It took daycare and depression meds, but we made it. During that time, most of the struggles we faced in the beginning have resolved themselves — and during that time, Craig and I learned four important lessons the hard way:

The greatest challenge of adoption is balancing the needs of the whole family.

The fact that those on the perimeter don't understand or approve of your choices, doesn't necessarily make them bad choices.

Mid-course correction is often a better choice than indecision.

There's no such thing as a perfect parent. Trust God to make up the difference between what the children need, and what you are able to give.

If you think you might be suffering from PADS, or know someone who is, I've included a number of suggestions to combat the effects of this condition on my "Mommy Monsters" blog. Simply click here and go to the last section, entitled "So What Do You Do?" God bless you!

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  • Guest

    As an adoptee, I know that you are so right, Heidi. My parents adopted my sister and I as infants. They never should have been able to have any of their own biological children, but they did have two miracle babies. One of my strongest memories at the age of 13 is holding my newborn brother and commenting to my mother about how amazing it was that up until recently he had been growing inside her. She just kind of looked at me as if it was no big deal. I have often wondered if she was trying to make me feel better about how I came to be part of the family. When my first daughter was born, I knew that my mother could never have felt quite the same about my sister and I as she did about the two she had on her own. Especially when we caused a significant part of the battles in the house. Not that they have ever stopped being good parents, it's just not the same.

     

    One of the thoughts that keeps me from becoming an adoptive parent is  what makes me think I can be a good parent to someone else's child. 

  • Guest

    "PADS" is the equivalent of PPD, and I don't think CE is the proper format. 65%- no way!  Articles like this just perpetuate misunderstandings and negative thoughts surrounding adoption.  Plus, there are many families who have had only positive experiences leading up to adoption, and now they are just going on with their life, like any other family.

    Moms should really try to get over their grief before they adopt. It is not fair to their children to continue having these unresolved issues while parenting. 

    Personally, I did not have to experience a child growing in my uterus or giving birth to know, by God's grace and love, my two sons are mine and a part of us.   In re to what they look like- so what they don't look like you or your husband? Looks are truly skin deep. Plus, in our case, that's a good thing Cool     When I look into my children's eyes, I see the eyes of a loving God, so much beauty and the miracle of creation.   And in re to the agency- it's just red tape- don't analyze it any other way.    Most of "the lessons" apply to all families.

     

    Katy-  are you sure that your mother "could never have felt quite the same about you and your sister as her two biological children" or could this be your misperception of her feelings?  I just want you to know that the love a mother has for all of her children, whether they came from her uterus or heart, are exactly the same, at least for the mothers I know who have experienced both.  All children are miracles!  My two sons were adopted, and I could not fathom a greater love between humans.

     

    Would I do it again?????   Absolutely! Our third miracle is growing in our hearts right now! 

  • Guest

    Katy, I have to echo Patty's comments. A mother loves each of her child in a different way due to different dynamics in each individual relationship, and yes, perhaps biology or adoption factors into those dynamics. But that doesn't mean that your mother loved you LESS than her biological children. I have lost three biological children to miscarriage, and my husband and I are now in the process of adopting. My confidence in my ability to love an adoptive child every bit as much as a biological child (and notice I refrain from using the term "a child of my own" because an adopted child WOULD be my own) stems from many experiences I have had with loving children that were not born to me. I can honestly say that if I were to lose my 9 month old niece, I would be hard-pressed to be able to get out of bed in the morning; it would be equally as devastating as losing my husband. And this is a child that I see 7 times/year if I'm lucky, so imagine how that love would be magnified if I were raising her in my home. Do I regret that I will probably never feel a child move inside me (I have beautiful ultrasound pictures and a dvd of my babies' heartbeats, but didn't get far enough in my pregnancy to feel any movement), that I will never be able to breastfeed, and that I will not see my and my husband's physical traits in my children?  Yes, and I will probably also be bittersweet about the time I missed with my adoptive children when they were growing inside another woman's body.  But that doesn't mean I'll love them or appreciate them any less.  If anything, they will be a unique gift because I had such a long journey toward parenthood.  I think we need to remember that God has ordained adoption. If it weren't for our adoption through Baptism, none of us would have a chance for salvation. St. Joseph was Jesus' foster father, and I can't imagine a more loving father. Adoption is daunting and it's not for everyone, but it is a beautiful way to become a parent.

  • Guest

    As an adoptee, I must say this is not anywhere close to my experience nor I suspect that of my parents. Perhaps because I was adopted at an early age (6 mos), but more likeley because my mother and father only expressed love and joy and total acceptance. My mother in fact expressed that for her the experience was one driven by the Holy Spirit. She saw God's hand in the process and she still see's it that way. This continued even after my brother was born naturally to my parents. This love and acceptance went beyond my immeditate family and I was totally accepted and loved as a grandson, nephew and cousin by my large extended family.

     

    Perhaps some adoptive parents do experience what you have reported and my suggestion for them is to look to God. Look to St. Joseph-the adoptive father of Jesus as your role model. Adoption to me is an expression of God's love-how blessed am I that the Holy Spirit first inspired my biological mother to go through with the pregnancy and then inspired my adoptive parents to make such a great sacrifice and gift of love. I am greatful to all of these people as one gave me a chance to live and the others built me a life. God is awesome!

  • Guest

    Katy, one more thing:  you mention your parents' two miracle babies that they conceived biologically;  you are absolutely right that they are miracles (I know firsthand, because I was told that the only way I would ever get pregnant was through IVF with donor eggs, and then I miraculously conceived my twins).  But I want to point out that you are also a miracle baby, and I'm sure that your parents consider you every bit as miraculous as the babies they conceived.

  • Guest

    I am commenting from a completely different side of the adoption triad. 

    Interesting that this article came out today.  Tomorrow my son will be 39 years old.  I have never seen him!!!  Why???  Well when I got pregnant I was not married.  Back in those days, many of us who were not married chose to give up our children so that they could have a 'proper' home with a mother and a father.  Illigitimate children were scorned prior to the major breakdown in society that happened after Roe vs Wade.  Many of us wanted our children to 'have a better chance at life and hopefully a proper upbringing." 

     There is NOT a day that I don't think of my son and pray that he has had a good life and is a good man and respected member of society.  I'd like to know if he is a faithful believer in our Lord.  Over the last 15 years I have searched for him.  I have searched not to interfere in his life but to see him at least ONE time and know that he is well.  I would like to tell him WHY I gave him up.  Because I thought at that time that I was doing the right thing and still think that way but that doesn't mean that I didn't love him.  I will always love him and feel the hole in my heart that only he can fill.  Happy Birthday Mark David.

    Love from your birthmom

  • Guest

    Adopting through the foster care system can have many different circumstances than adoption through other means. I am sure Ms.Saxton is honest in relating her feelings. I can't help but think, however, that perhaps staying home with the children instead of putting them in daycare might not make the transition easier. (Admittedly, we do not know how much daycare is involved-is it full-time? Once a week? Makes a big difference.) I am the mother of two adopted and four biological children and I can tell you this, there are many days when the biological children cause the same feelings Ms. Saxton experiences, they are openly defiant and I don't like them very much. Everyone has different experiences. Perhaps Ms. Saxton would have experienced these same feelings if she had had biological children? At any rate, good luck to you, Ms. Saxton, and keep praying. The Heavenly Father never gives us more than we can handle-with HIS help!

  • Guest

    Lynn, my heart goes out to you.  I pray that someday you will find your son.  It's amazing how the pendulum has swung.  I do feel that ideally a child should have a mother and a father, but I don't think that any child is "illegitimate" or should be scorned.  While I think single parenthood has become way too glamorized, I certainly don't think that single mothers should be ostracized or pressured into placing their children for adoption.  

  • Guest

    Lynn-thank you for sharing your feelings on this issue. I trust that Mark David may think of you as I think of my unknown birthmom-with much respect, gratitude and love! You and she could have made a different choice, but you did not. I pray for my birthmom often and ask God to bless her and I thank HIM for her great sacrifice and her love. I will do the same for you.

     

    God Bless.

  • Guest

    Regarding the PADS, I agree that adopting an older child via foster care must have different challenges from adopting an infant.  However, I have heard that adoptive mothers of infants can also experience this, just as biological mothers experience ppd.  I think a lot of it is let down after having such high expectations for so long.  I have heard that for this reason, women with infertility are more likely to experience ppd after having a biological child as well.

  • Guest

    Claire, 

    This is a wee bit off topic, but you commented that you'll never be able to breastfeed and I wanted to let you know that adoptive moms CAN breastfeed their babies. Check with La Leche League International for more information if you're interested! 
    Best Wishes to you!
    Amy
  • Guest

    So the author writes an article about adoption,  in which she complains about people who criticize her parenting decisions without knowing all the pertinent information. 

    Said aritcle is then posted on a Catholic website. 

    Responses to the article by allegedly Catholic individuals are filled with … criticisms of the author's parenting decisions!

    Sigh.

    None of us are perfect, I know, but can we please try a little harder to act Catholic?

  • Guest

    This is for Katy, who wrote "One of the thoughts that keeps me from becoming an adoptive parent is  what makes me think I can be a good parent to someone else's child."

    I'm sorry if my article fed into your fears about how much your parents really loved you. It was not my intention to suggest that adoptive parents don't really love all their children, because they do. That love is what gets us through the hard times. And, as I said, not all adoptive parents experience PADS — 65% is not 100%

    The fact that you are adopted makes it more likely — not less –that you would make a great adoptive parent. Your story gives you a unique ability to empathize with the needs and feelings of an older adopted child. I would never presume to tell you what transitory feelings your parents might (or might not) have felt. If your parents tell you they never had the feelings I describe in this article, I would urge you to take what they say at face value. 

    Now … to the rest of you. My primary purpose for writing this was to help those in the situation, and educate those who aren't. Being a loving parent — adoptive or any other kind – is about a lot more than feelings. On the other hand, acknowledging our struggles is the first step to overcoming them. I will always be grateful that, by God's grace, our story has a happy ending. The challenges Craig and I face with our kids today are a lot like those experienced by other parents. In the beginning, that simply wasn't the case. Had I known about PADS in those first months, the transition would have been much easier on all of us, I think.

    I strongly disagree that CE is not the place to bring these issues out to the light. As I've written often before, adoption is one of the most powerful pro-life choices a believer can make. Therefore, addressing issues associated with the complexities associated with adoption is important. This is true even though I knew this venue would prompt some less-than-helpful responses such as "just pray more" (we do pray, all the time) and insisting that PADS is the same as PPD (it's not, though they may share some symptoms in common).

    Not all adoptive parents experience PADS – those who adopt infants often do not — and the issue looks very different from the inside than the outside. That's part of the problem.

    I felt that the benefit of reaching those who are struggling outweighs these things. I've had several adoptive parents write to me privately through my blog with words to the effect "Wow! I went through this, too, and thought I was just a lousy parent. Glad to know I'm not alone … and there is an end to it." Not everyone will relate 100% … but those who do are grateful for the lifeline.

    God bless you!

    Heidi Hess Saxton Editor, "Canticle" Magazine Blogroll

  • Guest

    Smoskalski,

        Where do you get that these responses are "filled with criticisms of the author's parenting decisions"?  I have read only one or two  comments regarding her parenting decisions, and one was far from harsh, it was more like a question.  The rest of the posts are perspectives on adoptive parenting which are part of a healthy dialogue about the topic at hand.  I see nothing un-Catholic about this. 

  • Guest

    Heidi, I appreciate your article, and I agree that it is important to discuss adoption on a Catholic website.

  • Guest

    Amy, thank you for bringing up the option of adoptive breastfeeding.  I was aware of this, but had ruled it out for myself for several reasons.  I unfortunately will have to return to work after my 12 week maternity leave (my husband will reduce his hours to parttime and will care for the baby when I'm working), and we might not be able to adopt a newborn, so I decided that those two factors would make adoptive breastfeeding more of a challenge than I am up for.  But thank you for mentioning it, as it is a great option for those who are up for the challenge.

  • Guest

    Dear Katy,

    We adopted our son at two-and-a-half years old and our daughter at one year.  And they were the complete fulfillment of our marriage.  Then, God gave us a miracle baby!  During my pregnancy, I wondered if I would feel differently about our biological child.  And guess what?  When they held their newborn sister in the hospital, I knew that they were ALL OURS!

    Please do not sell your parents short!  I am sorry that you find it difficult to trust the quality of your parents' love — but do!!!  Every child is a parenting challenge in a different way — biological or adopted is NOT the sole determining factor – we are all a pain for our parents in some way, at some point in our lives.  I KNOW that your parents are crazy about you and your biological sister, just like the "two she had on her own".  Their lives would not be complete without you.

    I do need to tell you that your comment about "someone else's child" really annoyed me.  I am their Mommy.  I am not simply a long-term baby-sitter.  They are not merely "in my care".  We belong to each other.  If you have issues with the way you became part of your family, please do not project that onto your parents, or other adopted parents and children. 

    I agree entirely with Claire's observation about all of our adoption through baptism.  Right on, sister!

    Being Family with someone is a choice we make every day.  Has anyone considered that as Husbands and Wives, we have all been adopted into each others' hearts and families? 

  • Guest

    I've found myself thinking of my Oma and Opa (gramma and grampa)'s last set of foster children who also were a 3 year old boy and his 5 five year old sister. A pair of hurt and damaged children who had been betrayed and left open to abuse by the one person who should have loved and cared for them.

     

    Unfortunately, it was decided by the powers-that-be (children's aid) that the girl (at five years of age) was best served by placing her in a Children's Home rather then release her for adoption due to 'behavioral problems'.  I know that my Oma and Opa did their best to stay in touch with her though the years but it has by necessity been long-distance.  Her brother however was adopted by one by one of my uncles as my grandparents were young enough to foster but too old to adopt.  He of course was a very unhappy boy for some time and I'm sure that it wasn't easy for his new mother and father in many ways dealing with a grieving and angry boy.  

     

      In the memory of the girl I knew so long ago, thank you for your choice of two children who so badly needed love.  From what my Oma has told me I can understand a very little of just how much work  children who come to you already damaged and hurting can be and I have sympathy for your need for respite care. 

     

    But thank you for giving them a chance to know what a loving family should be like and ensuring that they won't be kicked out of care alone, vunerable and unprepared at age 18 (what I know of the girl's story doesn't have a happy ending).

  • Guest

    Dear Claire,

    I can tell you from experience that trying to nurse an adopted child IS exhausting and time-consuming.  I tried it with our older daughter at 12 months.  I had to stop pumping before we even got to the nursing because of my Dad's final illness.  Interestingly, when our baby was born and I nursed her, our older daughter (two at the time) asked if she could nurse, too.  When she tried it, she said, "Hey, Mommy!  It's milk in there!  I like it!"  And I continued to nurse both of them for eight months.

    So, you see, you don't have to have a newborn to have a positive nursing experience.

    I will pray for you and your Husband to continue to be guided in love by God!

    Best Wishes!

  • Guest

    That's awesome!  Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Guest

    To Claire & MReiner16.

          I sincerly thank both of you for your comments.  Before 1970, children born 'out of wedlock' were looked down on.  Now its not that way.  No child should suffer for what the parents have done.  But I still do feel in my heart and especially as a deeply committed Catholic (conversion in 94) that all children need and deserve a mother (female) and a father (male).  These components of parenthood are paramount. 

           Adoption has many different stories involved.  I credit those good people who adopt and can love the child as their own.  I've heard both good and bad over the years and I pray that my son has had only good adoptive parents. 

           The intention of this email was not intended as criticism of the woman who wrote the initial article.  She is being honest and like all of us deserves nothing but prayer. 

            Basically it was just a question of the timing of the article. 

             I've always said that 'birth mothers' are the forgotten mothers.  Mothers day is a very sad day for us…especially those of us who for whatever reason never had any other child.  No child can replace the one relenquished but can sometimes give the mom some comfort. 

             Prayers & Peace to each of you

             lynn

  • Guest

    Thank you, Lynn.  Mother's Day is a very painful day for me, too, and thank you for reminding me that there is a whole other group of mothers out there who also find it painful–birthmothers.

  • Guest

    Very good article Heidi. Honest and much needed. My mother was adopted at the age of 22 months. She was a handful but well loved. Her biggest adjustment problem was that she spent the first 22 months being nurtured by the loving Nun's of the NY Foundling Hospital. She had a hard time adjusting to Grandma…Every time my grandparents took her to Mass for the first several months, she would run to the Nun's and scream…MOMMIES! …and kick and throw a tantrum when grandma had to pry her loose and take her home. It took some time for her to call grandma…Mommy. But they were indeed patient and loved her as much as any of their biological children…8 in all who died in infancy. Your right on target. It's not easy but kudo's for a job well done. Mother survived even though grandpa died when she was 8. Grandmother had to work and back in the 30's that was no small feat.

  • Guest

    "I credit those good people who adopt and can love the child as their own."

     

    They are _our own_.

  • Guest

    Mommyx3, it is so refreshing to hear from someone who has parented both biologically and through adoption, and who can attest to the fact that both adopted and biological children are equally loved.  I have corresponded with other adoptive/biological mothers who have said the same thing.  Thank you for your witness.

  • Guest

    My husband and I have have been considering adoption.  We have four daughters now and are unable to conceive any more children.  I feel moved by the Holy Spirit to enlarge our family.  We feel that we have been so blessed and have much to offer a child in need and I long to have more children.  I have never once thought it was going to be easy.  I love my four girls with all my heart and I will love any child the Lord puts in our family with all my heart.  But being pratical, I know there will be days that I want to scream and run for the hills.  But that is life, we all have days like that no matter what we do.  My husband and I always say we love each other but there are definite days that we do not like each other.  But that is what family is all about.

  • Guest

    I have to disagree entirely with this article.  We adopted our daughter at birth.  I met the birthmother in the hospital the day after she gave birth.  She handed her baby gently to us with tears asking that we take good care of her.  We responded with our own tears in a resounding yes, thanking her profusely with the gift of life.  Fourteen years later I still look at her (our daughter) and marvel at the wondrous miracle we received and NEVER regret that that she did not grow inside of me.  She is a blessing each and every day.  We love her more each day and we see that returned in her attitudes, gentleness, unselfish actions.  Did I ever regret the lack of "support" from friends?  No, never.  My husband and I had each other and shared the load equally because we knew what a precious gift we had been given.  I never look at her as "someone else's" child.  She is OURS. 

  • Guest

    Is this issue/feeling confined just to adoptive parents? I think we all come in with expectations on how the child will be (whether adopted or biological)? It's part of our human nature to place our expectations and desires for how my child should react or their personality or whatever-fill in the blank. Reality often does not fit the expectation however and so we simply must deal with it. I have been blessed with 4 biological children and there have been times, ages/stages with each of them that have not always been easy. I have always loved each one of them, but at times I have not liked what they have done or the way they act or ineteract with me. Each child's personality is different-some show more emotion and others hold it in. Icannot nor do not want to change that about each of my children simply beacuse it might not my expectation for how wanted my relationship to be with that child. None of us-adoptive parent nor biological are "perfect". As Catholic Christians we all have other eyes (The Lord's ) watching and judging us.

     

    I hope this does not sound critical of the story, it just seems to me that all parents experience a similar feeling and I'm not sure that this is the exclusive realm of an adoptive parent. Since I have not experienced the parent side of adoption perhaps I am mistaking. I just hope that those reading and who are considering adoption don't come away disenchanted after reading the article. On the other side, don't think that being a bioligiacl parent automatically exempts you from the feeling and issues written about in this article.

  • Guest

    As the father of one adopted son and one foster daughter in the process of being adopted, I want to thank Heidi for this article and for her continuing clarifying remarks.  I think my wife may be one of the 65% and I will have her read this and check out the web site. 

    I can understand that until you are in this situation you won't understand it and you may be a little negative or ambivalent.  Please try to understand the difference Heidi is explaining above.

    My thanks to all of those with positive and encouraging comments.  I love my children as if they are my own flesh and blood, but sometimes that is just not enough for them and for us as parents. We continue to pray and trust in god to help us and our children every day and that is all we can do. God and our Mother Mary is enough to sustain all of our needs and does fill the parts that are missing.

    Please pray for us that a successful adoption will go through for our foster daughter.

  • Guest

    Dear Robert:

    I'm grateful for you — and men like you — who are willing to invest your lives this way. Foster parenting can be hard on moms … and yet, it may be even harder on our husbands (who see us struggle, and feel helpless to stop it). On the other hand, you are your son's best chance to grow up to be the kind of strong yet loving man God wants him to be.

    May God be especially near to you during this time of waiting. No matter what happens, you are giving that little girl the opportunity to know what real love is. It is a risk of course … if things don't turn out the way you hope, you risk getting your heart broken. And yet, nothing is wasted. Nothing is in vain.

    Jesus, we trust in You!

    Heidi Hess Saxton Editor, "Canticle" Magazine Blogroll

  • Guest

    I had a roommate in college who was adopted. Some weekends we would go to Pittsburgh to visit his parents. I also attended his adoptive father's funeral. David really loved and appreciated his new parents. He's still my best friend. Right now he works as a parole officer in the D.C. area, no surprise. He was always very warm and receptive to exchange students. He was the first to approach them and make friends. I benefited from those relationships as his best friend. The point is that his understanding and sensitivity were developed as a result of being adopted. He understood intimately how it feels to be in a new and strange place. I always consider him and his adoptive experience as a blessing to me.

    An earlier poster (allegedly Catholic) was having a bad day. I’m glad Claire gave him/her a hug. Nobody’s comments were overly critical and I enjoyed and learned from all of them. 

  • Guest

    May you always be blessed by the goodness of God, Sherri

    I have been so fortunate to have been able to help raise the children of my husband and his former wife. My husband and I are 17 years apart in age yet we both have totally similar interests. The children are now 36 and 39 years old and have grandchildren. They have always treated me like a good mother. They knew from the beginning that I was "out of my area" and yet they never took advantage of me. Now that THEY are parents it is very humbling that they are being the parent that I could never have been. Their parents (my husband and his former wife) never argued and were always concerned about their children. God love them both. They gave me the children I would have never had. We are a much larger family than I would have ever hoped for! I am the last of my family, every one else has gone to God (I hope) and the grandchildren are my only link to old age since my husband's children are so close to my age that we will probably pass on together. Love of humans and love of Christ will get us through anything! Peace be with you all.
  • Guest

    Lynn,

     

    Your letter touched me.

    I have a cousin who is adopted, he is exactly 39…

    if would help you visualize it…

    my cousins are very successfull good men, one has 4 children , the other just got married this year and they are expecting their first child in February. Both were adopted, tho' from different birth mothers, but I swear they look like natural brothers.

    My aunt and uncle gave them a very happy childhood and me very cool cousins. We had a blast as kids…my cousins and I.

    Who ever their birth mothers were, they really did the right thing and the most brave and loving thing.

    You are so good…the best mother.

    I can't thank my cousins real birthmothers..but I can thank you.

    God bless you dear lady.Smile

    Madeline

     

  • Guest

    Hi Heidi- I apologize for my response equating PPD with PAD.  Each both exist- no doubt, and those who struggle with it need to talk about it and heal.   I should not have minimized it.

    However, I still strongly believe this issue/article is most appropriately discussed in an adoptive parent website, since it was not real upbeat about adoption (although it did engender life giving positive testimonials from prayerful, Mommyx3, Lynn and M Reiner16).  Plus, imagine an article in CE "When Moms Grieve: The Dark Side of Birth".   

    It also saddened me to think about how this article could affect an adopted child, and from it may think it true that 65% of adoptive parents may need to give birth to confirm they are a part of you or that their parents don't know if they would do it over again?  

  • Guest

    Heidi.  Thanks so much for this article. My wife and I adopted our son at 21 months of age from an overseas orphanage. We would discover that he had classic attachment disorder. Because we already had biological children we knew quickly that we needed professional help. Fortunately he is better with treament.  You are right on about the first 3 years for any type of challenging child. It was difficult and at times emotionally draining for us to say the least. We never doubted that he was meant for us but there were (and still are) times that we wonder how we are able to do it. Fortunately we pray and go to Eucharistic Adoration to find strength and wisdom. My wife and I feel your article is very appropriate for CE as many Catholics feel the desire to adopt (we have had many tell us of their interest) but don't understand the challenges that may lie ahead. We don't think you article dissuades but instead informs potential adopting parents. Your article is appropriate for those like us who have adopted a challenging child. Thanks for your wisdom!  PAX

  • Guest

    As the CE editor who choose to give this article this lead space, I would like to add this: I could have run this article only in Heidi's column space, but I thought that it deserved to be on the front page.

    We talk about there being "sides" of adoption to consider, quite frankly, because adoption is a choice in the way that birthing a child is not. A married couple are according to God's moral law obligated to be open to procreation. If God does not in his mysterious ways give them children, or if they desire more children than God has given them, they are not under the same kind of obligation to adopt as they would to welcome a child formed within the wife's body (which child they are obligated to welcome even if the product of adultery or rape).

    Adoption is good. We encourage adoption. We cannot pretend, however, that it is "just the same."  The love may be the same.  I cannot speak to that. I am neither an adoptee nor adoptive parent.  But we denigrate the important and weighty human moral actions and decision made in this area if we pretend that it is just the same. It is the very real fact that those decisions were made by the same people who subsequently, under varying degrees and kinds of joy and suffering, parent the adotive child, that leads to the self-doubting, second-guessing and pressure that some adoptive parents feel.

    The comments here have been frank and enlightening.  They have exposed wounds and shared joys. They have all been very moving.  Thank you all for reading CE in such an engaged and engaging manner. Let us all pray for one another.

  • Guest

    Mary, very true. There are differences between adoptive and biological parenting, especially in the more challenging adoption situations (adopting an older child, a child with emotional/behavior problems, etc) that Heidi wrote about. I appreciate Heidi's article and your decision to give it front page status. As a pro-life issue, adoption deserves that. However, along with the differences are similarities: the love that a mother feels for her child (however the child came to her), the decision to love a child on days that you don't like the child very much–these are common to both adoptive and biological parents. The choice to love a child who joins your family with behavioral problems when you have not yet found anything to like in the child–this is unique to the adoptive situation. Speaking for myself (and probably many of the commenters), I wasn't trying to pretend that these differences don't exist, I was just trying to point out the similarities/commonalities that certainly do exist.

  • Guest

    For us, and I think for many, adoption was never a choice, but a natural fulfillment of God's given plan for our family.  As a parent, I feel priveleged to be the one chosen to raise my own children, entrusted to me through adoption and the self sacrificing love of their Birthmothers.       God Bless us All!  

  • Guest

    Patty, I would also add that it is almost like a calling, one that some of us for a while fight every step of the way because we are scared off by all the money, red tape and heartache that comes with the journey.  How many times have I thrown tantrums to God and the Blessed Mother, asking why I have to jump through hoops to become a mother when the vast majority of the population can just remain open to life, conceive and stay pregnant?  But, as you say, God has a different plan for some families, and I trust that once I accept his plan, the hurdles I've had to overcome will be well worth it.

  • Guest

    Please offer thanksgiving with me for my dear friend who just finalized the adoption of her 2 1/2 year old daughter.

    Here's their story.  During a period of lapsed Catholicism my friend underwent a tubal ligation at her husband's insistence.  They had 4 living children and three children lost to miscarriage.  Because of emotional and physical challenges, they felt the tubal ligation was necessary.

    Soon after she began to regret the sterilization.  Then God gave them a new circle of friends, ourselves among the new group.  They became zealous apologists for the faith as their own faith grew stronger. Three years ago my friend underwent a tubal reversal (at great financial sacrifice) and prayed for a baby.  She never conceived a baby in her womb and very sadly had to have an emergency hysterectomy this summer to save her life.

    God in His mysterious Way had other plans to give her a child!  The same month she underwent the reversal, a child was conceived in the womb of a crack addict and carried to term and born with drugs in her system.  Subsequently, the young mother and  her own young mother (the grandmother) ended up in jail on drug charges.  The infant slipped through  social service cracks and ended up with a step grandfather who transferred her to my state. 

    My friend responded to his need for childcare of the now 14 month old.  She and her family began by babysitting during the day.  The day turned into nights and then days and weeks.  Finally, she petitioned for legal status as foster mom.  She was granted it 11 months ago.  After almost a year of having "fathers" sign off on custody, chasing the biological mom down alongside the bounty hunters, and receiving the court's approval, the adoption was finalized this past Monday on St Theresa of Avila's feast day!

    My friend had no idea of God's extraordinary plan to give her a child.  She just followed His whisper in the whimper of a baby.  Praise God that my friend has become a mother again despite her missing womb.  Praise God that a sweet child will grow up in a loving family with a mom and a dad and siblings who love her!

    Now she's wondering if other tiny voices are calling her name…."Mommy! Where are you?" 

  • Guest

    That's a beautiful story, Elkabrikir. 

  • Guest

    As an adoptive parent of two–one an older child (a boy almost five at the time of adoption), I found this article to be very disheartening, but I also feel that it is appropriate in this forum.  My only concern is that it may discourage couples who are considering adoption from doing so.  I have been Catholic for nearly five years now, and I have noticed that adoption is rarely addressed other than in passing.  I would like to see adoption promoted more, and it would be nice to see a positive article or two about adoption. 

    I do not wish to criticize Ms. Saxon for putting her children in daycare for her own sanity.  There were times when that thought occured to me with my son.  (Both of my children were adopted internationally, as an aside.)  Our son came to us with a plethora of difficulties, many of which were sensory related.  We did a lot of praying, and I did find myself depressed at first.  He bonded fast with my husband but was more resistant to me.  This was devastating to me.  With a lot of prayer, I decided to resist the urge to plunk him right into Kintergarten, which I had been advised to do.  Rather, I kept him home with me.  I knew instinctively that if I were to send him off to school so soon, we would never bond the way we should.  It was the best decision my husband and I ever made.  My son and I have bonded beautifully, and I can truly say that I cannot imaging loving a biological child more than I love my two children.  They are OUR children!!  I cannot stress that enough. 

    In our home we thank God for our children's birth mothers, we pray for them together as a family, and we consider them heroes because they gave their babies a chance at finding a home with a mother and father who could take care of them, when abortion would have been so easy.

    For those who may be considering adoption, please continue to pray about it, and go before the Blessed Sacrament.  Take it to Our Lady and St. Joseph.  It is possible to love another person's child as though he/she is your very own. 

    God bless.

  • Guest

    Edith, I can honestly say that CE has always been very positive about adoption, and there have been many articles (and I'm sure will be in the future) that encourage adoption, so I wouldn't worry about people being discouraged by this one.  I think Heidi was just giving voice to something that some adoptive parents experience, just as it has been important to give a voice to postpartum depression in order for women to seek help when they experience this.

         I've been thinking a lot about the passionate responses that have resulted from this article.  I think that those of us who have adopted or who plan to adopt have a knee-jerk reaction to the lack of awareness about adoption that exists in society at large (not necessarily within the Catholic community).  In anti-life circles, adoption is sometimes frowned upon because "when you adopt you don't know what you're getting" (um…a Child of God?).  Non-Christians haven't experienced the love of God through adoption/Baptism, so they can't imagine that someone could love an adopted child as much as an adopted one.  Even within Catholic Christian circles, there is so much emphasis on large families who are open to life, that those of us who are open to life but don't have large families sometimes feel invalidated, and want very much for our adoptive families to be validated.   But, in this forum we are to some extent "preaching to the choir", because as I said, CE is very pro-adoption.  

  • Guest

    "It is possible to love another person's child as though he/she is your very own."

    I am getting really tired of this type of comment.

    They are OUR VERY OWN.

  • Guest

     Patty wrote:  Plus, imagine an article in CE "When Moms Grieve: The Dark Side of Birth".

     

    That comment reminded me of something on Oprah a few years ago.  It was all about the dark side of motherhood.  It was very anti-life, and thank God there was a big outcry against it.  The episode featured all these mothers who were talking endlessly about the downside of motherhood, and one said that she loved her husband more than her kids.  It was really pathetic.   As an infertile woman, I wanted to scream at all those women who were complaining about their kids.

  • Guest

    MommyX3, I think you are raising a good point.  What language could be used to say what was intended, but that would be more true?

  • Guest

    Gena M.

    Hi everyone – I've also adopted twice and had a biological child.  Believe me , they all have their issues.  But you know what?  My friend (a very holy woman who is raising her children in a loving intact family with strong Catholic values, top-notch education, and financial security)with 5 biological children has had her own EXTREME issues with her kids!  Her kids are wonderful, well mannered, mature, etc., but they are individuals and there is nothing any of us as parents can do about the choices they ultimately make and the lessons they will learn on their own.  My bio son was a dream until puberty, then a nightmare.  Now it's getting better (at age 14).  My first adopted son was a nightmare from day one – screaming, pooping and peeing his pants until age 9, stealing, etc.  Now (age 13), he is happy, popular, teachers like him, he cares about church and school, and is probably the closest to me.  My youngest adopted son was sunshine and light from day one, and except for an occasional cloudy moment, is still that way.

     THERE is NO Forumula and NO guarantee!  I love them all the same!  The thing about loving the bio kids more is just not true.Smile

  • Guest

    Dear mkochan,

    Thank you for asking.  I am not sure what the appropriate language would be; but I think it is important for all of us to realise and acknowledge that once you adopt someone (a child, your spouse, God adopting US, Saint Joseph adopting Jesus) that individual is YOURS.

    Let's take a moment to consider how Jesus became known as being "of the line of David".  The first chapter of Matthew shows a geneology tracing Jesus' ancestry through JOSEPH to David and Abraham.  This is important because Joseph's ancestors became Jesus' ancestors.  Joseph was not a babysitter.

    I am not raising someone else's children for them.  I am raising MY children.  And I object strenuoously to any language which diminishes my Husband and my place as their Daddy and Mommy.

    Obviously, there are many examples of selfless and loving birthmothers who realised that they could not give their babies what they deserved; and these women GAVE their children to people who could.  With all due respect to these courageous women, they are NOT the children's mother.  But I join the adopting mothers in their gratitude to such a woman.

    In our case, as in many cases, the children were removed from the homes of people who were exceedingly unfit to raise them.  I am not grateful to these people.  They hurt my babies.  I am grateful, however, to the State of Russia, which saw fit to take my children and care for them until my Husband and I found them.  I do pray for these people; and I refer to them (when I do) merely as "the people who gave birth to my children".

    What language could be used?  What about the truth?  Adopting parents love _their_ children.

  • Guest

    I write fairly frequently on the subject of adoption, both here and at CatholicMom.com (http://www.catholicmom.com/saxton.htm). I try to capture both the highlights and lowlights because adoption — all of parenting, actually — has some of both.

    Of all the articles I've written, this was the hardest to write. I believe strongly that the 500,000 children who are currently wards of the state need and deserve a real family, a family that believes in the power of God to heal and change people from the inside out.

    I also believe it is up to us –who have experienced God's forgiveness firsthand– to open our arms to them. However, we do both the kids and their prospective parents a grave disservice if we paint too idealistic a picture of what this might entail. We need to share all our experiences with them, both good and bad, because the stakes are so high.

    Disrupting an adoption (e.g. "returning" the child) is far more devastating for all concerned than simply deciding against adoption in the first place. I know one child personally who was placed and returned three times before his parents found him. Imagine.

    Adopting takes courage, and I agree with the idea that it is a calling. I also agree that there are many similarities between raising a biologically related child and an adopted one. My children know that they are loved, and I tell them both — and mean it — that the day their angels led them to us was the best day of our lives. (That whole first week is a blur, but the grinning snapshots jog our memories every time we look at them.)

    If someone reads the article and the comments that follow, then decides against adoption … well, perhaps it's better that way. Not everyone is called to adoption — particularly foster-adoption or adopting older or special needs children. For those who respond to that call, having more information is always better than having less. It never hurts to have another tool in one's parenting toolbelt. The knowledge that others have been there, and have not only survived but thrived, makes it that much more likely that a struggling parent will persevere, knowing that there IS an end to the struggle.

    I'm grateful for all those who contributed to this discussion. Your comments rounded out the topic well, and will undoubtedly be a source of encouragement for those currently discerning. Thank you! 

    Heidi Hess Saxton Editor, "Canticle" Magazine Blogroll

  • Guest

    MommyX3, I assure you that my children are my VERY OWN.  I apologize for offending you.  I'm sure that you could tell by my post that I was trying to encourage potential adoptive parents, who may have doubts.  I have had to defend our family to numerous people, and many times in front of my children!  People can be quite insensitive and seem to think they have a right to ask personal questions or make remarks in front of my children, mainly, I think, because my children are of different ethnicities than my husband and myself.  I DO refer to my children as my own and nothing else.  I do not even refer to them as "adopted children" except in a forum like this, for the reason that adoption is being discussed.

    Claire, I really appreciate your thoughtful post.  It is good to hear that Catholic Exchange is very pro-adoption.  I will do a search on the subject and look forward to reading more articles.  I know what it is like to suffer from infertility, too, and it is amazing how many people have jumped to conclusions about my husband and I.  It is often assumed that we are contracepting or because we are converts that maybe even one of us has been sterilized.  We also hear the remark, "Now that you have adopted, you'll probably be able to get pregnant and have your own children."  That's when I say, once again, "These are my own children."

  • Guest

    Dear EdithG,

    I could, of course, tell all those lovely things about you from your post.  And I, too, am sorry if I seemed to over-react.  But, I also have heard such questions as, "Which one is yours?"  I naturally say, "They're ALL mine."  It is usually in a very matter-of-fact tone, which makes it very clear that I will not debate the issue further.

    I guess my frustration stems from all the pussy-footing and tippy-toeing we all do, in the process of trying not to offend anyone.  Please let me be clear: I do not make it a habit of going around offending people for kicks and giggles.  An honest question deserves an honest answer; and I am always happy to discuss adoption with anyone who has sincere questions.  That being said, if someone is crass and / or thoughtless enough to say some of the things you and I have heard, I think they should be allowed to feel the natural consequences of their actions.  If John Doe asks me a rude question, which is none of his business in the first place, why should I trip over myself to try to make him feel comfortable?

    I simply insist on language which reflects the truth.  These are MY children.  And I do know that you understand that.  Thank you.

  • Guest

    Edith, I'm so sorry to hear about the insensitive comments people have made to you.  At this point, my husband and I are planning to adopt either internationally or a domestic baby of color, so I'm sure we will get those comments, too.  And I can't tell you how many people have told me that I'll get pregnant the minute I adopt!  Depending on how well I know the person or how much time I have, I either just smile and ignore that comment, or take the time to explain that statistically the rate of fullterm pregnancy after infertility is equal in couples who adopt and in those who don't.  How ludicrous that people think you're contracepting!  Unbelievable.  There is so much misinformation and misunderstanding about both infertility and adoption.  That's why I'm so very grateful to CE for providing a forum for both topics.  Just yesterday I sent an email to my bishop regarding the lack of infertility/adoption ministry in our diocese, and I made a point of citing CE as a Catholic resource that has done a great job in these areas.

  • Guest

    Speaking of comments, I had some upsetting ones this summer when I was pregnant.  We had just completed our adoption homestudy paperwork in June when I found out I was pregnant.  I commented to a few people that I was disappointed that our adoption plans had to be put on hold but was obviously excited about the pregnancy, and relieved that it would spare me all the red tape, etc.  One family member, one friend and even my husband all made comments like, "This is better because this baby will be YOURS", or "This baby comes from you and your husband".  These comments really upset me, because although I hoped for the best, realistically I knew that I had a high probability of miscarriage.  I remember thinking that if God forbid I miscarried (which I unfortunately did) and went on to adopt, I would always know that these people felt sorry for me and thought of my adoptive child as second-best.  The only person I addressed this with was my husband.  I asked him not to make comments like that anymore, and I pointed out to him that an adopted child WOULD be ours and that it would come from us, because it was something we did together.  He realized that I was right, and now he is just as committed to and excited about adoption as I am.

  • Guest

    Heidi, you make a good point about the importance of knowing what you're getting into before committing to adoption.  It's so important to know your limits.  In my case, while I have a great admiration for people like you who are up for the challenge of adopting older children, I am not confident in my ability to do so.  We have limited financial resources, and I will unfortunately have to work fulltime after we adopt (my husband will be the fulltime parent), so I really don't feel that I can handle raising a special needs child or a child with behavioral problems.  Also, selfishly I have always dreamed of an infant, the younger the better.  But as you said, it's better to recognize our limits ahead of time than to start the process only to return the child.  How devastating for that child.

  • Guest

    Hi everybody,

    Just a brief note, it has been interesting to follow this long discussion!
    My husband's mother was adopted, so was her sister. She is our dearest nanny, our two daughters love her so! She never had any children but was of great hep to her sister, when my husband was born out of wedlock. They raised him together. He turned out to be the best of dads, I've noticed! However, it has been very important for him to have a "normal" family of his own. If I suggest we could consider adoption, later on, he says he will have all the biological children he can get, first. 
    Of course, he is in no way negative towards adoption, he just feels it's not his way in this situation.
    I think many issues Heidi mentioned in her exellent article touch also us biological parents. Parenting is a great job and a challenge! My daughters are demanding and sometimes I feel overwhelmed -when the younger was born at times, it was so difficult I remember I felt anger towards my first-born. I wished even, I had never gotten her! I think I was depressed. I never got any help. I have great problems with my mom, I feel she doesn't love me. She isn't willing to come to help me, ever. 
    Now life is better. At times, I enjoy it, even! I love my daughters very very much and we do things together better than ever. I thank God for everything and offer up everything, that helps (I recommend!). I pray for all. Also those not friendly or outwardly selfish. Only God knows us! 
    God bless you all!
  • Guest

    Alarming article and good comments.

    Wanna know a secret?

    We human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, and God is a Trinity of persons giving themselves completely in love.

    So, the secret is this: We are made to give ourselves away in love.

    It's hard-wired in; so when we try to see parenting as anything other than a total gift of ourselves for the child we love (adopted or not), then we will end up (sooner or later) disillusioned.

    That's all. We can truly find ourselves only by giving ourselves away.

  • Guest

    I would like to add a loud AMEN! to Protect the Rock's comments and thanks to Heidi for your encouragement. 

    To those of you that are hesitant about Foster-adopt.  The children are worth the risk!  Don't let the possibility of losing the child stop you from considering that option. Don't let the possibility of children with severe emotional problems stop you.  They are worth the risk!  I have learned so much from my fos-adopt children and I have no regrets. It is not easy and sometimes feels like an emotional scourging. 

    I cant imagine the pain I would suffer if we lost our little girl back to her birth mother.  But she is worth the risk and I know that God grace will be sufficient for whatever his will provides. 

  • Guest

    In a way, they are your own.  And, in two ways, they will never be.  First, we don't own people.  Secondly, they will never be your biological children, and you will never take the place of their birthparents, and most especially their birthmothers.  I don't mean to sound brutal, but this is the truth.  God is Truth itself, and we must always align ourselves with the truth if we wish to do His Will.  As an adoptee, I have lost so much of myself because this truth was ignored or treated lightly by my A-parents.  It is too complex and too preverbal and way too profound to explain at all especially in an email, but it is something that must be experienced.

     

    For years, I did not think it made any difference that I was adopted.  It has made a profound difference.  Adoption is always a solution to a problem:  the problem that a mother cannot or will not care for her unborn biological child.  God obviously designed children to be with their biological parents; otherwise, if we could all just "love" anyone's children, surrogacy, IVF, and other repro technologies, would be fine—-after all, if the biological connection means nothing, then what difference could it make?  FAct   is that God created an intricate process whereby an infant is programmed to recognize his mother's FACE (which he has never "seen") a few moments after birth!  He knows her voice, her smell, and it is terrifying for him when the switch takes place. The babies whose lives were so manipulated as mine was (albeit perhaps with all good intentions) have suffered a grave injustice by a switch of mothers and then the pretense that it makes no difference that is later required of those children and adults who were adopted.  They are even expected to grateful!  My adoptive parents are good people.  They love me and I love them.  It may have been best that I was separated from birth mom; may be not.  But the title of the article bothered me the most.  Neither mother is wounded in that silent, preverbal, profound, and unacknowledged way that all adoptees are, whether they realize it or not.  Babies grieve and no one even knows it.  I recommend highly Nancy Verrier's book (She is an adoptive mom who acknowledged her adoptive daughter's loss as the profound  loss it was and I admire her tremendously) "The Primal Wound" and also "Coming Home to Self", the latter being about the profound neurobiological alterations that the loss of birthmom causes. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but God loves these little babies and sees their profound suffering, and even though adoption is a blessing when it has to happen, it always comes on the heels of the most profound loss—the loss of birthmom.  Just like people used to think preemie's didn't need anesthesia for procedures, and that babies being aborted don't feel pain, the lie that babies are fooled by the switch of moms and don't suffer, needs to be laid aside in favor of the full truth about this loss.  The complete picture of adoption for the adoptee is both the blessing and the pain, and the fact, that each adoptee has two mothers, and two fathers, and that only the gravest of circumstances warrants children being separated from the birth mom especially.  When it must happen, God gives grace and love in abundance to adoptive moms, who yes, are true moms, because they mother, but will never be the ony moms their adopted children have.

     

    .

     

    The fact that  the adoptive parents are loving, devoted, and attached to their children

  • Guest

    Kathleen,

    I write as a biological father of seven and yet still a father of nine.

    If we try to see being a parent or growing up as a child in as anything other than a total gift of ourselves for the beloved, then we will end up disillusioned.

    When you try to compare victimhood you look at it from the wrong angle and will fail to see the joy.

    We are made to give ourselves away in self-sacrificing total self-giving love. And we will be unhappy until we see that.

  • Guest

    Kathleen,

         I'm very sorry for the pain that you have experienced.  You are completely correct that if we didn't have a fallen world, there would be no need for adoption.  Biological parents would always be able to step up to the plate to raise their kids, and there would be no infertility.  I don't think anyone here is implying that adopted babies are fooled by the switch of mothers, or that they don't suffer.  Certainly, the transition for a newborn might not be as painful initially as the transition for an older child who has already bonded with his/her biological mother (or whoever has been raising him up until that point).  But eventually every adopted child is going to have identity issues, and will have a longing for his/her biological roots.  I'm sure it's a pain that never goes away, just as the pain of my infertility and the babies I have lost will never completely go away until the day I die.  Prior to your post, most of the posts have focused on adoption from the parent's prospective rather than from the child's perspective, which is why the issues you bring up have really not been addressed yet.  But I'm sure that none of the adoptive parents who have posted would deny the loss that an adopted child experiences.   I'm sorry if you feel that we have minimized this;  it was not my intention and I'm sure it wasn't anyone else's intention.  Speaking for myself, and I think I reflect the feelings of many, I think that we were reacting to the predominant mainstream attitude that minimizes the parenthood of adoptive parents.  While adoptive parents don't have the biological connection (which, as you point out, is important), they are still parents who love their adopted children just as much as any biological children that they would  parent.  I know many families who have both adopted and biological children, and they all passionately maintain that they love their adopted and biological children equally.  

          I have not yet adopted, but hope to do so in the near future.  If I am blessed to be able to, I will never, ever pretend to my child that I am his/her only mother.  My child will be fully aware that he/she has two mothers, and that each of us is 100% a mother in our own right.  The first mother will earn that title both by biology and by making the ultimate in generous sacrifice by paying dearly so that her child can have a better life.  However, I will never refer to my adopted child as someone else's child.  As you say, we can't own a human being, but for lack of a better term we do refer to "MY parents", My husband", MY children", and I will refer to my adopted child as "MY child".  Her birthmother will have every right to do the same.  

         You say that adoption should be a last resort, and that ideally a child should be raised by his/her biological mother whenever possible.  I agree with you about it being a last resort, but I think that you and I might disagree about where that last resort is.  I think that in most cases, a child would be better off being adopted by a loving mother and father than being raised by a young, uneducated single mother (due to financial issues and the lack of a father figure).  Either scenario is going to cause pain to the child:  in the adopted scenario, there will be identity issues and a sense of loss, in the  other scenario there will be financial issues and the lack of a father figure.  I feel that in this case the benefits of the adoptive option outweigh the negatives.   

  • Guest

    I want to add that I think adoption is God's "plan B".  Before the fall, all humans were fruitful and able to raise their biological children.  After the fall, God has found a way to transform the less than ideal situations of infertility and unwanted pregnancies into a situation that is a blessing to all involved, despite the fact that some of the pain remains.  There is some healing in the joining together of babies who have lost their parents and parents who have lost their babies (or the ability to procreate).

  • Guest

    My 10 year old son was taken away from his mother at birth and I am aware of his profound loss.  He suffers from many physical and emotional problems and they will be with him for the rest of his life. 

    That still does not change the truth of the fact that God loves each of us in the most profound way.  His grace is sufficient for all of our needs if we just trust in him.  Mary is our mother in the most profound way and she will guide us to her Son and to the Father.  Trust in God's will for your life.  He has numbered the hairs on your head and he will provide for all your needs. 

    Use your sorrow and pain in a redemptive way by uniting it with the suffering of Christ on the Cross and it will be turned eventually to the most profound Joy and Happiness.Smile

    I will recommend some good books . . . Matthew, Mark, Luke, John etc, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Divine Mercy in my Soul,  The Lives of the Saints,  How to pray the Rosary, etc . . .

     

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