Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Advocate the Right Way ... EDUCATION!

Someone asked me the other day..."so if you advocate for adoption then you would talk a mother into adoption, because yours has been good so far?" I did not even think about it. "No...not at all." My reply surprised my friend and I know that there were more questions behind it. "I would be more than happy to talk to some one in that position, but I certainly would not think about talking them INTO adoption. You have to know it all going in, and since most do not and cannot fathom what is going to happen to them in the first place ... who am I to tell them what they should do." And I never would.

If I had to talk to someone about adoption, I would most definitely begin with the hardships. I would have appreciated someone telling me the real story, the whole story to begin with. I had good examples in my realm of family and friends that helped me make my own decision to adopt. My life is not theirs. They may have their own convictions as to why they are thinking of adoption, but I would be sure to let them know that it is a life long, never ending search for peace. There is no mistaking that. I would also be sure that they knew exactly their rights, what they can and cannot ask for as far as contact goes, and I would be doubly sure that they ask as many questions as they can about who it is that will be caring for their child. In this day and age, you have that right. You can ask to know things, there is no reason not to ask. Tell them your fears, tell them what you really want as far as contact goes ... but be sure to also let them know that you may change your mind about contact and would like to revisit the terms every two years to make sure they are still working for everyone.

If I had to talk to someone about adoption, I would let them know that it is a heartache like no other. Nothing can stop the wondering, the heavy thoughts of ..."what if?" ... the utter feeling of being so very alone in such a great big world. I would tell them that sometimes it takes a while for wounds to heal, and there is the good chance that some my never be fully closed. It is a dark journey from the birth parent point of view, good some days, just unbearable on others. I would make sure that she knew exactly what she is asking for. A lifetime of looking in. A lifetime of waiting. A lifetime of walking without your heart.

And at the end of that conversation, I would follow it up with all the mistakes I made along the way, what I learned, how I handled important issues. I would then add that 2 decades later I am a very healthy, strong, proud and content mother who did all that she could to make sure her children knew that she was thinking of them, wondering about them, cheering them on from a distance and always walking with them in her heart. I would tell her that with a lot of work, some compromise, a butt load of communication and good intent have only left me with many triumphant victories that this heart is so very thankful to have.

So don't always assume that I am going to turn everyone into me, the happy birth mother. I am more than willing and driven to educate any woman about the real life as a mother removed. After all, I could not call myself an advocate if I did not share the truth.

The Best For You


A Life Being Lived said...

Amen, Kelsey!!! The crucial difference about being able to accept any huge decision or life changing choice is being educated and know as much as you can about it if at all possible. I actually devoured your blog when I was considering adoption to learn about "being a birthmom". It didn't sway me to place but helped give me lots of food for thought. You brought up lots of practical and real issues. In a way I felt like we were having a "conversation" :) However I always knew that you were writing about YOUR experience and that I couldn't translate it to my life, I would have to make the decision on my own and with my own reasons.