Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Question Answered, and It Was Tough One

Topic: Unintended Pregnancy
Question asked: "I've been following you on Facebook and have read your blog. As an adoptive mom, I love reading your insight and that of other birth parents. We also have an open adoption arrangement with my daughter's birthmom. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm writing privately to you because I'm a bit confused by something and hope perhaps you can help explain it to me or perhaps put it out on your FB page anonymously on my behalf so that other birthmoms can respond. I'm really trying to understand without any judgement on my part.

The scenario is this: My college grad niece became unexpectedly pregnant her first year out of school. The father of the baby is not involved by mutual agreement and she is raising my great niece on her own. Fast forward to when my niece found out she was unexpectedly pregnant. My niece was comfortable with her decision to go through with the pregnancy and raise her child alone. In private one day I asked her if she herself ever contemplated making an adoption plan given what she knew about us and our struggles with infertility and how we eventually adopted. Her response blew me away. She said, and this is almost a verbatim quote, "I never contemplated adoption. I would probably have had an abortion if I didn't decide to keep the baby." She said it with as unemotional a face as I've ever seen. I was stunned with both her response and demeanor about it. Just for the record, I am not anti-abortion. It was the ease at which she said she would have had an abortion over adoption that to this day has not sat well with me. Especially since she apparently loves her child enough to go through the pregnancy and raise her.

I'm curious if this is a somewhat common response to a question like this, and what is the logic behind it. I know you don't have all the answers, but you have impressed me with your knowledge and insights."

I responded after a lot of thought:
So, I myself was not shocked when I read your niece's response to your question. Not at all. Here is why I think young women think this way when it comes to being unexpectedly pregnant. Our society really has a problem with adoption and all that goes with it. There seem to be more and more stories of adoptions gone awry in the media, and unfortunately the negative parts of all these stories revolve around the birth parents. They are drug addicts. They are crazy. They are too young to raise these children on their own. They do not have the mental capacity to raise a child when they themselves are children. It is just mind baffling to me that as soon as there is a story about a problem with adoption, it is the birth parents that are the source of the problem. Do these folks reporting these stories EVER look into their side of the story? Do they take time to ask the questions that do not want to be asked? No they do not, not very often at least.

But, the media has no problem reporting about abortion. Think about it, abortion comes up just about every single time there is an election. Abortion comes up when talking about health care ... and that one really gets me! Abortion and Health Care should not be in the same sentence if you ask me. Abortion comes up in such detail, such nonchelant conversation that it is almost as if abortion is more accepted than adoption these days. So, so sad. When you take that into consideration and the IMMENSE coverage it gets in newspapers, magazines and television then why would it not be so acceptable for our youth to think about? What is keeping them from researching the alternatives, the other options available to them when it comes to unexpected pregnancy? The fact that there is so MUCH information about abortion, yet little about adoption when you walk into Planned Parenthood with questions and guidance as to what to do in such a difficult situation. If it is so acceptable to talk about in all these forums with adults, then these younger ones think that abortion is much more acceptable than adoption.

Not to mention, if abortion is chosen then there is far less of a chance that you will have to explain yourself and your actions over and over again in life. If you have an abortion, only you and the people who did it are the wiser ... and those that are in the room with you helping you with it are bound by confidentiality and will not be the ones posting your name on an "I had an abortion" list. Many,. many women take this into consideration when thinking about their choice of what to do. Abortion = confidentiality. Where as if you carry a child, well that is pretty hard to hide from everyone. The bump is there and once seen the most common question is "Oh, when is your baby due?" followed by "do you know what it is? What will you name it?" Those are pretty hard questions to answer when you know that you are thinking about adoption and even harder to try to explain to someone your reasons for choosing to give the life that you have been given to another family to raise.

Even more unfortunate is, because of the lack of education about adoption the responses that a woman receives from people when she mentions that she is contemplating adoption are more than often negative. At least that is what I encountered. People had no problem telling me what a whore I was and that if I made my bed then I should lie in it. Others told me that I was a bad person for pushing my responsibilities onto someone else, that I was horrible for not loving my child enough to raise them. Sheer ignorance and giant cajones' these people had to say such nasty things to someone who was truly doing what was best for her child. (and believe me, I STILL get slammed for saying the previous statement just about every single day of my life on the Internet. So many against that mentality, doing what was best for the child.)

So, when you put these two perspectives together I would say SURE it is easier to just go out and have an abortion than to face the rest of your life with ridicule, ignorance and down right nastiness about the person that you are. Abortions are much easier to hide than adoptions. People forget about abortions much easier than real, live children. And unfortunately it is very clear that our media, society and leaders of the free world would much rather talk about abortion in DETAIL than to open the door to learning about how adoptions can not only work, but help all sides in this great big world and life we live.

I hope that this has answered your question somewhat. Please keep in mind that I am only one person with one opinion. It may be something completely different for your niece, but I would bet that there are some things that I said that could be true in her case.

Thank you for asking me this, it has really given me reason to pause and think.


A Life Being Lived said...

Ooooh- very very very very good post! Hard topic! As a birthmom myself I can tell you that my #1 choice was to raise my child. I did not want to have an abortion so my second choice was to raise her. I did not think about adoption either. In my mind, it was unthinkable to go through a pregnancy (single and alone, and all that comes with it) and then "give my baby away". I couldn't imagine that scenario at all. Now there are women who know the minute they face an unintended pregnancy that they will choose adoption. I am not one of them. I only really came to my adoption decision the month or two before my daughter was born. After preparing to be a single mom and adding up the resources I had (financial, family, the father's support or lack thereof) I realized that there was a baby coming into the world who deserved everything, and I couldn't give that to her. Not all birthmothers go into their pregnancies thinking adoption right away. Kelsey you are also right- an abortion is a private thing, it doesn't "show", you don't get asked questions about it. Being openly pregnant people ask questions, form opinions, etc. I have had friends ask me point blank, Wwell if you were going to give your baby up for adoption why didn't you just choose abortion? It seems easier." I am sure it would have been "easier" in some respects. Some women who have abortions have regret and sadness and the "what ifs"....but it's not the same as carrying a child to term and then placing a child for adoption. In my mind abortion wasn't for me and it was also the "easy way out". I owed this child, who did not ask to be conceived, safe passage into this world. Up until my last month I was planning on being a single mother. The heartbreak is that odds and circumstances were stacked against me, and the grace is that adoption was the way I could give my child what she needed.

Envyshope said...

YAY! Good for you! Excellent response. So glad you had the courage to say this!

birthMOM said...

very very common response in unwed single mothers.

and i agree, abortion is much more mainstream than adoption, and much more of a regular life experience to cross off the bucket list than adoption is, its just what our society does when women get pregnant who decide theyre not ready yet.

birthmothertalks said...

For me personally I don't regret not choosing to have an abortion but I do regret not parenting my child. I would have to admit if pregnant and two cards were on the table abortion or adoption, I would choose abortion.
As for an adoptive parent asking someone who is raising their child to see if they ever considered adoption based on the fact that they see it from your side of not being able to carry a child to term. I just don't think women are thinking about the couples who can't have children. They are thinking more about their children. I could be wrong though.

Anonymous said...

Wow. As an adopted boy this is a view I never really looked at. It sure makes me realize just how much my birth parents truly loved me. Seals the deal that I will have to thank them one day soon for the sacrifice they made so that I could have a better life. (A 30 year old letter they wrote me said it would be okay) I would just like to say thank you to all the birth parents, especially moms, who decided to give their child up for adoption. I knew I was lucky, but this puts a whole new perspective on it for me.