Maybe I see the world through a different set of lenses, but I have hesitated on writing this for some time for fear of offending some of the readers who will encounter this blog. I have come to a point, though, that the offence is something I am willing to face in light of speaking my opinion.
I have met a couple of individuals at different times over the last three years who are surrogate parents. I thought this was quite admirable; Taking the associated risks of pregnancy to help another couple fulfill their desires to grow a family.
After all, that’s the ‘right’ thing to think isn’t it?
Something just didn’t sit right with me. I couldn’t pinpoint it and I wrestled with it for some time. If this was such a loving and selfless act, why was I struggling to embrace the concept?
I am pretty sure I have figured it out and it’s a two-fold response.
First, while there are mixed reports on the exact number, it is safe to say that more than 25,000 children in Canada are without parents and are awaiting adoption . That’s more children than the entire country of Palau. (Useless fact: There are four countries with a population under 25,000)
These are children who are in the care of child welfare agencies as well as those adoptable through private adoption agencies. These are children who have faced the loss of parents through accidents, abuse, neglect or by parental choice to sign over parental rights.
These are children who need love. These are children who need family.
There are risks to raising any child, and more so when a child is coming from a potentially traumatic past. I read on one website a response “Many people prefer international adoption to domestic adoption since it comes with very few uncertainties” Really? Few uncertainties? With an adoption in Canada as much information as possible is gathered to ensure that prospective parents are equipped with the needed information to embrace a child into their family. I’m not clear on how overseas adoptions are as thorough. Maybe someone can help me better understand?
Second, I think this speaks to our culture’s “need” to have our “own.” Take this anonymous reader response on adoption versus surrogate:
“Personally, I would want a surrogate. But only if it was my egg implanted. (do people do that?) I would not want to adopt, because I’d want a baby that was genetically mine and my husbands, but I never want to experience a pregnancy.”
Genetically mine. Is it possible you could love an adopted child as much as a biological child? I sure hope so! My wife and I didn’t give birth to Cooper, our black lab dog, but he’s our dog. My wife and I didn’t give birth to Dozer, our pug, but when he died we lost a part of our family. Now don’t misunderstand, I am not equating a dog to a child, but I hope you see the point. There are many animal adoption agencies because the need is recognized.
Children though, maybe not in so much need? More than 78,000 children are in the care of child welfare organizations in Canada. Almost half have parents who have lost parental rights according to Canada’s Waiting Kids, now living in foster care or institutional placements.
An adopted child is no less “mine” than an adopted child. Ask my parents. They adopted me and I am theirs through and through.
Oh, there it is…that’s why this issue hits home for me. I am an adopted child. I was chosen.
Yup. It’s a personal matter. When Butch and Ellen had me it was a time of celebration, just as it is for many new parents. Due to complications, Ellen died just 15 days after my birth, and Butch was left as a single dad. He wasn’t ready for that. He couldn’t be ready for that. It wasn’t in their plans. Nonetheless, he was facing a time in his life of celebration and sorrow. Joy and grief. In time, he made the decision to give me up to my parents.
They knew each other. Butch and Ellen, and Derek and Vicki were friends. They traveled together, Ellen and Vicki went to school together. They were each at each other’s weddings. The tie was tight. Derek and Vicki willing accepted me into their lives as their son at Butch’s request. (Maybe one day I will tell the whole story on my blog.)
And so it was. In fact, I was to be the first of many. As circumstances were though, I ended up as the only child. The chosen only son to Derek and Vicki. I am not “genetically” theirs, but I am theirs. And they are mine. No amount of science or medical intervention would change that.
Another anonymous poster said this:
“We adopt because we want a family and to give those without a family, a family. It has nothing to do with our DNA, or being pregnant. There are so many children already here that need a loving family, a regular child-hood. We would never be so selfish as to pay someone to give birth to our child when there are millions without a mommy & daddy.”
I see adoption as destiny. Accept it or reject it, it’s your call. But as an adopted kid, sure am glad I was accepted.
Everyone has a story. Do you have an adoption story? Share it at firstname.lastname@example.org