Wednesday, March 2, 2011
It's easy to be a heretic
My little rant for the day: It irks the snot out of me when folks conclude that adoptees and original mothers have no right to think critically about adoption. It's indicative once again of how others often view first moms and adoptees in a condescending and patronizing way, completely ignoring the emotional and social complexities of our situations. Even more maddening is when it's our own fellow adoptees and first moms that do this.
The above "rant" was inspired by an insightful observation (and the discussion that ensued in the comments section) made by Ashleigh at her blog, Not Just A Birth Mom. Ashleigh wrote:
People recommend that you do not separate a puppy from it's mother for at least six weeks.... This is for the overall physical and emotional health of the mother and the puppy..... So why is it that when it comes to human infant adoption, we try to remove the babe from its mother as he is drawing his first breath? Why is it that we can't extend the same courtesy to a MOTHER and her CHILD that we do to a DOG? Just a thought.
One of the readers, another birth mom ironically enough, responded to Ashleigh's observation with the following:
I used to have quite a bit of respect for you. Now I am finding your posts to be frustrating. You are sitting here bashing on the same thing you did TWICE! If you didn't support it why did you carry the same thing out twice?? Just wondering.
First of all, Ashleigh was not bashing adoption, but rather offering an honest and valid inquiry. Second of all, why does her status as a "birth mom" prohibit her from thinking critically about the practice of adoption? Again, it's the whole, what I call, "gratitude gospel of adoption." Adoptees and birth moms if not completely neglected in the first place are resigned to only being allowed to feel nothing but gratitude and unequivocal warm fuzzies for adoption. Anything else is treated as heresy. But the "plight" of adoptive parents is generally met not only with understanding and compassion but is also lauded as a noble, living martyrdom.
I'm not bashing adoptive parents nor am I saying that they've got it easy. Being an adoptive parent certainly comes with its own set of issues. But I've said it before, and I'll say it again--the current status quo is one that favors and upholds adoptive parents as the unquestionable heroes while it ignores, at best, and demeans, at worst, adult adoptees and original moms that question past and current adoption practices.
As I stated in response to the referenced reader's comment:
Lordy, people, there's nothing wrong with healthy, constructive criticism or asking questions based on honest observation. And the last time I checked nothing in this world is perfect, especially the practice of adoption.
My adoption situation is good overall but that doesn't mean I don't have a right to analyze and criticize it honestly, not to be a poopyhead, but for the sake of reform and positive change...
Thank you, Ashleigh for making this observation. It's a very insightful point. If we show a mother dog & her babies that much consideration & sensitivity, it stands to reason we should show even more to our fellow human beings.
And as Amanda (The Declassified Adoptee) responded, "What in the world is wrong with what she [Ashleigh] wrote? Why is it so heinous to discuss what might be healthier for mother and child that might not be currently suggested and respected in adoption."
Exactly, Amanda, what's so heretical about wanting to consider what might be best for a mother and her child? Apparently, everything BUT a mother giving her child up to be raised by a set of complete strangers.
Now, if that's not irony, I don't know what is.