Clearly reading posts on the Internet about adoption is doing nothing more than filling me with fear and doubt. To get a more grounded persepective, I turned to my cousin.
Liz has lived through many aspects of the adoption world, from being in foster care to being adopted to having her own child (who is SO adorable!)
I asked Liz to tell us a little bit about the process and her thoughts about it. Listening to her, I realize that I tend to have fears to do something if anything could go even a little bit wrong. Which is most things in life. I struggle with actually acting and not holding back because of fear. Sure, some children who are adopted may have identity issues, but we all have issues of some kind and if you’ve done even a basic due diligence, they are very likely to be in a better position than they would have been before.
I think the way my aunt and uncle did it was challenging but worth it, with adopting out of foster care. Liz is such a success story and I’ve been impressed every day with what a great mother she is.
Anyway, enough with my rambling! Here’s what my cousin Liz has to say…
I was in the foster care system from age 4 until I moved in with my adoptive parents at age 7 and adopted at age 9. I believe I was exceptionally lucky because I had the most loving foster mother from age 5-7. When I was told I had to leave (because dss found parents for me) I was heart broken. I hated everyone, I threw a tantrum and cried for days. For the most part I believe in the system and that it can work, as it did for me! I just believe that the case loads are too much for each social worker.
For anyone who doesn’t know first hand about the foster care system I only have one request/piece of advice. Have no judgements about the person, their biological family or care giver. Do not listen to rumors because until you have been through the system first hand, either as a care giver or receiver.
Also, do not assume that whoever is adopted or within the foster care system has a gaping hole in their life or infinite longing to be with their biological family. I love my parents to no end.
When I became pregnant, everyone suggested abortion. Mostly because of my situation (lack of stability in any area of my life- relationships, housing, etc). I crossed that off immediately because I thought of everyone who couldn’t conceive and just how tragic it is that someone in my situation could so easily. I refused to, for lack of better wording, disrespect the miracle of pregnancy and my son.
Next step, once every on knew I was serious about not aborting my son was adoption. Open or closed. To be honest, I did some research and actually contacted a couple families looking. They were all fine and well but I just couldn’t imagine one day explaining myself to him or letting him think that I at any point did not want him in my life, as my biological mother tried explaining to me when we met, in my second trimester.
So, I let it go and accepted that I was going to be a parent and set forth in classes and learning as much as I could and reaching out to as many resources as possible too make sure I became the best mother I possibly could. And I did.
Adoption can be just as wonderful as giving birth, as I’ve been through both I can attest to this. When I was adopted and the judge let me bang that gavel, I remember a sense of Omg this is it, I never have to leave, I never have to worry about getting too attached.
I think that to give a child a permanent home with love and affection and stability, that they wouldn’t otherwise have is one of the most unselfish things anyone can do. Remember, it’s not the child bearing or donating sperm that makes someone a parent. It’s everything afterwards. I can never repay my parents for what they have done for me. Lord knows I put them through all the trials and tribulations an adolescent could put their parents through. Though they never conceived me and didn’t take me home from the hospital in a car seat, they proved a perfect match can be found in adopters and adoptees.