What’s the point of reimagining? Why bother? Especially when you feel struck down by the way life has turned out in spite of your best efforts. When you’re wondering what else is left for you and the life you had planned; that’s the very best time to reimagine.
How does this connect to a woman placing her child for adoption, as told in “Adopting a Family for You: A Love Story”? I can answer that. There may be no greater obstacle to reimagining your life than the one faced by the woman who finds herself in an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy. Pregnancy for any woman is a time of change and challenge. This is never truer than for the woman considering placing her child for adoption. She is choosing to become that most dreaded of things: the birth mother.
Becoming a birth mother in our society isn’t perceived in a positive light. The universe of women is cluttered with misinformation, distortion, and myths about who the birth mother is and what she’s all about. Often perceived as lazy, selfish, self-indulgent, unloving, and uncaring, the birth mom is the woman who “abandons” her own child. If you are the woman who adopts another woman’s child, you are a hero. Lovingly place your child into the arms of others to parent, and you become a villain. Even when you have chosen to give your child a better, safer life.
Not only do these sisters of ours find themselves in an unsupported pregnancy, but they find themselves in the undesirable position of being forever considered the woman who doesn’t care. The woman who gave away her child. This is true of birth mothers in infant adoptions. Mothers of older children who are placed for adoption and those adoptions where children are relinquished from foster care into homes face this almost insurmountable obstacle of self-perception as well.
Birth mothers must also overcome another lie: No one can love this child as much as I can. If that’s true, that means that if I can’t raise this child, no one should. Since I can’t love and parent this child–since I can’t give them the life they need–then no one can. And yet, the science is undeniable. Adoptive parents are well able to love an adopted child as their own, and they’ve been doing so for many years. In fact, the health and wellness statistics for children adopted into stable, two-parent households show that adoptees achieve higher than any other peer group aside from those raised in intact nuclear families.
The misconception that women who place their children into the arms of others to parent as villainous, weak, and uncaring needs to be erased. The reality is that these very strong, selfless women who place their child for adoption are possibly the most heroic women of all. It’s time for all of us to reimagine the birth mother who places her child for adoption.