Monday, March 15, 2010
Gift of a Child
The topic of adoption is one that is close to my heart, and I wear my heart on my sleeve. My grandson, Michael, came to our family by way of adoption. My daughter, Molly, is fond of saying there are lots of ways for Heavenly Father to grow your family.
Molly and Jim wanted a family with all their hearts. There are hundreds of hoops to jump to adopt a child. It seems quite odd to me that we set a standard for adoptive parents that is about 100 times above the norm for those having children the old fashioned way. Before I became pregnant with my children, no one came to inspect whether my smoke alarms were working, whether I kept a knife caddy on the kitchen counter, or whether there were locks on the cupboards. No one asked me how much money I had in the bank, how I felt about college, or whether I would be a working mother. No one came to inspect the nursery, or ask me how many children I planned to put in the nursery at the same time. No one demanded that I be certified in CPR and take first aid classes. Yet, Molly and Jim were willing to make their lives an open book to perfect strangers in order to have this opportunity.
The adoption process has changed over the years, in an effort to make birth parents more comfortable with the process. I will take a lot of flack for saying this, but I personally don't believe that the changes have all been for the good. (Personal opinion is allowed--it's my blog--and some members of my own family don't agree with me.) It used to be that once an adoptive couple were cleared for adoption they were placed on a waiting list. When their number was up, a child was placed in their home. Now, in almost all cases the birth mother or the birth parents choose the adoptive couple. While this may be more comfortable for the birth parents, the reality is that we now have adoptive parents "selling themselves" to birth parents--who in most cases are quite young and immature. The adoptive couple's profile will be put on a website for the birth parents to view. I have personally seen things like, "We live five miles from Disneyland," and "We have season tickets to the Los Angeles Dodgers." To their credit, Molly and Jim didn't buy into that. They took a chance at honesty and put up profiles that were a very honest picture of who they really are, and what type of parents they would make.
Birth parents are not only allowed, but encouraged to keep in contact with adoptive parents. Think about this please. Who are the parents? Who makes the decisions? Kids already try to undercut Mom's decision by going to Dad and vice versa. Now we're going to add one or two more people to the mix? What happens if the adoptive couple get a job transfer across country? Will they then be sued by the birth parents who thought they could show up on the doorstep every couple of weeks for visitation?
While Molly and Jim were open to a lot of options, fortunately, Michael's birth mother is a wonderful woman who saw the pitfalls of staying in Michael's life. We wrote a book for Michael to explain to him how he came to our family. In that book we refer to his birth mother as "Righteous Marci." Molly and Jim have some information about Marci that they are saving for a time when Michael may want to know more about her. Someday as an adult maybe Michael will want to find and thank Righteous Marci for the unselfish gift of family. For now, however, the only contact is occasional photographs which are sent to the adoption service in case Righteous Marci wants to see them.
Adoption is a gift of life. It is the most precious gift that any human being can give another. It may also be the hardest decision that anyone will ever make. My family has learned to respect these birth parents, sometimes very young, for the incredible awesome decisions they make. We have love in our hearts for them. We pray for them. We have hope for them. We have faith that the decisions they make, though most difficult, will be the best thing for their lives, and for the child's life.
Now for my shameless plug: I'd love to have more grandchildren. Molly and Jim are ready to grow their family again. If you know someone who is pregnant and looking at options, please give them this information: