Monday, November 5, 2012

Brought to you by the letter "N" for National Adoption Month

November amongst the pumpkin pies and cranberry stuffing marks National Adoption Month. For all of the NAM clueless less out there, don't feel bad.  I didn't know it even existed until this year.  What you'll also find amongst all of the perfect Thanksgiving recipes on the 'Net around this time is a ton of blogs writing on the subject of National Adoption Month.  It shouldn't surprise you to know that there are a bunch of birthmothers who hate it.  They hate the day, the idea of celebrating, the fanfare that adoption agencies put around it, the posts from adoptive families, if it says 'Adoption' and has the word 'Month' at the end, you can expect to be blasted with angst on their pages.  I read because I have to, you might want to save yourself the onslaught. 

Nevertheless, it brings something to mind that should be discussed if we are going to have to talk about it.  One birthmother's blog that I read recently did so rather poignantly, and while I could have done without the language I celebrate her intelligence and desire to tell the truth.  She called to mind what most birthmothers know. For the most part, what you will find is a stark lack of mention of the birthmother at all during this time of celebration.  Why I even  read the letter from our President declaring the month National Adoption Month. He failed to give even one line for the birthmother.  Not even a passing note of acknowledgement.

 I was invited recently to attend a dinner given by and adoption agency last month. It was their annual fundraiser.  I wasn't invited to speak and I am glad that I wasn't because the letters that I received in the mail leading up to the event were written in grand marketing splendor heralding the plight of the orphan and the opining of the waiting adoption family.  I would have reached for my box of tissues if I wasn't scanning the pages looking for that all too familiarly missing word in the document.  Down and down I read, one paragraph, two paragraph, three. She got a single line at the bottom of the letter. Two lines above the salutation.  She wasn't even worth an explanation I guess, just cover your bases by making sure she was included. If that is what you want to call it.  I decided that it wasn't worth my time since the only reason that adoptive couples can even have someone to adopt aside from DSS hardly seemed worthy enough to call to mind.  What a pity.

It's not all bad.  I had a good experience with my adoption as you all know and I am very comfortable with where I am at with my decision, her family and the days and months afterwards.  There is an overwhelming amount of birthmothers out there who aren't.  There is a staggering amount of them who were offered no aftercare following their adoptions.  80% of open adoptions close at the behest of the adoptive family with our without prior notification to the birthmother disclosing a reason.  Some have claimed coercion either by their families, clergy or adoption agencies prior to placement.  Celebrate? There are many who wail at the very idea, I can't say as I blame them. 

What it does call to mind is why I do what I do.  I want to make it a good experience for the ones facing a decision now and in the future.  I want to work with national organizations on how we can come together to make this a better decision for all involved, not just the ones who stand to gain something.  We need to run shady agencies out of town on the horse they rode in on.  We need to equip ministries and churches, along with other institutions with resources and materials to provide correct information on adoption and a valuable aftercare program for grieving birthmothers.  All this takes work and people willing to do it.

I am grateful for those who have made a positive impact and even more grateful who see a need for change and have made some positive steps to make it better.  I am grateful for those who write about their negative experiences because it has taught me a lot about what needs to change and the gravity of what the situation really is for the majority of birthmothers out there, young and old.  I am grateful for the hate mail and negative blog articles written about me because even in the chaos I can still read objectively, take a step back, evaluate the message and look at how we are coming across.  It has given us pause to see what changes we can make to bring about a clearer picture of what we are about and what we are trying to accomplish.  So you know what, Monica? Thanks.  

Will I feel like celebrating Adoption this month?  I have reason to be grateful.  I think I will just focus on giving thanks for what it is and what I have and look forward to celebrating a better tomorrow for birthmothers when it comes.  How's that?