I’d like to start this by saying I understand your feelings are hurt. I imagine that encountering the online family preservation community was like a slap in the face.
I’m pretty sure that’s because you’ve been told all your life what a blessed and booful and beneficent thing adoption is…for people like you. And I doubt you’ve questioned that very much. I’m writing this to tell you it is time to start questioning that, if only for your future adoptee’s sake, because your future adoptee will be the product of pain and loss.
I know you want your own child, and I know it will seem very cruel to you when I ask you to perform the following thought experiment:
1) Think about what it would be like to bear your own child out of your own body, to have what you so long for.
2) Ask yourself: Who would willingly let go of that precious child? Who would willingly give it away?
The answer is and always has been “almost nobody.” The only reason most “birth mothers” win that title is that they felt they had no other choice. What you stand to benefit from, what you hope and pray for, what you literally describe yourself as entitled to is someone else’s unthinkable tragedy.
I’m not even going to talk much about what adoption is for the adoptee here, because there’s only so long a blog post can be. Just think about the woman you expect to willingly hand over her child to you (and then, as you say, “be respectful” of you…should you stoop to an open adoption…if you must).
I asked you to imagine that because you describe first mothers’ regret over losing their children as “blame-shifting.” You really seem to believe that if a woman relinquishes a child, it’s because she had a free and uncoerced choice to do so. We live in a society where women earn less than men and our reproductive choices are constantly challenged; yet when a woman gives up her own flesh and blood, you seem to think she is a free agent.
You are “blame shifting.” You are blaming women for the very misfortune you expect to benefit from.
If, as you say, you believe adoption can be about “finding homes for children,” then you should seek out an existing child who needs a home. Do not write “Dear Birthmother” letters to pregnant women, do not rent billboards with messages aimed at pregnant women, do not put ads aimed at pregnant women in the Penny Saver, do not pay a pregnant woman’s medical expenses, do not start a website telling pregnant women what you can give their babies.
If taking in a child who really needs a home is so unacceptable to you because it might be temporary (or for any other reason), then don’t pretend you want to give a home to a child who needs one.
I believe you when you say infertility hurts, but these days there are simply not enough desperate women lacking reproductive choices out there to supply every couple who wants one with a child. Again, that is literally what you are complaining about: a shortfall of desperate women without reproductive choices. And you have the gall to claim such women have the advantage over you:
A person who is coming to adoption from a place of infertility is NOT in a position of power over anyone.
An infertile person is not in a position of privilege, no matter what these other groups might like to believe.
Infertility does not negate privilege. If you are well-off enough to consider adoption, you ARE in a position of privilege relative to the child’s first mother. How else could you adopt?
You live in a Western democracy. You are almost certainly white. You can realistically consider adopting. That means you either have access to a great deal of money or to the ability to borrow or otherwise obtain that money. I understand it may not feel that way, but you are incredibly privileged. To say you lack privilege because you’re infertile on a planet where women’s fertility has always been an instrument of our oppression is untrue and offensive.
[Critics] also place a moral judgement on a couple’s only alternative to parenthood and make adoption seem like it’s only being done to satisfy [APs’] selfish needs.
“Jane,” that is where you lost the last scrap of my sympathy . “Alternative to parenthood”? I was not my adoptive parents’ alternative to parenthood; I was their route to parenthood. They were and are (two of) my (four) parents. When you phrase it this way, you’re saying adoptive parenthood is not parenthood, and that is no attitude with which to raise an adopted child. While parenting adopted children is different from parenting biological children, it is certainly parenting. If you don’t think it is, you need to do some of those things the mean family preservation people might have told you to do, like get a pet, because what’s the diff? Pretending is pretending, isn’t it?
Why should my desire to become a parent [don’t you mean become an alternative to a parent?] be seen any differently [than the desire of fertile people]?
Because your desire literally depends on someone else’s loss, that’s why. I know I keep saying that. I’m saying it again because it is the point you keep missing and missing and missing.
As an infertile couple, we have the same right as anyone else to adopt and build a family.
That is true: You have the same a right to another woman’s baby or child that anyone else has, which is no right at all.
Know what might make infertility hurt a little bit less? Letting go of the (insane) idea that somewhere out there is a woman who is hatching a very special baby intended just for you. Because as long as you believe in her, you can believe in your entitlement to her offspring and her (also insane) desire to freely give them to you. And the more deprived you feel of what’s hers, the more you hurt.
The family you feel entitled to build is not rightfully yours. That (insane) idea is bullshit, and it always was bullshit. It seemed saner in the past because women had fewer rights and choices then. Adoption is an act that, were women accorded full human rights, would be so rare that the word would lose its current meaning. And while I suspect infertility hurts more than I can imagine, I think all the women who did not and do not want to relinquish their children are more important than that pain. And I think it’s many decades past time to kill the idea that anyone is literally entitled to a child if s/he can find a family tragedy to benefit from (and plunk down the bucks).
PS: I also think it’s over the top and unconstructive to call people who are not, for example, the Capobiancos “baby thieves,” but that’s beside the point.