She thanked us and went on to write: "Also, since I know you and [fellow blogger]Lorraine are devoted to helping adoptees and birth mothers, I’d like to offer an adoptive parent perspective ... that may help you understand when adoptive parents are resistant [to reunions]." We eagerly accepted her offer and post her email here.
"Obviously, the desire to nurture is interwoven with a woman’s DNA. I once felt—and was encouraged to believe—that I had “enough” love to nurture and raise a child, and that child did not have to have to be biologically related to me. My love was “that big.”
"Of course, there is way more to it than that, but almost no one understands that. So, when your adoptive child has “issues,” you blame yourself. “What’s wrong with me? I must be a bad mother,” and you try harder. To get to a place where you can accept that you did all you could and that there are factors outside of you that have a pull on this child’s life takes a LOT of work. And unfortunately, most of that work has to be done solo because--I kid you not--NO ONE seems to understand. Think about it: Society always blames the parents if a child doesn’t “turn out right.” And if you say that the child is adopted, then YOU are the one who has issues; you sound like you are blaming the child. I think all those factors make many adoptive mothers more defensive and, I would guess, more resistant to a birth mother. You spent years raising a child because you wanted family, you wanted connection, you wanted what everyone seemed to have and took for granted.
"An adoptive mother has to accept that her child’s desire to reconnect with his or her birth mother has nothing to do with her personally, that it’s not a hit against her ability to mother. Knowing that your love alone isn’t “enough” can strike at a woman’s core values and sense of identity. Personally, I am way beyond that point, but I do see how that can be a problem for many adoptive mothers.
"My church (which is a huge mega-church) has an active pro-adoption ministry. People are adopting babies and young children, mostly from foreign countries, right and left. I have tried to talk to the woman in charge, to caution her that children aren’t puppies…that there are a lot of issues that all parties need to consider…and that raising an adopted child is not like raising a biological child. I am so sad to say that they don’t want to hear. I’ve also tried to talk with young moms I know who have newly adopted children to tell them things I’ve learned, things I would do differently from the very beginning, but, again, they don’t want to hear. I end up coming across like a case of sour grapes, and they are convinced that it won’t happen to them. Their kids won’t have issues because, again, their love will be “enough.” It makes me want to cry.
"Sorry for the long email. I just thought I’d pass along this perspective to a very complex issue. Again, I appreciate your help as I fight on to help my children find wholeness and peace. No small task."
Her words remind me of what clinical psychologist and adoptive mother Nancy Verrier wrote in The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child in 1997:
"Although adoption may be the best solution to the problem of children who cannot be kept by their biological parents, it is not like a fairy tale in which everyone lives 'happily ever after.' It is a difficult and complex process for everyone concerned. It deserves to be understood and honored as such. Denial and secrecy have no place in this process."It's sad that still today couple adopt knowing little about the impact of adoption on their children. Often, the only advice those who arrange adoptions offer adoptive parents is "take 'em home and love 'em." --jane