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Adoption – The Hidden Prejudices?

November 1, 2009

As I was sitting, chatting with some fellow teachers, we got into the topic of menopause.  It had been rather light-hearted at first.  Lots of jokes about “personal summers” and so on.  Then, I shared how difficult it had been to hear that final pronouncement, …you are in menopause.  I had been harboring a tiny little spark in my heart that someday I might have a baby, a live, full term baby.  I knew it was not going to happen, but as long as I was having periods, it just might, right?

I then went onto talk about the comments we had gotten when we adopted our son.  Oh, what a wonderful thing to do,………you know you’ll get pregnant now…. and on and on. As I talked, I suddenly realized that the underlying implications of those comments were that adoptions were second best, that I was flawed, how sad I couldn’t have a baby of my own.  As I said it out loud, I realized it was true.  Another teacher said, well, isn’t that what you were doing?  If you couldn’t have a baby of your own, then  you adopted one, right?  It really hit something inside me, that is what people thought, wasn’t it?  I said, actually no, we had planned to adopt whether we had a birth child of our own or not.  She quickly stopped talking .  I also said our son, is our child!  I even have the paper work to prove it 🙂 The teacher next to me said that her sister was adopted and that I was “right on”!  High fives were exchanged.

It put my mind to thinking.  If we had given  birth to a  child, would we really have gone on to adopt as well?  I think we would have, but I can’t be sure.  When we adopted our son, we promised that we would go back and adopt a daughter as well.  It has been 6 years and we haven’t done that yet.  Our son has taken all our time and energy.  We hadn’t counted on what a wallop menopause would hit me with. 

It is surprising how quickly and at such odd times that we suddenly get little insights that we hadn’t thought of before.  I see now.  There is a little bit of prejudice regarding adoption.  It goes unrecognized, is very subtle, and not talked about. 

What do you think?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. mccgood permalink
    November 2, 2009 12:06 pm

    Wow , it’s like you have been living in my head. I saw your blog through another comment and decided to come visit yours thinking that I would read some funny stuff about school. I didn’t expect to see the first post about adoption, I didn’t expect to see the words “second best” the same words that my hubby are trying to get over as we make that choice to adopt.
    My blog is and never will be as thought provoking as your is but come on by if you would like.
    Thank you thank you thank you

    • November 4, 2009 7:49 am

      Dear mccgood – Thanks for the wonderful comments. You can not know how glad I was that you came across what you needed at the time you needed it. When my husband and I were talking about adoption, he seemed to have few concerns. I, on the other hand was reading everything I could get my hands on, having all kinds of worries and doubts, and so on. One of the things I read that has always stuck in my head and really helped me, was the idea that when you adopt you have to deal with the idea of dealing with the loss of your genetic line not going on. It really shocked me, but that was what I was thinking about. I love my husband and wanted a part of him to live on. The funny thing is, that our adopted son is a part of him that will live on. Our son talks like my husband, his dad! Our son walks like him, has picked up all kinds of funny little things that make me laugh when I see them on an 8yr old. He may have been sent to us via another womb, but he is our child!!!!!!!!!! I will look up the name of the two books that really helped me and send them to you when I get a chance! Good Luck!

  2. srlsfamily permalink
    November 2, 2009 1:05 pm

    Two very common themes. Actually, my Home study social worker talked to me about the second best theme during my first adoption. As a child, I always dreamed about having a large family. I almost never saw a husband in the mix…so maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyway, I tried some fertility treatments before I decided to adopt and so the social worker wanted to explore those feelings. Her point was that – for most people – adoption is second best …for various reasons …cuz it is harder, cuz it is not biological, etc. But it is also second best for the child…cuz children should be with their biological parents. For me, I had never thought of that and I took some time to process it. Now… I don’t think being second best is necessarily bad. It helps me to realize some of the issues my kids go through. It also doesn’t diminish how GOOD it actually is in our family.

    As for menopause, well…even as I was adopting the boys (at age 42) I had a glimmer that I would do one more fertility cycle. But, alas…I had regular periods until I brought them home and then…7 months without anything. The next few years I had mostly regular periods but eventually had testing show that I was totally menopausal. It is a disappointment. Both because of the biological connections but also because I knew that my path to a large family would be harder with having to do adoption over and over again.

  3. November 2, 2009 8:45 pm

    Hi, M(enopause)M(om)! Thanks for stopping by and linking to my blog—I will return the favor! Even though my future child hasn’t found me yet, I’m getting awkward comments similar to what you’ve mentioned in your post. Whenever someone tells me that I’m bound to get pregnant now that I’m trying to adopt, I have to stop myself from rolling my eyes.

    I can’t wait to read more of your story! Keep up the good work. 🙂

    —Megan at http://adventuresinadoption.wordpress.com/

  4. November 4, 2009 7:52 am

    Dear Megan, thanks for the encouraging words! I’ll keep checking in on you! Praying for your child to find you soon!

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