17 September 2013

The imbalance of responsibility in Adoption

This is a new thought I have had so please bear with me as it is still in the process of completely forming in my head.  (The brain is a bit slow at the moment, so much going on IRL - ie outside adopto-land).

The discussions about infertility and adoption of late have given me a lot to mull over.

After posting my previous blog and receiving a comment on it, something clicked for me and that is there is an extreme amount of imbalance in how "responsibility" is placed in adoption.

The discussions regarding the "misplacing of blame on adoptive parents" etc has made me question why people view calling people to account for themselves in that way is so terrible when really all I am doing is redefining boundaries and lines that should never have been blurred in the first place and trying to find a balance between all parties involved.

In this world, we have this desire to 'fix' things.  To make neat and tidy packages out of situations we feel are messy.  And infertility is one of those situations.  It is messy in that it involves pain, heartbreak and loss.  It isn't something society is comfortable sitting with because we know there isn't really a proper solution for it - ie we cannot make an infertile person fertile again although I am sure it has been tried.  So society 'we' searches for the next best thing.  Ahh, a young woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy.  Who better?  Society deems her as not in a place to raise her child and so the two parties are pitted together to create a "neat" and "tidy" package.  Mother has baby, goes on with her life (supposedly, at least that is what society wants her to do) and the couple suffering infertility have a baby.  'Problem' solved!  Society breathes a sigh of relief and moves on.

BUT and this is a really huge BUT... it DOES NOT work.

In doing this, the responsibility of "fixing" an issue that actually CANNOT be fixed, ever, is placed on the shoulders of women in their most vulnerable time and also onto their children.  And in this, society absolves these couples suffering of ALL responsibility, making allowances for them, and giving them what they want because this situation must remain 'neat and tidy' at all costs.

In my previous post I linked Claudia's recent blog which raised a phenomenal amount of comments.  Over 300!  In these comments, those fighting adoption and calling sufferers with infertility to account for their own pain, we were compared to the KKK, Mein Kamf and racists.  However when mothers of adoption loss or adult adoptees quote passages about injustice from Martin Luther King for example and talk about human rights violations we get slammed from EVERYWHERE.  We are not allowed to speak up.  Our voices are stomped on by society in general because by speaking out and drawing attention to the fact the "neat" and "tidy" solution actually has caused a bigger mess and is NOT a solution, it places responsibility back onto society and they really don't want that.  Because it forces them to accept there are things in life that simply cannot ever be fixed.

Calling people to account or to own their pain is not actually being nasty.  It is not being mean.  It is doing something sufferers of all different traumas are asked to do the world over.  It is not saying they have "to get over it".  NO WAY!  But it is saying they need to recognise their are boundaries to how we relate to people even when we suffer.  We cannot use our pain as an excuse to go out and cause harm.  And regardless of where you sit with adoption, making allowances for couples with infertility to cause an unnecessary separation between a mother and her baby, is allowing them to use their pain to cause harm.  It is allowing that pain to spill over from their lives and into the lives of a stranger's family.  That isn't okay.  It is wrong.  And this needs to be recognised and understood by those pushing couples to adopt instead of helping them learn to live with their pain.  Rather than creating a demand for unavailable infants, rather than asking couples to shift their personal responsibilities onto the shoulders of someone in a vulnerable position, there needs to be recognition that infertility causes untold pain and heartache and there is NO fix for that.  Even adoption is not really a fix, merely a distraction, but it doesn't fix infertility.

Just as I was sitting down to write this and was checking Facebook as I often do, a blog post written by Adoptive mom Margie popped up and so I headed over to read it.  I really appreciate this post she has written and it raises some more very interesting points.  Head over and have a read as I feel this issue is so much more than infertility vs fertility... adoptive parents vs natural parents.  You can find it here.

I am going to leave this here for now.  Like I said, this is still part of a long thought process that is going on in my head so I may pick this up again some other time.  In the meantime, I will end here.