So anyone who runs in these neat little circles of ours, knows that today is National Adoption Day. Of course, everyone has their own meaning of this day, their own agenda to promote, their own story to tell. And hundreds, maybe even thousands of new families were created today. Good luck to each and every one of them.
I know that I proudly wore my "Survivor" necklace today, and my neat little button that reads "Adoption...It's about Love" and talked to quite a few people about the pros and cons of adoption today. I had a blast with it. It is a day to celebrate many things, and also a day to raise awareness.
As there are many things wonderful, there are also many things in adoption that are wrong, and need to be brought to the surface. Giving Adult Adoptees access to their original birth certificates is one injustice that comes to mind. Finding a way to legally enforce open adoption agreements is another. Making legal representation and counseling MANDATORY for birthmothers is another that is close to my heart. I know I sent a well worded letter to the bastards over at MCAO this afternoon. Even if it has no impact on them, it had a tremendous impact on me. What it ethical is ethical, regardless of the law. I cannot fight the big guns alone...and the thousands of us that are fighting (though sometimes it feels like its in vain) are STILL raising awareness, even if progress hasn't quite caught up to it.
That's what I want to talk about...albeit briefly, because its late, I'm tired, and work is going to be calling my name far earlier than I will be awake for.
Aware implies knowledge gained through one's own perceptions or by means of information.
Say for example, you feel and act a certain way, and then read a book, or see a movie, or hear a lecture, and you learn something new. You become AWARE. Or, say you find a friend's diary, or discover their blog, and read all about how they feel about something very important to you both. You can no longer "pretend" that you have no idea how they are feeling. All of a sudden (or as the definition implies "by means of information") you are AWARE of the effect of your actions on another human being.
I know that over the course of my adoption journey, I made many mistakes simply because I knew no better. I wasn't aware. But since having gained that knowledge, I have righted many of my personal wrongs. At least the ones I had control over. I emailed the "other couple" I could have chosen over L* and M* and let them know how sorry I was not to have given them the closure they deserved by telling them I had chosen someone else. I had simply stopped emailing them, but after learning how that affects hopeful adoptive couples, I seized the opportunity, sent an apologetic email a couple of months ago, and actually received a response that was warm, and beautiful, and welcoming. They were great, and we are now FB friends...lol. I have done other things too, but again...it's late. I'm rambly. Way over tired and still fighting off a nasty cold.
My point is...(and of course I have a favorite quote for it!!!)
"You can have a fresh start any moment you want...For this thing called failure is not the falling down...It is the staying down."
Ethics in Adoption start at home. With each of us. And especially in adoptive couples. I won't debate "what is best for the children" or what you may or may not have envisioned in your life with regards to open adoption. There needs to be change. We can stand behind laws, and fears, and insecurities all day long...for years even...but I encourage each of you to look at your adoption situations and ask if you are showing enough compassion, empathy, symathy, and integrity. Miscommunications WILL occur. Relationships will grow, and wither, and grow again. If you know your actions are destroying another human being, reconsider them!!!
NEVER forget, that adoption looks great on paper, but in reality it affects human beings. Real life, living, breathing people. The children, the parents on both sides...families. Lives are built on promises, and destroyed when our morals are over run by our insecurities. Things will change. Feelings will change. Eventually, Laws will change.
But as humans...as mothers...we should be able to use our "awareness" to make adoption better.At least in my opinion.
And YES. I am talking to you. :)