What is the Measure of a Good Adoption?
This quote from Dawn's blog has me thinking hard and really mulling over what the measure of a good adoption really is. Like most aspects of adoption, this topic is extremely complicated no matter how much some people try to simplify it. Dawn did a great job of spelling out how complicated this issue can be.
Of course, we all agree that the child's welfare takes precedence. Although many try to say that the child and mother's best interests vary, I do not believe that to be the case in most situations. And, I believe that we can do what is best for a child without destroying or severely damaging the life of its first mother.
A mother can have the best motivations in the world for relinguishing her child, and maybe her decision not to parent was the best choice in her particular situation. But, if the adoptive parents chosen for that child happen to be the rare nightmare and abusive monsters, how can we say that adoption succeeded? Remember, this woman knew in her heart that it was the right choice - will she still feel that way finding a child at reunion that has been abused and damaged?
Conversely, consider a woman is pressured into the adoption "choice" with every fiber of her being screaming that it isn't what she wants, yet the adoption takes place. If her child happens to receive good adoptive parents, adjusts well to its status as an adopted child, deals with their loss well and turns out to be a stable successful adult, is that adoption a "success." For the child maybe, but what about its mother? If she had parented, isn't it likely that her child might have grown up much like they did being raised by their amom?
There are a million variations in between these two situations as well. However, it is relatively rare when an adoption that should take place, works out well and everyone lives happily ever after. Can we concede at least that is the case? Probably not. Even in the most ideal situations, there are pain and loss issues that must be addressed.
Adoption is a gamble, not a sure-fire guarantee that some gung-go advocates want to paint it. Sometimes an adoption should happen and works out well, sometime an adoption should not happen, but still works out well, and there are a million varations. We have to acknowledge that adoption is not a perfect solution that with a guaranteed success rate - life in general isn't like that and neither is adoption.
Dawn's right - the way our current system of adoptions is set up, it is unjust. We can never guarantee that every adoption is one that is necessary and should happen. However, we can do all that we can for our children to make certain that every pregnant woman considering her options has accurate and complete information about adoption and knows about resources and support to parent. We can stop coercion and unethical practices in adoption if there are consequences and accountability. And, we can and should do all we can to insure that all adoptions are truly necessary ones.