Dear Jenessa and Prospective and Current Adoptive Parents, Birth Parents in hiding, Nay-Saying Adoptees and the Non-Adopted who think they know more about Adoption than Me.
I was disheartened today to read comments to an article about Jenessa Simons who was looking for her birth parents in Utah.
It just never ceases to amaze me as to how many myths, opinions and blatant ill-regard for our fellow man, that is present on comment boards on each and every adoption-related article I read.
Jenessa was looking for her birth parents and used Facebook to get the word out. (Article Here)
As I was scrolling through the comments, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. At least half of the comments were positive and supportive of Jenessa but many of them had comments that just leaped off the page for me.
Really? You are going to chastise this person for searching for what the majority have as their birth right? Let’s look at some of these comments.
BIOLOGICAL PARENTS ARE JUST DNA (NOTHING MORE)
I have heard Dr. Laura on her radio program state this in regards to adoption and as much as I love and respect Dr. Laura, I have to vehemently disagree with her. Her position has always been that biological parents are just sperm and egg donors. I read a comment this morning on the above-mentioned article to this effect and it just really bothers me.
Saying someone is just biology, takes away their person-hood. Each surrendering birth parent has a story. Many wanted nothing more than to keep and raise their child but because of circumstances could not.
They deserve respect and acknowledgement because they are human and because they hold a special status in your child's eyes. They may not be changing the diapers of this particular child (many have other children they are parenting), but neither would you, Adoptive Parent, if your child’s birth parents hadn’t created him/her.
I say the same for the men who conceived (many without knowledge). Some may have been just engaging in a sexual act, but without that act, your beautiful child wouldn’t be here. Never forget that.
Now if a biological parent has acted with disregard for your child through abuse/neglect and/or some other injustice that hurt your child, I understand your anger. I also understand you not wanting that child to have contact with their biological parent.
However, it does not relegate the parent into DNA. Ask your child how he/she feels and I can assure you the answer will not be, “sperm and eggs”.
I ASKED FOR A CLOSED ADOPTION AND I DON’T WANT TO BE FOUND
You always hear from the minority birth parent (the 5% or less) who still wants to be cloaked in secrecy because she signed up for a closed adoption and wants it to stay that way. What you never hear the birth parent admit is that she is an adult who expects another adult (the adoptee) to honor an agreement they never voluntarily entered into.
That is perfectly fine if you want no contact, Minority Birth Mother; however, it is not fine that you think because you do not want a relationship, that the adoptee should be bound to an agreement he/she never made. You do not hold the power to deny a now-adult adoptee from finding their roots. Just because YOU don’t want to be found, doesn’t mean the biological father, your other children, your sister and your nephew don’t want to be found.
With the internet and DNA testing, your preferences cannot dictate what an adult adoptee has the right to do. The laws in each state are starting to recognize that you a) don’t have a right to anonymity and b) an adoptee has a right to their own legal document of their birth (yes, with your name on it).
THIS IS GOING TO END BADLY
To all you adoptees out there who are trying to warn others out of reunion, shame on you.
Your logic goes like this,
“Because my mom was a flake, then your mom might be too!”
“My friend’s sister’s cousin found her birth mother and she wanted nothing to do with her and she is devastated beyond belief”.
“This is such a huge risk and maybe you should rethink taking it”.
To all of you nay-saying adoptees who scare off others from their birth right, I really am disappointed in you. I don’t have a perfect reunion. I had to take risks even in the face of (seemingly) insurmountable odds (closed birth certificate, no contact with Agency for 40 years, had to hire a searcher) but I was willing to take that risk because my Chapter 1 was important to me.
And I’m not going to sit here and warn somebody else not to do what I did, even if I personally had a poor outcome. Even if I found out something difficult like I was a product of rape, I would never say, “Don’t open that can of worms” to another adoptee.
Instead of being Negative Ned, how about supporting adoptee rights so our fellow adoptees (Adoptee Rights Coalition) don't have to feel like their only hope (because of discrimination) is to hold up a sign on Facebook with a picture of themselves?
IT’S A SLAP IN THE FACE TO YOUR ADOPTIVE PARENTS
I saved this for last because this one really tans my hide. WHY is it a slap in my adoptive parents’ face? I know. . .I know . .. because they stayed up late with me when I was sick and made me chicken soup and because they saved me from a horrible, terrible situation with my birth mother and I should be forever indebted by giving up all my God-given rights to my heritage?
I find this line of thinking incredibly insulting. As an adoptive parent, I do not hold my child hostage to ever-indebted loyalty to never love another human being besides me. If she isn’t allowed to love the two people who created her, what kind of insensitive human am I? If she isn’t allowed to have any love for her biological parents, is she not allowed to love her future husband? If she marries a divorced man, is she not allowed to love her stepchildren?
Biology aside, your child has a right to love anyone he/she chooses whether you like it or not.
During my reunion, I had to work through sensitive issues with my mother (my father is deceased). I’m not going to say it was easy. My mother had moments of sadness and jealousy for the most part she kept to herself (like good mothers tend to do).
But my mother tells everyone who listens that Adoptees in most states are discriminated against. She is proud of me for doing what I believe is the right thing. My mother and I have bonded over discussions about Richard Hill’s book (book) which she is currently reading and is thoroughly enjoying.
She faced her fears and didn’t allow them to dictate her decision to try and make me feel bad about what I needed to do for my own mental health.
A parent should do what is in the best interests of their children, not the other way around. Even when a child is an adult, the burden of doing the right thing is more on the parent than the child.
And the right thing is to support your adopted child in any answers that child needs to feel whole and happy. If that means you might have to work through some jealousy and uncomfortable feelings about birth family members, then do it!
Do whatever you have to do for your child. If you signed up for adoption, then this is part of the package. And using guilt and superiority never works. It only just pushes your child away from you.
Congratulations, Jenessa! I hear you found your birth parents!
Enjoy the ride!