I started this post in early June with the intention of just talking about H’s first mom. I didn’t publish because of laziness. Lately, people have been asking me about Harper’s first mom and how I feel about the fact that she still has a ‘real mom” so I finished it. I am not going to get into any real detail of Harper’s story because it’s hers, not mine to tell but, I will share this.
Lately with Mother’s Day, H’s birthday and the embassy investigations my girl’s birth mom has been on my mind a lot. I cannot imagine her struggle and I cannot even guess at her story. In the US there are the typical reasons a birth mom gives up her child. Reasons we’re all aware of like poverty, unwed, rape, young, no family support, struggles with addiction. Of course there are also those situations when parents are forced to TPR because of abuse or neglect but I am just talking about those first moms that make this choice on their own. In DRC there are these same reasons, along with others of course. Our privileged minds cannot even begin to wrap around some of the horrors the Congolese and especially Congolese woman are faced with. Adoption IS beautiful but it IS only because there is hurt, loss, abuse, neglect, violence, death, sickness or poverty, in any country.
I have close friends that are birth moms and I have been thinking of them so much lately as well. Thinking about what amazing incredible women they are and how everyday continues to be a struggle to find peace. 10 years have gone but still nightmares. She is married now and helping to raise her stepdaughter. Has a great job now and thinking of starting a family. Wondering what if? What if I could have kept her? What if I wasn’t a survivor of an unspeakable crime and her not the living breathing product of that crime? What if I wasn’t 17? What if I would have had an abortion? What if I had a supportive family or a stable home or job? An awful ugly game to play for the rest of your life!
In the international adoption world there is so much blog and fb sparring about corruption, ethics, true orphan status, what makes a child available for adoption and on and on and on. People are very opinionated when it comes to other’s lives and how we should ask them to live them. In the U.S we sing the praises of a birth mom (as we should) we hold her up and support her, we cry with her and celebrate her, we make claims to her selflessness (as we should) we trust her to know herself and her abilities to parent (again, as we should) and we even let her choose from the endless stack of files for a forever family for her precious baby. We understand and empathise with her reasons and our heart breaks for her, we applaud her sacrifice.
Seems strange however that when it comes to birth moms in other countries we want to stop them. What a delusional double standard we hold them to. We get organizations involved to try to keep families together, we offer birth moms a few bucks and refuse to adopt their children, we want laws to stop the adoptions of children with living birth parents so we throw around words like ethics and true orphan. Because she is uneducated or living in extreme poverty or a survivor of an unspeakable crime we have no faith in her ability to make this choice. Do families get tricked in other countries by hustling swindlers? Yeah they do, they do here as well. Is there abduction and trafficing? Yeah there is, there is here as well. This is not the norm. The norm is the desperate birth mom with no way to feed or clothe or care for her child.
I give to organizations that support and protect the institution of family. I want to be a part of programs that educate, feed, provide medical care and some sort of income to people living in any country in the hopes there will be less orphans in this world. Sometimes even these things don’t work, they don’t work here and they don’t work in other places. We have 500,000 kids in our foster care system (and so many more that probably should be) to help illustrate what happens when a child is born to a parent not willing or not able to care for them.
I don’t know Harper’s first mom’s story but I hate it for her. I am deeply disturbed and saddened by the fact that whatever her life was or is or will be she even had to make this choice in the first place. I hope for no parent to have to do that. I do know that I am singing her praises and celebrating her, I am claiming her selflessness and praying for her peace, I trust her choice and am hopeful that at some point the benefits may outweigh the costs for both of them. I am grateful and in awe of her, I am worried and heart-broken for her. I love this woman and even if H weren’t/isn’t meant for my family I applaud her sacrifice. I wish I could tell her that I promise to love her baby every single day until forever and I wish I could hug her hard and let her know that she won’t ever be forgotten.