“Every single day, I am confronted with a particular hashtag, a phrase. I don’t like it. I don’t use it. I cringe every time I see it. I don’t shame you if you do.
The phrase is ‘Adoption Rocks’ or #AdoptionRocks. As part of the adoption community, and someone who has personally adopted a girl of my own, I see it quite often. To me, it seems a bit insensitive, shallow, and adoptive parent centric.
While adoption is a beautiful thing, it’s also a painful, heartbreaking journey. Once graced with a beautiful baby boy or girl in your arms, it’s easy to want to cover up all the ugly, slab on a label, and say it rocked. In reality, it doesn’t.
There’s a side to adoption no one wants to talk about. The part where my body dispelled the amazing little life growing inside of me into the toilet after painful contractions like knives. The part where I flushed. The part where I cried in the doctor’s office when I was informed, ‘You will never have children.’ Then the part where I was told, when I couldn’t stop crying about it, to ‘man up’ because ‘the world population is too big anyway so just get a dog.’
The part where I fell deeply in love with a precious little boy, imagined my universe with him, gave him my heart, bought him little clothes and toys, only to have him ripped away from me at the very last second of the adoption process when his birth mother got cold feet. Or the part where it happened again with another little girl. And then again. The part where the pain was just too much and I lost my mind, soul, hope, will to live.
The part where despite my best efforts to love my child with all of me, my six-year-old still asks, ‘Where’s my other momma? I want her. Why doesn’t she want me?’ The part where the other momma turns up, out of the blue, saying she wants visitation. Then shows up again, drunk, saying she didn’t mean it and to keep ‘the thing’ as my daughter lies in bed, asleep, inside the house. The part where no matter what I do to love and protect her, she will end up emotionally damaged from the fact that her birth parents didn’t want her. Where she’ll grow up and try to search for them. The part where she might look at me one day and think of me as something less than. Or maybe she won’t, but she’ll still want more.
How about the treacherous nights where the nightmares creep in. I can see the blood, almost feel the knife-like contractions as if reliving them all over again. I hear the haunting words, ‘Why couldn’t you let me live?’ I hear, ‘You’re not a real mother.’ I’ve dealt with it a thousand times, waking up in a puddle of sweat. I can’t stop them. And what about the words of others in the wake of my miscarriage. ‘Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Everything happens for a reason.’ Or, ‘Not all women have to be mothers, you know?’ The words ring in my head like an ugly, unforgotten chorus.
I say all of this not to rid adoptive parents of their right to bask in the sheer joy of finally being able to hold, kiss, teach, love their children. I’ve done it, and I still do every single day. I say it because when we only show the half-truth, half reality of our situation, we are hurting the mothers and fathers to be who are still facing the early, painful pits of this journey. The same pits we clawed, scraped, climbed, and ventured through.
Yes, it’s true. Adoption ROCKS. But it also hurts. It pains. It joys. It depresses. It bleeds. It tests. It breaks. And I think we need to be more honest and vulnerable about our journeys. We need to create a dialogue that doesn’t sugarcoat, water down, hide, suppress, or minimize, but helps guide, support, inspire, and heal.”
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