{#10} Dichotomy

Fill in the blank:

Adoption is a _________.
a.  grief-filled tragedy.
b. beautiful miracle.

If you are asking, where is c. All of the above, we are on the same page.

Too many times, I witness (or am part of) the debate between answers a and b.  There are birth mothers who feel they were manipulated to give up their babies and disgruntled adult adoptees who are passionately against the promotion of adoption and removal of children from their birth cultures on one side.  The other side holds thousands of families who may not have had children in their homes if it weren’t for adoption.

I’m here to say I firmly believe that every adoption is BOTH.  Every time a family is made through adoption, another family is broken.  Every adoptee loses much and gains much. 

The grief felt by some parts of the adoption mosaic does not make the joy felt by other parts wrong or insensitive just like the joy does not belittle the grief.

The tragic reality of adoption does not de-necessitate adoption as a solution and the aching arms of capable parents should not overshadow the need to aid ill-equipped ones.

I’ll admit some adoption stories seem to lean toward one emotion or the other but that doesn’t mean they both don’t exist.

If I had to fill in the blank, it would be adoption is a dichotomy.  Now let’s get on with it and go heal some hurting kids.

Posted in Things Adoptive Parents Should Know and tagged .


  1. Michele,
    Maybe I'm one of the few who thought differently. When my husband and I were called by Catholic Charities to see our new little baby from Korea, we were ecstatic! But when the social worker handed me that precious picture my thoughts were only on the birth mother. I kept thinking “She's 6 weeks postpartum. How is she dealing with this?” Having given birth myself and the feelings that go with it, I couldn't help wondering how she was dealing with this loss. Not to be too graphic but a part of the umbilical cord skin was still attached to my baby's bellybutton(it wouldn't come off) and stayed there for many months. The day it finally fell off, I again thought with sadness that that was the last physical tie my baby had with her mother. Maybe that sounds odd to you but to me it was significant. As birthdays roll around, my thoughts go to her again. Even though my daughter is 22. Thank you for your precious gift of love. I can't imagine the grief and loss you felt. But being on the receiving end of one of those gifts the joy is unmeasurable.

  2. I agree. Adoption to me as a birth mother is bittersweet. Just plain and simple. Adoption is such a complex thing. The grief is never really acknowledged by most for the birth mothers. It is usually met with comments- Oh you will get over it, You will have more children, it happened over 25 years ago, and my favorite you did what was best for her…Never in any of those is the loss mentioned or even acknowledged for us. That is the part that is so sad for us. The loss is usually not expected for the adoptee. That surprises them. They do not even usually wish to talk about it for fear they will upset their adoptive parents. So it goes undiscussed. Seems like fear is also a great factor in adoption. Fear for the birth mother that people will judge her because she gave her baby away. Fear that the baby will be taken care of. Fear that his or her child will grow to hate her for what she has done. Fear for the adoptive parents if reunification does occur that their child will grow to love their birth mother. They are so afraid that they will lose their child. That in itself hinders the growth for the adoptee to find their identity in all of this. The adoptees fear why were they not wanted? Why did my mother just give me away? After reunification they are so afraid that they will not be loyal to their parents if they show any interest in the other side. So I really think it is more fear than even the grief. Or at least to me. What is beautiful is when all 3 sides can come together for the good of ALL! That is a miracle. That is what I pray for everyday in my partial reunion with my daughter. That the fear will leave and we will come together and there be peace for all. Great post!! Hugs~ Michele

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