Bad adoption attitudes

20th January 2012

Today one of the questions on Y!A was What are stereotypes of adoptive parents, birth mothers or adopted people?. It’s been a while since a question like this has been posted. My views over the years have changed particularly since I found my son.

It’s not unusual for people to put adoptive parents into a category. Some people think adoptive parents are saviours who deserve a medal for taking on somebody else’s child. Other people believe they are selfish, greedy infertile baby snatchers who don’t care how much the baby costs and that they believe they are entitled to another mother’s baby. The term womb wet baby is sometimes chucked out there on Y!A for some people who are desperate to adopt a new born. It isn’t the best term to use but very accurate for some people who only want to adopt a baby. I know from my own experience that I was made to feel selfish for wanting to raise my son and his adoptive parents deserved him than I did. I was also told they couldn’t have children due to their infertility. It was another 23 years before I found out that they could have children. They had a son when my son was 20 months old. I have a cousin who had two sons with his wife before they decided to adopt. I do believe they chose to adopt for the right reasons. They adopted a girl then twins – a brother and sister. I do believe adoptive parents have various reasons for adopting and the ones I respect the most are those who adopt from foster care and special needs children.

I intensely dislike the term birth mother. The first time I heard of the term was when I joined an adoption forums. Nowhere on my son’s birth certificate or the paperwork am I referred to as a birth mother. I am simply referred to as his mother. It started off in America and unfortunately crossed the big pond. It does dehumanise mothers and makes us sound as if we are second rate mothers who have been reduced to being birthers. I have come across a variety of views over the past view years. I have lost track of the number of people who believe mothers are at least one of the following; white trailer trash, prostitutes, drug addicts, poor, uneducated, young, single, irresponsible and selfish so don’t deserve their children. This simple isn’t true. I was 19 when I had my son but came from a middle class back ground and I worked for the civil service. I didn’t do drugs, was a social drinker and could afford to raise my son. I have got to know many other mothers who have surrendered children. A few chose adoption of their own free will, a few had their children removed for a variety of reasons but most of us were coerced or felt we had no choice because we weren’t supported in our choice to be mothers. Some mothers I have got to know who had their children removed due to their lifestyles deeply regret not doing something about it at the time. They have since change their lifestyles because they want the chance to prove they can be decent people if they are found by their children.

All I will comment on adoptees is the experience of reuniting with my son. It’s been good, bad and ugly. He is a charming, loving intelligent man who has trust, rejection and abandonment issues. He has issues with adoption and hates what my parents did to me.

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About Philippa

I am married to Rick and we live in a small town in County Durham. We have two dogs, a cat and two budgies. I am also an adoption survivor. In 1981 my son was born and I was then forced to surrender him. It took 23 years and reunion for my to find out that my son's adoption was legally known as a forced adoption and illegal but social workers got away with it because mothers didn't know their rights.
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