If you would have asked me seven years ago if I wanted a relationship with our future birth family, I probably hadn’t given the idea much thought. When we were in the process of our adoption, the birth family was actually the last thing on our minds. Not because we didn’t care about them, of course, but because we were in adoption agency mode; also known as paperwork mode, nesting mode, and photo book making mode. Honestly, we were in focused on “us” mode, as we had to sell ourselves to anyone interested in possibly placing their child with a new family. And so it goes for many adoptive families in the early stages of adoption, I assume; you are ready to help, rescue, nurture, and love the child waiting on your path ahead.

Little did we know that we would love our birth family just the same as our new baby, however. To be clear, too, we loved them right when we met them. They were comfortable to be around, were very honest and open, and were direct with their intentions for their son. They had other children of their own, and did not appear necessarily to be in dire need of our help. They were confident and competent, and it was a bit intimidating and confusing trying to understand our place in the situation as the adoption process began to unfold.

You see, we did not comprehend what our help looked like to them at this point. They were a couple unlike what we were expecting; and evidenced by their other child in tow, their infant didn’t seem to need additional rescuing, nurturing, or love from us.

Like most things when you think you know something about a matter, it is likely you actually know NOTHING. We literally knew nil about them or their lives; and given the reactions from some since our adoption, it is evident that most people have little notion to the circumstances of others, but instead base their opinions on appearances and personal perspective.

I’ve been this person before, and probably still am at times. I think we all can get complacent in this area of uncomfortable unknowns. I have to tell you, though, the judgment of our birth parents has been a challenging area for me. Since we have a very personal relationship with our first family, it is beginning to be severely hard for me to stay kind in the wake of those who assume they know the intentions of our adoption.

It also seems some forms of adoption are more okay than others. International adoption is especially worthy, and teen infant adoption is becoming more and more acceptable. Domestic special needs adoption is a little harder to grasp for most. Especially if you are the parent of a differently abled adopted child, I’m guessing you have ran into birth family assumptions more than once.

So, I’m coining a new term today; Birth Parent Shaming. It is running rampant and is widely accepted under most conditions. Because, you know, someone else knows best. It is mostly for those of you that, well, know nothing about the emotions and factors of every adoption.

There are so many of you, too.

I’ve actually had people assume my child was unwanted due to his condition, I’ve had some comment that they could understand aborting a child with Down syndrome but not giving one away, and others have immediately turned our birth family into rapists, molesters, and neglectors WITHOUT ANY OTHER INFORMATION EXCEPT THAT MY SON WITH DOWN SYNDROME IS ADOPTED. More often than not, anymore I feel compelled to thoroughly uplift our birth family upfront in conversations, as to disperse negative connotations about our situation.

So. Messed. Up.

See where I am going here? Are you flaw-free?

My adopted son and I just returned from a three-day trip to visit his birth family. It was a delightful visit where he got to play with his birth siblings, was loved on by his birth mom, and shot his birth dad with a water gun. We went to the beach, swam in their pool, ate out, celebrated a family birthday, laughed, cried, hugged, and laughed some more.

They really sound like terrible people, now don’t they?

To all of you assuming you know people and their heart’s intentions, please stop.

You do not know my child or his original family.

You do not get to judge how my child is loved. You do not get to tell me who his first family is, why they gave him up, or that he is better off dead than with me.

You do not get to say.

It is okay if you do not understand our circumstances, however.

It is okay to ask me why they placed him with us, and why I keep them close.

Some days I don’t completely understand my own situation, either. Knowing my child’s birth mother well leaves me feeling entirely inadequate at times. I struggle with determining his needs on occasion, and question what his future will be like with me at the helm of all issues; not because I do not feel like I can mother him, but because I know that if his first family could have parented, they would have done so better. I think this not because I feel they are better parents (we are not in a competition here), but because they are his original parents and I respect that potential.

Mostly, I admire that they put their child’s needs in front of their own, acknowledged flaws they felt would inhibit their parenting, and gave their child LIFE. With us. Even though they knew we would fail to some degree, too. I hold this trust so dear to me.

So please don’t tell me what you “know” about my {birth} family. Don’t tell me where you think my child should be. Don’t look at him like he is unwanted or unloved, and don’t say he doesn’t deserve a life with me and my husband and children.

Because he is loved by so many, and you…

You just don’t get a say.

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