There I was sitting in the doctor’s office, for me, focusing on what I would tell my own doctor about the troubles I was seeing lately. I was focusing on how scared I was, how worried I was that I would be placated with some “you are going through a lot of stuff, it’ll pass” statement, and pushed out of the office, when I know, I need something to supplement my mental health right now.
As I was carefully playing with my purse, this cute girl, around my age, came bounding out of the hallway leading to the doctor’s office. I wasn’t really listening, but when she said “our adoption”, my ears perked up. I did the once over. I could tell that she was Mormon. I guessed that they had been trying long enough that perhaps a Bishop stepped in and asked them why they weren’t having kids yet (this does happen), and adoption was offered as a solution to their lack of children.
She spoke to the receptionist and said,
“I didn’t really have to do this physical today, I was told I had to. But the doctor just signed off on the paperwork. My husband has the same one, we just need the paper signed. We don’t really need to be looked at. It’s all just hoops, you know?”
Then she laughed. I cringed.
The receptionist did question the statement, but was met with a firm,
“The doctor said they weren’t necessary, just more things for us to have to do to “prove” we’re good. We’re good. They don’t need to know anything about our health, really.”
She laughed again.
The lady with way too much eye make up on across from me must have been watching my facial expressions as I listened to this conversation. She gave me a knowing smile, one that said, “Isn’t that interesting?”
I wanted to walk up to this girl and I wanted to tell her what the woman who may carry her child would have to go through. She’d have mounds of paperwork so that the adoptive family could have the medical history, and even then, it’d be discounted because the agency (I assume) she was signed up with, was known for labeling relinquishing mothers as “liars”. I wanted to tell her that if she expected full honesty from the woman who would give her a baby, she had better expect to do the same. I wanted to record her so I could put it on Twitter to show those who had said they didn’t know anyone entitled in the adoption world, that these people did exist in the real world, and it started even as early as the beginning paperwork.
As she bounced out of the office, I wanted to stop her and tell her that I was a mother who had relinquished, and her casual nature about her part in the adoption she was seeking was sad. Adoption is not as easy as forging a piece of paper, and if she thinks that she’d be able to forge other things like a relationship with the mother of her infant, or even worse, erase her, she’s not the adopting type.
Really, I don’t know her story. I don’t know why she felt that she should be able to forge adoption paperwork, and why her doctor would condone it. I do know that first hand, I witnessed the beginning stages of a hopeful adoptive parent, who felt it was her right to forgo even the basic necessities to prove she was a rightful candidate in an adoption. And no one, not a single person she was meeting with was discouraging this action.
I’ve managed to meet a group of adoptive parents online who are lovely people, and far from entitled. However, when we all begin to think that they are the majority, we are doing all of us in this adoption world a great disservice. The uproar that was the Circle of Mom’s contest is proof alone that there entitlement is alive and well in this little niche. What happened to me, where my words were altered by American Adopts! and then the blame was hurled back at me, is also proof again, that entitlement exists, and unfortunately, it generally seems to be bouncing in the hands of those who are adopting.
I wish, how I wish, there was an easy way to solve this. To stop the entitlement, the adoptive parent privilege that does exist. I wish there was a way for the rest of us, the relinquishing mothers, and the adoptees to speak up, and to work together to find a way to reform these adoption practices so that entitlement is never a part of the equation. The problem is, as long as those individuals in adoptions that were “good” refuse to admit that entitlement and unethical behavior occurs, as long as there are those who bask in the light of the entitlement that is being an adoptive parent, and as long as there is some middle man with dollar signs flashing in his eyes at the sight of a baby, there will always be this sort of disparity.
To the girl in the doctor’s office I have only one other thing to say.
Adoption is not easy. You can’t fake it, and if open adoption is part of your future relationship, I hope you won’t cut corners to erase the inane or boring parts of building a relationship. You may be able to forge a document or two, and someone may help you do that, but you can’t forge a relationship, especially when it’s at the loss or benefit of your adopted child. You will be adopting the child of someone who is more then just a piece of paper, she will exist forever, through her child, whom you will have to accept and love, come what may. You won’t be able to fake any of that.