Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tit For Tat

It’s always hard, isn’t it, to accept the loss of another, especially if it comes at your gain.

It’s hard to think about what pain another might be suffering, of the tears they shed while you’re smiling with joy.

But honestly, if you are going to walk into the world of adoption, that’s a reality that exists, whether you want it to or not. And playing the “tit for tat” game, trying to justify one loss over another, does not change this fact. And it never will.

In my last post, We Bleed Too, I DID ask Adoptive Mom’s what is going through their heads and hearts that they believe another mother would be “okay” in losing their child. I asked, because I was curious. Because I believe the Adoption Industry is untruthful to adoptive parents just as they are to adoptees and First Moms.

I asked because I truly wanted to know. And I was answered and I am thankful for those who answered me.

But I DID NOT, in any way shape or form, ask for justification of why one loss was more or less than another. Nor, did I, anywhere in my post, suggest that the loss of a child through adoption was any worse or better than the loss women feel who suffer through infertility.

I did not make it into a battle. I did not set out to say, “Hey, look at us First Moms, we suffer a loss so much more than anyone suffering with infertility could ever know.

What I did is, I believe, point out a very true fact . . . First Moms suffer from the loss of their children and yes, in a very real and true way, when one prays for a child to adopt, they are also, in return, praying for another woman to suffer such a loss.

Is it an ugly truth? Yes! Is it an intentional pain one intends to cause on another? In most cases, no, I don’t believe it is. But it is still the truth of adoption. That “other” truth that so many don’t want to think about or worry about.

And yet my post brought about the same old, “Sure that might hurt a First Mom BUT infertility hurts us in this way and that, and every other way that you couldn’t possibly imagine.

Which, in my mind, when pulled apart to see the meaning behind it, is one woman saying to another, “Oh yeah, I can acknowledge that it might hurt to lose your child but my loss with infertility is SO much worse than yours which means I am SO much more worthy of you suffering your loss so that I can be happy after all of the terrible suffering I have had to go through.”

It’s said, most simply, in these words . . .

--I do feel badly for first moms who have experienced the pain of losing a precious child. An adoptive mother often experiences that pain repeatedly (failed fertility attempts, miscarriages, placement of child who returns to bio family...) --

See that “tit for tat?” See the, “Yeah, you hurt, but our hurt is worse because we not only go through “this” but we go through “this much more” as well?”

Such a statement I could see if my post had, in any way, suggested that the loss a woman feels with infertility is less than the loss a woman feels through adoption. But I didn’t do that. I merely stated what I believe, without question, is true . . . losing a child to adoption is a loss for First Moms. Plain and simple! And I stated what I believe is fact, praying for a child to adopt is also praying for another woman to suffer such a loss.

I don’t believe, nor did I state, that this is a “direct” wish another woman has. I didn’t claim that women are out there praying to God that someone will suffer terribly so they can be happy.

But that doesn’t, and won’t change the fact that for an Adoptive Mom to gain through adoption, a First Mom must suffer. And there is that connection that while one woman is suffering a loss through infertility she is also, in the very act of adoption, leaving another woman to suffer her own terrible loss.

But some can’t accept that truth. Some simply don’t want to see it at all. While some might see it but brush it off as “not as bad” as what they have gone through.

But that doesn’t change a thing.

Just as comments such as this . . .

- - Just because someone feels pain as a result of something is not proof that it was wrong. I have often felt pain over experiences and have grown from them or later have gained understanding of why I went through it. - -

. . . do nothing to change the reality of loss either.

Because those kinds of comments, really, when I read them, make no sense to the kind of situation we are talking about. Adoption is, to start with, about a mother and child being separated from one another. It’s about the loss they suffer from such an act.

To say, “well we often go through hard choices that we later learn to grow from,” is, to me, a complete disregard to the emotional impact that adoption has on First Moms and their children. It’s a way to try and lessen what has really happened. To take it down to a “live and learn” level that we all can look back on and shrug our shoulders at.

And for the record, I’m twenty-three years into this adoption nightmare. I’ve lived a life of good and bad, of tough choices, of learning from life’s lessons. And yet, I have not “gained an understanding” for what happened to my son and I all those years ago. And I don't look back and say, “Oh yeah, that was why this happened and it all makes sense now and that terrible loss I have lived with all these years, really was worth it even if it was a “painful” decision.”

You can’t wipe away such a loss with such “logic.” You can’t take away their pain, the emotional battles they suffer with their entire life , with such a broad statement that suggests losing our children is as simple as a tough decision we make to learn and grow from.

Maybe it does make some feel better. Maybe it gives them a better feeling when they look at their own experiences. But that doesn’t, and never will, change the very real and true fact, that adoption begins with a terrible loss. That First Moms hurt and suffer without their children. And there is ABSOLUTELY nothing that justifies the pain of infertility as so much worse that it makes one woman worthy of gaining happiness at another woman’s loss.

It just isn’t so.

15 comments:

  1. With you all the way on this one.

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  2. EXCELLENT - thank you for such an awesome follow up. I know I kind of jumped the gun on this one back when it was up because of exactly what you have posted here. That somehow because others suffer from infertility that qualifies them to be exempt from the responsibility of causing another woman and child pain by adopting.

    Brilliant post, thank you xxx

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  3. I just want to say that I really appreciate the way you represented both sides here. It was so much more eleoquent than I could ever hope to be on my blog lol. I also wanted to thank you for the comment. Contrary to what everyone believes, I'm not a jerk. I'm just a girl trying to find my way through this. Emotions run high around this topic and I am doing everything I can to be respectful of both sides of the coin here. I feel like no matter what I say though, people are going to find fault with it, simply because they are so against the adoption institution. *Sigh* Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for another perspective and thanks for not totally blasting me like everyone else did.

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  4. I just want to say that I really appreciate the way you represented both sides here. It was so much more eleoquent than I could ever hope to be on my blog lol. I also wanted to thank you for the comment. Contrary to what everyone believes, I'm not a jerk. I'm just a girl trying to find my way through this. Emotions run high around this topic and I am doing everything I can to be respectful of both sides of the coin here. I feel like no matter what I say though, people are going to find fault with it, simply because they are so against the adoption institution. *Sigh* Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for another perspective and thanks for not totally blasting me like everyone else did.

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  5. Wonderful post, Cassi. I truly believe that my son's adoptive mother felt the pain of her "infertility" justified her promising me an open adoption, then closing it at her whim. She deserved my son so much more than I did, because by golly she wanted a baby but could not become pregnant. How dare I or anyone else have the audacity and have the ability to become pregnant when she could not?

    I have come to the conclusion, after suffering needlessly at the loss of MY child to someone who conned and decieved me out of him, that it is noones else's problem if a woman, a STRANGER is infertle. Was is my problem? Not by a long shot! Were I and my family supposed to suffer for the rest our lives just because this woman, who we had absolutely no connection to, could not produce a child (when she WANTED to; she did end up getting pregnant a few years after adopting my son).

    While I empathize with any woman who is infertle, I don't now, nor I ever believe that her "pain" is so much more important than that of a young vulnerable woman; who will live with ambiguous grief, PTSD, depression and the like at the loss of HER living, breathing child. Infertles mourn the loss of what NEVER was or will be, or the idea of a child. Mothers of adoption loss mourn and grieve for their lost children forever; who are alive and walking this earth without them. There is nothing natural about that and there is NO comparison to the two. None.

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  6. "I’m twenty-three years into this adoption nightmare. I’ve lived a life of good and bad, of tough choices, of learning from life’s lessons. And yet, I have not “gained an understanding” for what happened to my son and I all those years ago."

    Excellent point, Cassi! That's because there IS no logic, no sense in it to understand. I wonder if these same people would belittle a parent's pain whose child died in the same manner. Ridiculous!

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  7. (((Cassi)))

    I get the "infertility sucks" response a lot as an Adult Adoptee when talking about adoption issues.

    But what I want to know is: what in the world does that have to do with adoption??

    When we talk about how bad infertility is in relation to pursuing adoption, are we saying that the ethics involved and loss of others are beneith us because of our own personal pain? That being in pain makes it OK to expect other people to surrender their children?

    As someone who has lost a wanted pregnancy and has had difficulty in the past conceiving, I "get" in a small way, how horrible infertility can be. Infertility can make you feel bad about yourself. It can make your family and friends say hurtful things to you. It can cause you to be left out when all of your friends are having birthday parties and play dates. It can make you reevaluate your life goals.

    But WHAT does that have to do with ethics in adoption? What does that have to do with making sure others do not endure unnecessary losses?

    I should not be seen as a cure for my parents infertility. My loss is not a competition with others of who hurts worse so that one form of loss makes another "OK."

    Loss doesn't work like that. Neither should adoption.

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  8. You wrote: You can’t wipe away such a loss with such “logic.” You can’t take away their pain, the emotional battles they suffer with their entire life , with such a broad statement that suggests losing our children is as simple as a tough decision we make to learn and grow from.

    Exactly.

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  9. After purchasing a child and having that child's birth certificate sealed and falsified, many adopters can't handle the guilt and try to rationalize their reason for purchasing another human being and keeping that human being in the dark of his/her origins.

    Infertility problems seems to be a "good" reason to justify their actions. LMAO.

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  10. It is interesting to me that there are no comments left by Adoptive parents... I suspect that that is because they have what they want - Our children. Our lineage. Our legagy. It is only us, grieving the loss of our children, who comment here. Hoping somehow for a solution to our pain, and if not ours, a solution or prevention to the pain of others. Us, who are eternally seeking of mend the void of our own souls. Not those who have gotten what hey came for, and left without a trace.

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  11. I am a little reluctant to post because I am not sure that it is OK. In the original post that this one refers, AP were asked a question.

    I agree with what Amanda wrote-- adoption is not an answer to infertility and any couple who feels that it is, should be required to work through their grief before pursuing adopting-- if that is what they decide to do.

    Conceiving a child using fertility methods (with or without egg/sperm donors) is not a cure either. I know of several women who continue to have issues regarding infertility after giving birth to a baby even a baby that was conceived without any *extra* donors.

    There is no reasoning to comparing one person's pain to another person's. There is no comparison. Regardless if the people share a similar reason for the pain they feel, they can share how they feel, validate, support-- but you cannot compare one person's loss and pain to anothers. It just doesn't work that way, IMO.

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  12. Reena,

    I should have clarified. What spurred me to write this post wasn't your comments or Sally's. You are right, I did ask a question and you and Sally responded.

    But there were other comments after yours that I don't believe in any way were answering my question and were instead doing their best to disregard or brush away a First Mom's pain while making it a competition over who hurts worse.

    I agree you can't compare one person's pain and loss to another but I don't agree with the argument of trying to make one person's better or worse to justify themselves and their gains. To try and diminish a First Mom''s loss by holding your own pain as higher or great than hers is just wrong, in my opinion. And all too often, that is exactly what happens to many, many moms who have lost their children through adoption.

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  13. Having lost a child to adoption and fought infertility for a number of reasons (genetic and psychological), I feel for women that are infertile - it is hard in a society that claims that you can't be a family unless you breed. But it is entirely different in emotional responses.... It is not a tit for tat. Which is something I find pathetic. It is about perception and emotional state....

    Sigh....you can't make them drink....

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  14. Cassie,

    I went back to the original post and saw the additional comments-- and I completely agree with you-- one person's pain does not justify causing another person's.

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  15. Thanks for writing about this. I'm sure it is hard to be infertile, that people make "insensitive" comment, telling the barren it's god's plan and all that (maybe), that you feel "left out," but I'm sorry, I will not in any way compare that to what it is like to have a child and then have circumstance make it impossible for you to raise that child. As for insensitive comments, many of us, esp. the older women, lived through a time when we were for all intents and purposes, shamed and shunned. Infertile women are given sympathy while we are treated like unworthy, pitiable women--and in some cases by our own families.

    When I see the women who are infertile justify their actions re adoption, as most of them do, I want to scream. Instead I walk away. I think we should ask them, well, would you like to trade life stories with me? I doubt anyone would.

    lorraine from First Mother Forum

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