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Friday, November 09, 2007

A Guest Blog Entry (bought to you by the Great Blog Cross-Pollination)

Geohde at Mission: Impossible is holding a blog cross pollination, the idea being that you go and read your usual blogs, but along the way, you're exposed to other voices and ideas without needing to do a single click. I'm sure if you went over to her blog and told her how much you love this idea, she'd be willing to hold another one in the future...

A Conversation I Never Want to Have (Children Mentioned)
By Blogger X

Awhile back, Mel asked me to put together a post about adoption
language for Operation Heads Up. There is so much to cover
that I've been paralyzed and have left her hanging.

But Geohde's Cross-Pollination thingy has nudged me to break
off a chunk and just write a freakin' post already.

So, instead of addressing every questionable adoption term, I'm just going to cover just one every once in awhile. And before too long, I hope to have the Operation Heads Up post worth the energy to click on.

Today's phrase is give up for adoption (and variations). And here's the conversation I never
want to have.
"Mom, why did Michele give me up?"

"Well, she loved you very much. In fact, she loved you so much that
she found Daddy and me to be your forever parents."

"She loved me so much that she gave me away?"

"Well...not exactly..."

"If she loved me less, would she have kept me?"

"That's not what I meant..."

"And through the rest of my life, should I be afraid of anyone loving
me too much because then they will reject me?"

"Let's start over, Reed."
Some may call it semantics or political correctness, but I DO have reasons for choosing certain
words and phrases and rejecting others. In this case, I prefer made an adoption plan to gave up for adoption.

First of all, made an adoption plan implies conscious thought. Michele thought about her baby
as she decided what to do (more on Reed's story). She was aware of him. She planned the best future possible for him, given the resources available to her at the time. She was not forced out of parenting him (although this does happen in some cases, which I'm told is devastating for a child to realize).

And more importantly, it doesn't include rejection. Gave you up and gave you away are inherently rejective (to make up a word). And they could make the child feel like an old toy or an outgrown article of clothing, a toss-away.

It's not such a leap from [she loved you so much she gave you up] to [love = rejection]. This is NOT a belief I want to impart to either of my children.

I want them to know that their firstmoms loved them enough to make a difficult choice. I want them to go through their lives fully capable of giving and receiving love. I'd rather have THIS conversation.
"Mom, why did Michele do adoption with me?"

"Michele loves you so much. She knew back then that she wasn't ready
to be a mommy to any baby. Even though she really wanted to be with
you, she made a plan to make sure you had parents who were ready to
take care of you."

"That's you and Daddy?"

"Yup. You have so many grown-ups who have loved you from the very
beginning. You are so lovable! (devolve into a tickle session)"
Other terms I plan to cover:
  • birthmom
  • our birthmom
  • the birthmom changed her mind
  • He is adopted
  • a child of my own
  • born in my heart
Please let me know if there are any others you'd like me to address. But first you'll have to figure out who I am :-).

(P.S. That is NOT my kid in the photo, in case you were wondering.)

Tune in here to find today's post by the Stirrup Queen. It's been an honor to sit on her throne!


Geohde said...

I have to admit, I cheated and looked to guess the Mystery Bloggers secret identity.

Lori, I'll be sure to stop by in the future and listen to the rest of your sage advce on how to discuss such matters,


Bea said...

Nup. So far I'm one for... lots. Not doing well at the guessing game, really.

Loved the post, though. A very good explanation of why the "give up" phrasing sucks. Love to hear the rest.


Julia said...

I never liked that phrase myself, somehow, instinctively...

Waiting Amy said...

Yeah! I KNEW this one! No cheating needed. Although the link to drama2bmama did confirm it for me :)

Thanks for the great topic Lori and I look forward to reading more. Reading about your relationship with your kids always renews my optimism about adoption.

Beagle said...

I can guess!

I'm curious about birthmom vs firstmom because my agency still uses birthmom so here I was thinking it was the way to go.

Though I also had a sense that it was not, so when I wrote our "Dear BM" letter, I just used "hello" as our gretting to avoid the wording issue altogether.

Anonymous said...

Geohde had a wonderful idea. I am loving these posts.