Whether you’ve placed, adopted or you’re thinking of either option, you’re likely to have to deal with adoption opposition at some point or another.
Sometimes, you know who’s most likely to have problems with it (and why.) It may be one of your judgemental relatives, who refuses to acknowledge the challenges you’ve face or who’s stuck in the old “blood is thicker than water” school of thought.
Sometimes, it’s a well-meaning friend who knows somebody who knows somebody who “did that and it didn’t turn out well for them” so therefore they think you shouldn’t do it either.
Or it could be someone who genuinely cares about you and wants to shield you from any disappointment or grief, even though the truth is that life is full of both no matter how hard anyone tries to avoid it.
Other times, adoption opposition comes from unexpected sources, like a doctor who thinks he or she knows what would be best for you, even if you want to make that choice for your own self. Sometimes, it’s a priest or pastor who has their own interpretation of what God would want for your future or that of your child or family.
And sometimes, it’s an entire community of people who oppose anyone choosing adoption, like the anti-adoption family preservation groups or the spoilers who offer prospective birthmothers money to keep their babies. (Yes, that’s Really A Thing.) Some of them have valid concerns about adoption ethics, while others seem more invested in just limiting other folks’ options.
You’re Not Wrong. They’re Not, Either.
It’s hurtful, especially to those who are already emotionally-vulnerable, to have your adoption plan/s criticized. It takes a lot of personal courage to face the sort of sacrifices adoption entails, so to have others belittle that choice or express doubt about your motives is painful.
But here’s the deal: if you’re making these plans (or if you already did so) with the best interests of children at heart, you’ve got nothing to apologize for.
It doesn’t matter what you do: somebody, somewhere, is going to think you should do something else. Someone is going to think they somehow know better what would be best for you, or for your family, or for your child, or for the good of the world.
Yet they don’t. (Not really.)
The reality is that you have the right to make decisions for your life, and then you also have the responsibility to let others hold their own opinions– just as you do.
Adoption Opposition is a Matter of Perspective
Adoption isn’t a perfect concept because it’s a human construct, and nothing we mere mortals do or plan or build is guaranteed to be perfect. (And that’s okay.)
And yes: it may very well someday (or already) be the adoptee who voices adoption opposition to the choices you have made in such good faith.
That can cut a loving parent to the core. But it’s every parent’s responsibility to hear the adoptee out with respect. You don’t have to agree, but you have to let them feel what they feel.
Remember that it’s okay to view adoption from very different angles, and one perspective doesn’t invalidate another.
Adoption doesn’t fit everyone’s needs the same way all the time. It isn’t the right choice for everyone, and it isn’t necessarily the wrong choice for anyone, either.
How to Respond to Opposing Adoption Views
So if (when) you encounter adoption opposition, listen kindly, say truthfully “I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate you sharing your perspective” and then move on. Don’t try to persuade them to embrace their opinion and don’t feel you have to abandon yours, either.
If you can find merit in their argument, then learn from it. And if you don’t, wish them well but carry the memory with you, in case it resonates with you different somewhere down the road. (Or in case you can use some part of their experience to better understand somebody else in crisis someday.)
Adoption can be beautiful and loving and tragic and hurtful and recognizing its potential for both good and for bad helps make its many facets more illuminating for everyone.
Consider this your superpower. It is potentially a hidden advantage of encountering adoption opposition and then using it for good.