Adoption is what you do when you can’t have kids.
Fostering is what you do when you want to help kids.
Those are two of the things I “learned” growing up as an adoptee.
I also picked up many other things too, but I’m writing about these things because they came up in my answer on one of the FB groups I’m in. The OP itself was about whether adoptees have their own kids (IF they can have their own kids) whilst still young, or whether they wait until they are older.
The following two quotes are the answers I gave within that group, and I’m sharing them here as an example of how the socialisation of adoptees happens.
Caught at 17, had Daughter at 18. Then again, that was only ’cause me and her dad did an experiment based on the fact that I knew a’rents couldn’t have kids (which is why they had me). We went without sex for one whole month (a bloody miracle for 17 year olds ;)), had it once at an optimumly calculated time in the next month, and went without for the next month too. Mainly based on the premise that there’re people like my a’rents, and people who can (almost, it seems) get up the duff just from looking at each other across the dancefloor. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether Daughter resulting means the experiment or a failure though, since as a far more learned (at the time) friend pointed out, we didn’t have a null hypothesis.
Only had the one though, and that was only because we tried. Of course, it’s far more by luck than judgement that I never wound up pregnant again, ’cause really, I come from a whole stream of moms that really should never’ve had kids.
Once we found out I was pregnant, the choice to not abort came far more from the part where I was finally gonna have someone I was related to in my life. However, whilst amom was adamant that I should’ve got an abortion (and in 20/20 hindsight I agree with her BECAUSE I love my daughter), not once was adoption ever put on the table as an option.
Reading [A.N.Other Poster]’s comment reminded me of another part I missed in the decision making of whether to continue the pregnancy that resulted in Daughter.The thought I had once we found out I was pregnant was along the lines of “oh well, I’m gonna have to have one at some stage, so I may as well go with this one now it’s happening.” That perspective was based on the fact that I’d “picked up” that if we can’t have our own kids, we have to adopt if you can’t have our own (presumably picked up from a’rents having picked adoption as their second option, after all, why would anyone want someone else’s kid?) I didn’t really want/wasn’t all that interested in having kids, but had “learned” that it’s just something we do. IF ONLY I’d heard of childfree a decade earlier… <wry g>
Then came the “yay, my first relative tha I’ll know.” :)
It’s a sheer miracle I never fell pregnant again.
I know from discussions since with amom that she has absolutely no idea where or how I picked up the idea that if we can’t have kids then we have to adopt, and despite me trying to explain it, I still don’t think she really understands how I “learned” some of the things I came away from childhood “knowing”.
I stand by my two sentences that began this post however.
Adoption is what you do when you can’t have kids because it means you get to take someone else’s kid on “as if born unto” yourself. It means you get to pretend that you’ve got a kid of your own, who you can try to mould into some resemblance of yourself, and who you can pretend will take after you.
Fostering is what you do when you want to help kids because it means you get to give kids a solidity and stability that they may not otherwise attain. It means that you are there for them for as long as they need you, and you treasure that person as their own entity, refraining from trying to make them into copies of yourself, or pretending that there is anything other than love and care between you.
Adoption means that the kid is beholden to you for the rest of their life, no matter how your relationship goes. Fostering means that your help forge an independent spirit who comes back to see you in their happiness at having your aid during their start in life.
The fostering part is how it should be done, the adoption part is just what happens to many of us.
So beware, adopters. Despite thinking that you’re teaching the child you’ve taken on the best things in life, you have no idea what they’re really picking up – not just from you, but from the rest of the world around them.
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