Thursday, September 27, 2012

Better or Different?

A local adoption agency is holding a workshop at my church for couples and families interested in learning more about adoption. This agency, whom I consider to be very reputable, has the tag line of Helping children and families find a better life. That got me wondering if that's what I did. Did I help my child find a better life?

In 1987 I was a high school student, living at home with no steady source of income other than my summer job at a t-shirt store. I didn't have any skills apart from the ones I had learned about customer service and the process of silkscreening.

My birthdaughter's parents, on the other hand, were both professionals working in their respective fields. They had two steady income sources, two cars, a home and a dog. They enjoyed a certain amount of both financial and personal freedom since they had no children.

But did I really give her a better life? I gave her a different life than she would have had with me. I never could have afforded the material things her parents were able to give her. She has a sister that joined the family a couple years after she did. She also had parents that divorced after promising to love each other for the rest of their lives. She had a step-mom and the tension that caused with her mom.

And she didn't have me, the link to her health, her looks, her mannerisms, her family.

So better? Not sure. Different? Definitely.

Photo credit


  1. Such an important point, Terry. The language we use to talk about adoption is so loaded and reveals our biases against young parents and low-income families. Our goal should be supporting any woman who wants to parent, AND making sure adoption is an option that can be chosen with dignity and without coercion if that is the right decision for her. Thank you for writing this.

  2. I agree. I don't think my birth daughter would have had a BAD life had I kept her. Her birth father was graduated from college, had a good job, a house and could have easily supported her and I if we had chose that. But that wasn't the point. At least not for us.

    Terminology is definitely important. I don't think any birth parent wants to think of the adopting family as being better or them being less. It's tough though because of all the intense emotions tied to this topic.