Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Why Adoption Sucks

How's that for a conversation starter? Actually, I am all for the concept of adoption-- the matching up of children whose biological parents can't or won't raise them with adoptive parents who will and can and want very much to do so. I'm even more in favor of it because my little sister and her husband (married now nearly 10 years) are unable to produce biological offspring and have been trying desperately to adopt from a local agency. Either of them would be a better parental unit than any couple I know, and that's saying a lot.

But the whole adoption process sucks.

A few years ago, they had a near miss with a baby boy. The birth mother was healthy but unmarried, uneducated, and unready for the commitment of motherhood. Her current boyfriend wasn't the child's father and didn't want to raise "some other guy's kid." Good enough: The girl selected my sweet sister and brother-in-law to raise her precious child, despite pressure from her family to keep the baby anyway. She gave birth, everything went well, the new parents drove to the hospital (a couple hundred miles away) to pick up their new sweetheart-- and the girl changed her mind. At the very last possible second, she backed out, caved in to the pressure. I could have killed her. It very nearly killed my sister.

I don't know what it takes to give up a baby you have grown inside your body for most of a year. I could never do it. But my babies were intentional; we wanted them in our family with all our hearts. They were a commitment we will honor all our lives. It would be incredibly hard to commit to give away a baby, even knowing that this would be best for all involved. It would be so hard. But I still sometimes feel violently angry at the person who broke my precious little sister's heart. I still remember when she was the sweet, beautiful baby.

Now this wonderful couple, after more years of prayers and anguish, has been selected again by a birth mother to raise a lovely baby girl. This one was determined to place her baby for adoption; being adopted herself (and only 15), she felt it was the right thing to do. Things went well again, and Baby Catherine was born last week, mainly healthy but lacking one little thing: the ability to eat. She's been fed through a tube for the past 6 days in the NICU, and her new parents were able to visit once to see her, hold her, even take pictures. (She is so beautiful!) But the birth mother has left the hospital without signing the adoption papers; she said she won't until the baby is healthy and can leave too. She's not answering her phone, and nobody seems to know where she is. But because Little Sis and her man aren't the legal parents of Baby Catherine yet, they're not allowed to be with her or even find out much about what's happening to her. And the social workers can't seem to do anything for them-- or for that sweet little baby lying helpless and hungry in the hospital.

So they wait by the phone, hoping. Praying. Crying. Praying some more. Dear God, please...

Adoption is hell.


Jessica said...

Wow...I feel as if I've been punched in the gut - I can't imagine what your sister has gone through.

It's another damn inequity in the universe, I tell ya, when good people want a baby more than anything and can't make it happen while unfit parents get pregnant and give birth every day. Unreal.

MIM said...

My thoughts are with your sister and the little one.

Kory O said...

Snooze, I am so sorry to hear about what your sis, her hubby and most of all little Catherine are going through. I hope it all works out somehow.

Scone said...

Thanks, all. This situation is heartbreaking all over. And things are actually getting worse. The birthmother is now hanging around the NICU, and she and her parents freak out at the idea that Little Sis and her man might actually visit the baby. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is all I have to say.

purpleelephant said...

That really sucks. I'm thinking of your sister and her husband and hoping it turns out OK in the end.
It certainly sounds as if they deserve it.
Do keep us updated.