Church Friend 1 (aka Fuchsia) – “Giant Petunia, I hear you are adopted? We found out last year that there is no chance that we will have children of our own. I was wondering, would you mind if I asked you what it is like being adopted?”
Giant Petunia – “Wow, I’ve NEVER been asked that by a Church member before. Most people just assume being adopted is like not being adopted, unless an adoptee “acts up” and then suddenly all of their problems stem from being a bad seed.”
I continued to explain that as a child I was told and believed that I was “Special” and “Chosen” but as I grew up and struggled with my own fertility I understood that I wasn’t really “chosen” but second best and an unwanted baby. It wasn’t until I was reunited with my natural family that I understood the gravity of my lack of “Genetic Mirroring” had on me and my relationship with my children. I continued to explain how much I loved my parents and family that raised me but there was always something missing.
THEN another Church Friend (aka Lavender) joined the conversation.
Lavender– “You know Fuchsia, not everyone feels like Giant Petunia. Most people are happy that they are adopted. Don’t let her experience change your mind about adopting.”
GP to Lavender – “I understand that most LDS adoptees never voice how they feel about being adopted. We are rarely given the opportunity to be anything BUT grateful. Fuchsia asked ME how it felt being adopted and what I’ve shared is not my opinion it is how many adoptees, if asked in a safe environment, will answer. Please do not dismissed my experience as unique because you’ve never heard others speak their Truth.”
Lavender [turns to talk just to Fuchsia] – “Don’t base your decision on what she is saying. I’ll send you an email with a Church support group for adoptive parents. It is so hard to adopted a baby domestically now. Most of these parents can help you with an international adoption. Talk to you later!”
GP to Fuchsia – “Thanks again for asking about what it feels like to be adopted. I know from experience that not being able to have babies feels like Heavenly Father doesn’t think you’ll be a good mother. That is not the case. I know you’ll be a great mother. I know you can love a child that isn’t biologically your child.
Continue to seek information about what it feels like to be adopted. I’m not trying to discourage you from adoption but you need to understand that raising an adopted child isn’t the same as raising a biological child.
Also, I hesitate opening another can of worms – but be careful with international adoptions. I know it seems like you are helping the orphans of the world but that “Genetic Mirroring” I was talking about is even harder when you separate a child from their culture. There are also child traffickers — some of those “orphans” are actually kidnapped children from poorer regions of the country. There are PLENTY of orphans in the US.
One more thing, I know this is a heavy conversation and maybe not what you wanted to hear, but just as you mourn the loss of not being able to have your own child understand that every adoption has a mother and child mourning the loss of each other.
Fuchsia – “Thank you so much for sharing, really. I know that everyone says adoption is a great option for us but knowing that a woman would have to have a baby and give that baby to me to care for has been the “thing” that makes me wonder about adoption. I actually can imagine how hard that would be and I don’t know if I couldn’t live with myself knowing that my happiness came at the expense of someone else’s pain”
GP [tears welling in my eyes] – “There are children that legitimately need a good mom like you. For someone that does not have experience with adoption you understand the complexities of adoption better than many first mothers, adoptive parents and adoptees. This conversation means more to me than you’ll ever know. Thank you. Please know that I will answer any questions you have with complete honesty. I hope we’ll talk more about this.”