Ever heard the expression “I can’t see the forest for the trees?” Sometimes working in the field of adoption, this expression comes to mind, and I start to feel a little overwhelmed. Adoption is a tough way to make a living. The emotions of everyone involved generally run high. Prospective adoptive parents who may still be grieving their infertility. Birth families who are grieving the physical loss of their baby. Sitting in grief with both sides of families touched by adoption is a privilege. Yet it’s a tiring privilege.
So why do it?
I do it for the adoptees.
Adoptees become adoptees completely through the choices of the adults to whom they are connected. Their birth parents make a choice based on their inability to provide care they believe the child needs at that point in their life. Adoptive parents choose to adopt a child because they believe they can provide for that child in ways that the birth family cannot.
Because adoptees do not have a choice in this crucial piece of their lives, it is up to the adults who did make this choice to provide not only for the child’s physical and emotional needs, but also for their identity needs.
Adoptees need to believe that they are wanted. Treasured. Loved.
They have a right to know the parts of their biology that make them a unique individual and the parts of their adoptive family that also contribute to this uniqueness.
Adoptees do not need to be grateful to their adoptive parents any more than a biological child needs to be grateful to their parents.
I work in adoption because I want to help first moms realize that their decision to place a child was a good one and one that was not made for nothing.
I work in adoption because I want to help the adults create the kind of environment in which to raise children that lets the child flourish.
I work in adoption because I want the adopted child to grow up to be a confident adult who knows—really knows—that they are loved and have value.
That’s why I work in adoption.