The A in Adoption is not a scarlet letter.
I am adopted. I do not ever remember a time in my life that I did not know this beautiful fact. My mother explained to me from a young age that I came from someone else’s belly. She explained that I had a birth mother who had me when she was young and unable to take care of me herself. But, because I was so loved, my birth mother placed me for adoption by choosing a family specifically for me. My mother told me I was not a mistake, but an answer to years of prayers.
I loved hearing about my adoption story growing up. It was full of love and it exhibited how many people were routing for me, planning for me and loving me before I was even born. I thought this was a pretty big deal, and I thought it was special. Since I was a child, I have loved to tell people that I am adopted. It is such a fun fact!
As I have shared my story with people however, I have been confronted with the strangest realization. There is often a negative connotation surrounding adoption. I speak with birth mothers who feel embarrassed and judged. Many people have responded to my happy pronouncement with solemn respect—as if I told them something traumatic happened to me. A counselor once suggested that I might have abandonment issues because I was adopted… What? I was given life! I was given a brother who’s my best friend. I was given family.
Of course adoption stories can have a prologue that is challenging. The birth family may be working their way through a hurdle in life. A couple seeking to adopt may be healing from a rocky road of family building. But, regardless of the starting line for some of these challenging life stories, the end is a happy ending. Adoption is a story of selflessness, sacrifice, love and life. A Birth Mother and Father should never have to feel like they are wearing a scarlet letter for placing their child for adoption. And an adoptee is not seeking sympathy when they state that they are adopted.
That being said, the adoption community is loving and wonderful. Adoptive parents and families are loving and wonderful people who promote adoption and give it the praise and reverence it innately deserves. And I echo that perspective. I want to take this opportunity to thank birth families who support their family member’s decision to do what they feel is best for their child. I want to thank birth parents for making what has to be one of the most difficult and selfless decisions a person can make. And I want to thank adoptive parents for loving and raising us. Thank you Mom for praying for me to come to you and for being my mom. Adoption is not a scarlet letter. Adoption is a badge of love and life.