There are countless perspectives about adoption. This makes a lot of sense to me, as there are three parties to consider-the adoptee, the birth mother/family, and the adoptive parents. I have noticed an unhealthy trend in the adoption community. The best phrase I can use to describe it is this: “generalizing perspectives in adoption.” Often times we hear of an adoptee, birth mother or adoptive family’s experience in adoption and we mistakenly conclude that must be true for every situation. However, that belief is false. We must be careful not to make blanket assumptions about any part of the triad because in doing so we are unknowingly contributing to stereotypes/generalizations.
For example, let’s say you meet a couple who has chosen adoption as a means to grow their family because they have struggled with infertility. Then, you go on to assume that all couples or most who pursue adoption have struggled with infertility as well. Now while many couples who struggle with infertility do walk down this path, I work with a lot of families, both small and large, who are not infertile, but have chosen the path of adoption.
The same is true of adoptee and birth mother perspectives. If you hear an adoptee speak about their story and how they feel about their adoption, you can’t conclude that all adoptees feels the same way about adoption that this person does. This just isn’t true. I have many friends who were adopted and I can tell you that each of their experiences and opinions are different and no story is like the next. Similarly, no two birth mother/parents opinions and experiences are exactly the same. Just because you read about one birth mother’s perspectives on adoption, does not mean that every birth mother views adoption the way that she does.
As an adoption consultant I get asked a ton of questions about adoption on a daily basis. Of course it’s my job and I love answering questions, but sometimes I can pick up on these stereotypes just by the type of questions someone will ask. “So most birth mothers are teenagers, right?” False. Only about 25% of birth mothers/parents are teenagers. I get asked similar questions like this about the “type” of birth mothers our families place with and the truth is they are all different with varying backgrounds, preferences, ethnicities, stories, hobbies, hopes and dreams. There isn’t one “type” of birth mother.
Perhaps you read an adoption story about a family whose journey to their child wasn’t easy. They waited two years and went through 2 failed adoptions before they brought their child home. You don’t want to go through what this family went through! While no adoption is risk-free or easy, you can’t assume that your story will look like anyone else’s. Every adoption is unique and different. How do I know that? Because every potential adoptive parent, expectant/birth parent and adoptee are unique and different.
It’s important that we listen and respect the voices of all parties of the adoption triad and their differing experiences and perspectives. But let’s be careful not to assume that everyone holds the same opinions and experiences that one person does. God crafted each and every person so uniquely and special. And we are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God and each have our own experiences and opinions that we bring to the table. Let’s give space to learn from a variety of perspectives.