A week after I had my son, I went to visit a former teacher of mine, who I have always looked up to and admired. I would typically go to him when I needed to spill. On this particular day, I walked into his office, sank down into the chair opposite of his desk, and sighed out, “I had a baby last week and I don’t have him because I chose adoption.” He had no idea I had even been pregnant, so of course he was shocked. While I thought he would give me one of those lengthy lectures I had received from him so many times prior, this time was different. This time he spoke to me from one parent to another – as equals – and it was quite profound. Up until this point, virtually no one had treated me this way.
Was this because I was choosing adoption? Or was it because I was a poor little single pregnant girl, who had been knocked up by a boyish man with no sense of responsibility. Poor Kelsey, she’s so unlucky – a true charity case. Throughout my pregnancy, I longed to speak about my adoption choice without someone smothering me in pity and awkward gazes of sadness. After all, I was twenty-three years old. I was a full-grown woman, making a decision for the betterment of my own child. I wasn’t interested in pity; I was craving respect and an equal identity in the world of parenthood. I wanted to be just as much of a woman as everyone else, but it felt as though no one would grant me that.
Is it wrong to be sad for a woman who is choosing adoption? Of course not. I certainly won’t tell you how to feel. It’s a whirlwind of emotions, of course there are sad times. Oftentimes, however, women in this situation are yearning for someone to uplift them and show support. When women make an adoption plan, they don’t need someone to tell them how sad they are. We must empower these women, but further, we need to treat them as equals. Don’t erase her womanhood and please don’t erase her motherhood; even if she hasn’t reached the legal adult age, she’s making an adult decision that deserves to be honored.
When I spoke with my former teacher that day, he wrapped up our very judgmental society so eloquently: “We are all just one step away from making a decision that would change our lives forever. Some of us take that extra step, and that is all that separates us from one another.” How very true. Demanding respect can be a tricky task, but birth mothers shouldn’t have to do that. If you know a woman considering adoption, instead of telling her how sad it must be, tell her how much of a strong woman she is. She deserves to know that.