Our adoption was “meant to be.”
This statement is a perennial favorite for debate among adoption writers and bloggers. Was our adoption meant to be? Or was it in fact, a painful and posssibly preventable event in a birthmother’s / adoptee’s life? The latest post to get the adoption community into a flutter is Adoption, Destiny and Magical Thinking.
Most free-thinking liberals and the non-religious take issue with the notion that anyone’s adoption was “meant to be.” The most basic facts in local adoption* are pretty simple: an unplanned pregnancy and an adoption plan. The adoption decision is made within months or even weeks of birth and in that whirlwind, a baby lands in a new family. This decision is typically made very quickly, involves human life and has lasting, lifelong in fact, implications for everyone involved.
When I think about difficult and painful things that have happened in my life such as my sister dying when I was 19 years old (she was 12-) it’s impossible for me to say it was “meant to be.” In fact, to this day, in my deepest core, I believe that the medical establishment failed her. When Mark thinks about his mother dying at 57 of cancer, I’ve never heard him say it was “meant to be.” I hear only sadness and pain. When Mark’s Dad talks about the twins who died in childbirth, no one ever says that was meant to be.
Now I know in adoption, no one died but from what I understand, placing a child for adoption is like a death. I know how bleak that sounds because in reality the child is (ideally) alive and well cared for and loved. But let’s face it, all things considered, if the circumstances were ideal no birthparent would place a child for adoption.
On the flipside, and I’ve obnoxiously written about this, adoption can offer gains for all concerned. Adoptive parents gain a family, birthparents gain whatever it is they seek, and adoptees get the stability of a loving family that is ready to parent.
In our adoption, the birthgrandmother was adamant that we were meant to be Theo’s parents, that God had pointed the way. Many people have mentioned destiny, fate in relation to our adoption, and I always shrug it off. I prefer to think of it as a random occurrence that worked out quite beautifully. And really, how is that different from giving birth?
And besides, whether adoption is meant to be or not meant to be, you know what? IT IS. Let’s learn from it and make it the best that it can be.
*I am referring to adoptions like ours: local, non-ministry adoption where birthparents select the adoptive family.
How do you feel about the phrase “meant to be?”