Continuing with the feel-good series of the year, and this time we are going to focus on your flaws. Yep, you are not perfect. I’ll let you digest that for a moment. Have you swallowed your pride and decided to read on? Good for you, perhaps we can move forward. You see, many adoptive families give me a laundry list of what they are looking for in their child, usually culminating in the child being healthier, prettier and smarter than they could possibly deliver in a biological child. Now I’m not saying that I can’t place that particular child; I have done so many times. But what most adoptive parents don’t realize (or choose to ignore) is that when I have that child to place, it is not the agency who chooses the adoptive family, it is that child’s birth mother. And she might not want you to parent her child. More digestion required here I see. I’ll wait.
Did you get that – she doesn’t want you to be the adoptive family. Guess what, that’s fine. It’s not your decision, it’s hers. Just because you are shown on a particular situation that you think must be meant for you because it’s absolutely everything you want doesn’t mean you will get chosen. So get over it. Seriously, get over yourself. You are not God’s gift to every birth mom. You aren’t supposed to be. Every birth mom (or birth family – sometimes the birth fathers are involved too you know) has her own idea of what the perfect family for her child looks like. Sometimes it’s a general idea, sometimes there are very defined specifics that are deal breakers for her. Sometimes that changes as she goes through the process. And she has every right to that, even when it's hard to define or articulate. No one, not her social worker, not her extended family and certainly not grabby adoptive families should be trying to convince her otherwise. Sometimes this is hard; sometimes she does have to embrace a reality check too because her list is unrealistic. But usually she has many choices and chooses the family who she thinks will be the best from her point of view. Read that sentence again – HER point of view, not yours. Not even mine.
I get very frustrated with adoptive parents who seem to assume that because they have a certain characteristic that they will of course be chosen any time they are shown. This is part of the reason we tend not to share every time you are shown – because if you are not chosen we both have to deal with the fallout. Does this mean you shouldn’t adopt? Of course not, I didn’t say you were wrong for every situation. But you do have to accept that you will be rejected by more prospective birth mothers than you will be accepted by. For those of you who sat at the cool kids lunch table in high school this will require a giant paradigm shift. For the rest of us it will be same ‘ole story, different face. But for those of us who were unpopular nerds in high school can testify to the fact that initial rejection often leads to a much better situation later on, and this holds true in adoption as well. Yes waiting is hard. But again, the wait isn’t about you, although the stress makes it seem that way. The wait is for your child, and as parents – you will become parents! – we wait a lot. We wait in the doctor’s office, in the carpool, for the potty. This one is longer than most, but the payoff is greater too. If you can get over yourself, that is. And I will be very clear – if you cannot get over yourself you should not adopt. I realize this is frustrating, but what I have learned over the years is just because you may be great parents does not mean you would be great adoptive parents, and our children deserve the best parents they can have, whether biological or adoptive.