Monday, February 13, 2012

Enough

I try to avoid a lot of the adoption-debate drama on the internet. I don't make a habit of reading blogs that are angry and use words like “always” and “never” and whose authors tear apart people who disagree with them.

I also try to avoid being the sort of person who stirs the pot. I don't think the pot needs stirring, and even if it did, I don't think that's my job. I don't write this blog to educate the world or to convince anyone of anything. I get woefully unfocused at times but I really do want this blog to be for Roo. I want her to be able to read it when she's older and to understand things.

But it's impossible to avoid meanies all the time, and I have read my share of anti-adoption propaganda written by self-described first mothers. One thing that seems to come up a lot on this sort of blog is the word “enough.” Apparently many disenfranchised first mothers were told by adoption agencies that they weren't good enough or old enough or rich enough or whatever enough to parent their children. They were ostensibly guilted into placement. This is wrong on so many levels!

I am not going to get into that today. But I do want to address this idea of “enough” and how it fits in with placing Roo.

I have been told by those who disagree with my idea of an adoption that my agency lied to me, that I am all my baby needed, that I am good enough and smart enough and doggone it people like me. But my agency, as it happens, never once told me I wasn't good enough to parent Roo. They never said that she deserved better than me. It never got personal in that way.

I was Roo's mother for nine weeks. I know that I was enough. I know that I was a good mother, that I took the very best care of her, that I could do it – no matter what, I could find a way to provide for her. But none of those things were factors in my choice. I didn't place her because I thought I was a bad mother or that I couldn't do it or that I couldn't take care of her. None of those things made my decision for me.

I don't believe for a second that Roo deserved better than me, because I was certainly enough.

I didn't place her because I wasn't enough. I placed her because I couldn't give her enough. Do you see the difference? It's not that she deserved better than me. It's that she deserved better than I could give her. The former is about me. The latter is about her.

I was a good mother. I took excellent care of my tiny girl. And I love her so much! Nothing in the world puts a smile on my face faster than Roo. I love her so much that I gave her the things I knew she deserved – an eternal family; a stable, happy home; parents who are utterly devoted to each other. (Please note that none of those things have to do with wealth.)

I couldn't give those things to her as her mother. So I gave them to her by giving her parents who could.

I was enough. I am still enough! But adoption wasn't about me. I'm glad that I knew that then and that I know it now. I am grateful that no one tried to convince me that placement was an admission of my failure as a mother. What an awful thing to live with! I'm glad that's not my burden to bear (I have enough, thank you).

I am sorry that there are some birth mothers out there who are burdened with that idea. But I am also sorry that some of them want to convince expectant mothers that they needn't even consider adoption because “you are enough!” It's not about being enough or having enough. It's about giving enough, and it's not personal. Adoption is no failure, it's not about giving up. It's about giving more.

Adoption wasn't about my lack; it was about her gain. I placed Roo because I was enough – mature enough, considerate enough, loving enough. I was enough – I am enough – and because of that, Roo has enough.

And that's enough about that.

33 comments:

Coley said...

Well said. Very very well said!

Cami said...

Beautiful.
Love this post!

Rachel said...

Love

Karin Katherine said...

I think I'm going to print this post and put it in my daughter's baby book. Because her birth mom has never written her a letter and because I want her to know that her adoption wasn't about my daughter not being good enough (especially since her birth mom got pregnant again less than a year later)after she was parented for 12 weeks...and that this other child (so far) will be parented by her birth mom.

This word "enough" is heavy in Adoption circles.

Thanks for sharing it.

Involved Birthfathers said...

Very well put. It wasn't about not being able to provide her with "things", it was about being able to provide intangables such as a stable home life and parents who not only loved her, but who loved each other as well.

mrs. r said...

Man, this is just so good.

Sharon said...

Thank you for this Jill. I accidentally stumbled across a number of blogs by adult adoptee's and first mothers this weekend that left me hugely disturbed and worried by their anti adoption propoganda and also the almost hatred that was directed at adoptive parents. Both my husband and I have been hugely disturbed and worried about the sentiments they expressed and what that impact would be on our daughter.
I love this post because what you have written here matches exactly with what our Birth Mother told us as her reason's for placing Ava. Thank you, you post has given me peace!

Shane, Meg, CJ, RJ, and AL said...

So, so, SO well said, my friend.

tara said...

Beautiful. i want to be like you when I grow up. I don't say that facetiously-- I have 4 beautiful daughters and every day I am striving to give them the best of me. A stable home, parents who can get along so they feel secure and a knowledge of who they really are, not what this world defines them as, or would have them be. thanks for sharing such intimate and real emotions!

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Wow...again. You explain things so wonderfully. <3

Annie said...

so incredibly said! thank you for sharing.

gina @ Birth Mother Baskets said...

This is powerful and AMAZING! Do you mind if I share it on our blog Birth Mother Baskets?(www.birthmotherbaskets.blogspot.com)

Shian said...

So beautifully worded (as always)

Heather said...

Oh, wow - I love this statement and will probably quote it often: "Adoption is not failure, it's not about giving up. It's about giving more."

Karin Katherine - We have a very similar situation and I love the idea of printing this for my son's lifebook.

And finally... it takes a shrewd person to work a Stuart Smalley quote into a serious blog post. Well played. :)

Jessica said...

Jill, you have such a way with words! I love this. Well said!

Chris, Dana and Addison: Hoping to Grow through Open Adoption said...

Amazing post.

Making Our Family Complete said...

Thank you so much!

Not Kim said...

Thank you for posting this! As a strong advocate for adoption, friend to many birth parents, and adoptive mother, I get tired of all the adoption hate blogs. It's easy to get sucked into reading them and wanting to scream about how wrong they are, but they aren't interested in listening or even having an open mind. I'm grateful there are so many awesome people that spread the good news about adoption, and not focus on hate and misinformation. Thank you!

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Jill Elizabeth said...

Thanks for all your great comments, peeps! I'm glad you like it.

Gina - you absolutely can share this! :)

Chris and Kristy said...

Once again, thank you for sharing your insights. Truly, you have a gift of sharing through writing. I appreciate you, your honesty, and willingness to be open!!

Que and Brittany are Hoping to Adopt! said...

PS: I think LDSFS should have you be in one of their birth mom videos on their website, and I think you should read this post in your video. I don't know how to make that happen, but I think it would be beautiful and it would help a lot of people understand adoption better.

Audra Owens said...

Very profound Jill. Who can argue with that? You are so smart...

Whitney said...

Beautiful, beautiful. You definitely have a gift with words, my friend.

lifeintheparentlane said...

Wow! So well said. I do not know the exacts on my children's Korean mothers, but I have no doubts they were loved and if there were financial resources they would have loved to have them in their lives still. I always hope that we give them what they (Korean mothers) think their children deserve because they (their Korean mothers) deserve that. I, personally, can't think of adoption as anything less than selfless on the part of the biological mothers. God bless

Kelsey Stewart, Author said...

What a great post! Thank you for saying it, and explaining *yet again* your why's in your truths.

I do see the difference and agree wholeheartedly! With your permission, I would like to spotlight this post on my blog because you say it so eloquently. I believe there are many of my readers who would not only appreciate what you said here, but also like to know that someone else feels the way they do.

Kudos on this post, and thank you for an intelligent and compassionate read.

Jill Elizabeth said...

Kelsey, I would be very flattered if you mentioned this post on your blog! You certainly have my permission.

Amanda D said...

I love this post. Thank you, thank you!

Unknown said...

I saw your post on the chicagonow site and started to cry. Then came over here and cried all over again. You're an amazing person (and an excellent writer) and Roo is a lucky little girl to be loved so much.

Von said...

Thanks for expressing your views and thoughts. I hope Roo will have the opportunity to express hers and to have them accepted as well as yours have been when she is older.

Rebecca said...

Love this. So beautiful!!

Tricia said...

Thank you so much! My husband and I have just started praying and thinking about adopting. This is the first thing I've read that hasn't made me feel like a terrible person for wanting to adopt. Thank you for that gift.

5df8d38a-92da-11e1-a5a6-000f20980440 said...

Thank you very much for posting this. I am the sister of a child who was adopted through foster care, and I feel blessed to be part of his life still. I hate getting comments from the anti-adoption crowd about 'oh, you didn't think you were enough for him, and you shouldn't care about him because you signed him away', but I had to make the choice that was best for him, and give him what I couldn't. It makes me so glad that I'm not the only one that feels that way. :)