The young lady featured with me in the photo above is my friend E. I met E 11 years when she came to the United State as an au pair. My then husband and I hosted her for 13 months. During those thirteen months she helped care for my son and provided me with much needed sanity, fun, laughs and love. She wasn’t my first au pair, nor was she last, but she was definitely one of the best. She became a member of our family.
E came back to visit us a few weeks go. We hadn’t seen her in eleven years. She is now 30 years old, owns her own home and is a mother to her own 8 year old son. Having her with me, again, for two weeks caused me to feel nostalgic and reflect on how blessed I was to have her in my life, how much she helped me, the love she gave my son (and still does only now he is 15 not 3!). My son is now a wonderful soon to be 15 year old boy and I am quite confident that I have her (and our other au pairs) to thank, in part, for who he is. The love and care they gave to him when I was not able to (due to working a demanding job) will never be forgotten and in fact, is seen, daily, in his smile and heard in his voice.
As nearly all things do, her visit caused me to reflect on adoption. There is no obvious connection to cause me to think adoption. She is not adopted, not a birth mother, not even aware of the American concept of adoption since in her culture – Swedish by nationality and Iranian by blood – it is more foreign to her than the USofA. What caused me to think adoption is the very fact that she HELPED me raise my son. She did not take him from me, did not claim her as her own, she helped me, the mother, raise my child. That thought made me think of adoption, more specifically, reform and family preservation.
I focus most of my personal efforts on helping young mothers, expectant mothers, avoid the adoption industry. I donate to organizations that support them. I even sell jewelry and donate proceeds to those same organizations. Helping mothers, vulnerable mothers, is ONE side of the coin, or better yet, one facet of the blood diamond trade. I work to cut off the supply.
Adoption is said to be a woman on woman crime. our sisters take our babies and close the adoptions and permit the amending of birth certificates. Oh sure, the larger landscape includes adoption agencies, men, doctors, religious officials. I get that but if you boil it down to what might start an adoption proceeding? You may find an infertile female, one of us, your sister, daughter, niece, who feels she is entitled to the child born to another, to your child, or your grandchild.
Here is the looming question.
Can we truly make progress in adoption without teaching the current and future young women (tweens, teens, college students) about the reality of adoption? Or are we? Is someone addressing this demographic? If you are the mother of a young daughter, right now, what are YOU doing to change the notion that if you cannot have your own child it is a wonderful thing to go and take the child born to another and claim it as yours and yours alone? Can we make any progress with this future demographic if the media and society at large continues to push the adoption Kook-Aid?