Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A rant about relationships

I promise I won't make a practice of this. I swear I'm not making a regular feature on picking apart comments read elsewhere. Unfortunately I really need to get this out of my head!

I was just poking around reading some blogs by adoptees. It's a very different lense on the adoption experience. Specifically it's one that I feel I need more of if Festus' adoption is to remain child focused, not me focused. So I'm stretching myself a bit and trying to grow. Good for me. I came across a post regarding a facebook group called "Birth Mom Missions." I haven't looked into it personally. I'm a conscientious facebook objector. In the comments section I read the following:

"My head is spinning. I just read over there that God gave Jesus to Joseph for adoption because he couldn't raise him.

God hadn't finished college yet? God was too immature to stand by Mary?"

There are so many things wrong with that statement I don't know where to start. I won't even get into the question of an omnipotent/omnipresent being who is incapable of doing something. There's just too much dumb there and I don't want to get anymore on me than there already is.

But here we have yet another example of the classic stereotypes coming out. The adoption had to happen because he was too immature to stand by his woman. Granted this is an intentionally ridiculous example. But the sentiment remains. This picks at a wound that has been on my mind a lot lately. There are a few common assumptions about why domestic adoptions happen.

1) Money. The first-family can't afford to raise a(nother) child.

2) Drugs/Domestic Abuse/Chaos. The first-family is unfit to parent.

3) Youth. The first-family is in high school or early college and they're "just too young."

4) Dad's a Jerk. The first-father won't commit to staying with the first-mother.

The money issue is often a very real one. It often ties in with reason #3. After all there aren't many people in high school or their first few years in college who are financially comfortable enough to be independent, let alone be able to care for a child. High schoolers don't make that much money. Drugs/Abuse/General Chaos is also a factor not to be underestimated. All of these factors can be very real players in making an adoption plan. As much as I hate to admit it so is #4. There are some guys out there that are just jerks. Plain and simple. It's also true that women can be jerks too. I may be a misanthrope, but I'm a misanthrope of equal opportunity. But there are many more reasons than just four that an individual or couple decide to make an adoption plan. Perhaps parenting isn't right for them. Maybe the parents are in such different places in their lives they can already see no one would be happy if they "stay together for the child." Maybe, just maybe, there are relationship that should end before a child is brought into it.

I chose my words very carefully in the description of assumption #4. The first-father won't commit to staying with the first-mother. There's often a strong emphasis on the first-father's will here. The implication is that if the first-father would "man up" and "put a ring on it" he could live out his days happily with the first-mother and their child. Because he won't commit he has made the willful decision to be unhappy in the relationship. He should decide to be happy and then the adoption would be unnecessary.

It is at this point that I feel I must remind the reader that presently over 51% of marriages in the United States end in divorce.

I don't want to see that number go up. I don't believe that a person can decide to make a relationship work. Unfortunately sometimes things just don't work out. Sometimes love isn't enough. How disappointing a story would Romeo and Juliette be if the strength of their love made their respective families resolve all their differences and they never encountered another problem so long as each of them loved the other enough? No one would buy it because we know it doesn't work that way.

I think it's time that we put away the faerie tale and have a face to face with reality. Most romantic relationships fail. Sometimes someone is at fault. Sometimes circumstances just don't work. Most of the time someone feels very hurt, betrayed, and abandoned. Whatever the reason for the end of the relationship it always results in the same conclusion; the relationship failed.

That makes the ones that work so much more valuable.


  1. All four of those things were in part or in whole involved in the adoption of my daughter. But it still makes me crazy that people make the assumption. It's really not anyone's business, unless I choose to share it. Nor is it anyone's place to make a judgement call about it. Yes, these things were in play. No, it does not make Pie's birthparents bad people, or any less worthy of involvement in her life. They made the choice that was right for them. Period.

  2. Well said. Like many stereotypes are dangerous because they contain a kernel of truth. The four factors mentioned above are frequent players in adoption decisions. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't other reasons. People outside of adoption situations tend to focus on one or two of those three to the complete exclusion of any other possibility. I.E. if one factor is true, all others I haven't imagined are ruled out.

    I'm glad there are people like you out there who really get it.

  3. Great post. You're correct, there's much maligning of men in adoption discussion. It's sexism, plain and simple.

    In defense of the adoptee comment though, my guess is their issue was with a god having anything to do with adoption not so much with fathers, which, I imagine you realize.

    At least the statement provoked this excellent post!


What do you think? I'm curious.