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The Tragedy of Adoption

November 17, 2017

I love adoption. My younger brother adopted four children. My sister adopted three. My lovely wife and I adopted ten. And my older brother and I were adopted by our step-father.

I’m a pretty strong advocate for adoption. It has brought countless joy into my life and the lives of people I know.

It’s also one of the most horrifying events that can take place. People think children are available for adoption because they have parents that do not love them. In my experience those cases make up the vast minority of cases. One of my children is adopted from China. Abortion is legal and cheap in China. The fact that my child was born meant that a mother wanted the baby to be born. The baby was placed near a police station. It was quickly found and placed in an orphanage.

Another group of children we adopted are from Haiti. We met their birth mother. The first question the birth mother asked my wife was, “Do you love my children?” This mother loved her children, but was unable to care for them. She made the heartbreaking choice to place them for adoption. Another child was born in India. That child’s mother placed the baby at the orphanage because she could no longer afford to care for her.

Other kids were from Columbia. Their mother visited them often and attempted to be a part of their life even though she couldn’t raise them.

I was adopted at 14 years old. I asked my birth father to allow me to be adopted by my step-father. I wanted to do all I could to strengthen our family unit. My birthday was heartbroken. But, he loved me enough to say yes. I avoided contact with him for years. Decades even. He is now battling cancer. I reached out to let him know how much I appreciate the sacrifice he made all those years ago.

A few years ago one of my children, who was in the foster care program, asked if I would allow her to be adopted by her foster parents. It was gut wrenching. This was my child. And yet, I remembered the lesson my birth father taught me. I said yes. The judge later overruled the adoption, but I still had to go through the emotional struggle.

I have grandkids that may end up being adopted. And they may be adopted by strangers. At least strangers to me. The thought is crushing my heart.

Yes, adoption is a wonderful thing. It gives children a chance at a life they might never have had. But, it’s not without its victims, too. The joy of a new family is often a reflection of the sorrow of another.

I love my children and I’m grateful that they had the opportunity to be placed or adoption. I sympathize with the pain and grief that the adoption caused their parents. . .and grandparents.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

  1. April Johnson permalink

    I appreciate your thoughts about adoption; so much more than you know.

  2. Adoption is one of the most unnatural things that can happen to a person. Adoptions are the results of political and economic systems of oppression that entrap biological parents around the world, whether that be the social stigma against single mothers in Korea, the One Child Policy in China, and women’s inferior status or poverty in any country. Eighty percent of women who had relinquished children interviewed in the Marshall Islands thought that adoption meant their children would come back to them at 18. There is such a demand for adoption, corruption has followed every substantial sending country.

    • I’m not sure you can use the Marshall Islands as an example of adoption worldwide. The mothers in the Marshall Islands were straight up lied to. People in the United States went to jail for it.

      And I don’t see adoption being the driving force for some of the problems in the world. I see it as the result. The truth is that there is not enough demand for adoption. Having been to orphanages around the country, it’s tragic to see the number of children who never win the lottery for a ticket to a better life.

  3. Women have been “straight up lied to” across the world and across history for the purpose of adoption. Transracial adoptions started as an effort of cultural genocide in Australia. The then mentality was that aboriginal children who grew up in white Australian families would marry white Australians, and so the country would “whiten out” the aboriginal population. These are the roots of adoption that cannot be erased. The truth is quite opposite of what you suggest. If we were to untie Western money from the international adoption industry, international adoptions would soon cease to exist, in favor of domestic adoptions and family preservation efforts.

  4. Donna permalink

    Why did you have a child in foster care?

    • Some of my kids had issues that needed to be worked on in a home without younger children. They went into foster care to work on those issues. Fortunately, we got to keep in close contact with them and they are now adults and doing better for their time in care.

      Also, sadly, many of the treatment programs that are available to help troubled youth are prohibitively expensive. One program that one of my kids was in was $12,000/month. The only way she could be in that program was to be in foster care and have the state pay it.

      It’s not the only reason she was in care, but it was a contributing factor.

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