Adoption and divorce


Adoption rocks!

Adoption is a win-win-win.

Adoption is a beautiful thing.

You’ve seen all this before, right? To say anything different is to be hateful and “anti-adoption.”

How about this:

Divorce rocks!

Divorce is a win-win.

Divorce is a beautiful thing. Divorce is the loving choice. Hey, maybe you can’t move past your divorce, but I’m really happy about mine and I know someone who’s really, really happy and grateful their parents split. You should just be grateful you were divorced and not murdered. Have you ever thought about that? You could have been another domestic violence statistic, instead you’re divorced and everything is much more complicated. You should be thankful.

Far-fetched? Not really. Divorce is to marriage what adoption is to birth. Divorce and adoption involve the complete severing of an important, intimate relationship. Both require court proceedings. Both involve pain and grief, no matter how necessary it might be.

Do you celebrate divorce? Do you promote it? Do you hold fundraisers so friends can finally divorce? Even if there is horrible abuse involved, do you really celebrate the dissolution of their marriage?

Divorce can be a mercy. It can be the only reasonable way out of a marriage that has no hope. I was in such a marriage and divorce was a relief.

But I didn’t throw a party, or join a club where we talked about how great it was that our marriages failed. I just carried on as best I could.

Pain is inherent in adoption just as pain is inherent in divorce. It really is that simple. There can be good marriages, great marriages, abysmal marriages, and everything in between. There are also “good divorces,” depending on the circumstances and the people involved. But even those come about because of some insurmountable conflict. And the children are going to suffer, either a little or a lot, no matter if the split was necessary and heartbreaking or calculating and vindictive.

Everyone either is or knows someone well who is the child of divorce. Would you expect them to say, “Oh, I’m so happy my parents divorced. I’m really grateful for the way it affected my life.” Of course not. But we do it to adoptees all the time. And birth parents. And even infertile couples who adopted. “Adoption is a win-win-win! I just love adoption!”

It is acceptable to be forever affected by divorce, especially if you were a child of divorce. It is even considered healthy in our society to recognize the loss. But if your family of origin was severed by adoption, that’s something to “get over.” And by get over, I mean we are supposed to declare that adoption is wonderful, and that we wouldn’t have it any other way, and who needs those other people anyway–the grandparents who got left behind, or the parent you only saw on weekends, if ever. (That last part was about how open adoption supposedly fixes everything. Like visitation does. Never any problems with that, right?)

Until we, as a society, are willing to recognize that adoption comes from something brokenwe will never be able to have an honest conversation about it. We will only have slogans.