Uneasy Logic

Thank you all for sharing your points of view on the last Open Mike. When I put that post up, I struggled with how to pose the question, and the comments confirm the complexity of the issue. They also point to the fact that what may look like a reasonable question in adoption circles may look quite different to those considering it from different perspectives.

One of the comments literally slapped me in the face: How could we even be discussing adoption in the context of early teen pregnancy without question why and how a young girl could be pregnant in the first place? Yes, this is an adoption blog and I framed the question in the context of adoption, specifically first mothers' rights. But the fact is that everything in life is connected, and for me to take this issue out of the larger context presents a danger, because it sidesteps the main concern - the fact that girls as young as eleven or twelve or thirteen do become pregnant. It's my responsibility as a citizen, never mind a mother or adoptive mother, to know a whole lot more about the facts of this situation and to take action. That includes talking more about it.

The issue of racial attitudes toward adoption was raised by several commenters, and is one that I believe deserves continued dialog, too. For me, it seems to turn on white attitudes toward social stigma - what feeds them, what drives them, and why they have attained such a hold on behavior. One commenter pointed out that the history of oppression experienced by people of color might factor into why adoption is considered less frequently in those populations. It makes sense to me that a history of loss could bring a deeper respect for new lives, perhaps because they represent self-preservation, perhaps because less material wealth brings human and spiritual wealth into greater focus. Much to consider here.

As to the original question - is a woman ever too young to parent? Your opinions covered many aspects of the issue, and in my opinion were all parts of a broader answer:
  • Pre-teens and teens are children, and common sense tells us that children should not be parents. Preventing pregnancy in teen and pre-teens must be the focus of this issue.
  • However, when a young girl does become pregnant, we need to look carefully at the circumstances to ensure we are doing all we can to prevent them in the future.
  • We also need to accept that once a girl has experienced pregnancy, hiding her in secrecy and covering her in shame won't bring her childhood back.
  • We must therefore preserve her relationship with her child, rather than destroy it in an effort to pretend the pregnancy never happened.

Logical, yes, but it still leaves me uneasy. For how could any approach that leaves in its wake one child forced into adulthood and another separated from its mother do otherwise?

Comments

Dana said…
Thanks for this post, Margie. It takes a lot of guts to talk about looking at something from a totally different perspective.

Not pointing fingers at ANYONE here, but it seems like a lot of adoptive parents don't really want to think of birthmoms as anything other than a conduit of providing them with a child. Their problems, their lives, how they came to be in the position of being pregnant witht a child they cannot raise themselves, are all things that are overlooked, like something gross on the sidewalk that you step over gingerly, careful not to get any on your shoe. Thank you for not being one of those people.
Of course you are always welcome to post a comment and add me to a blogroll. And now I have found you lovely site to go with mine...ut give me time I sometimes go months without updating the blogroll even though I still check out all the new blogs.

Thanks for stopping by
Nichole
I loved the discussions in the open mike. I kept meaning to thank you for that; sorry I'm late!
Anonymous said…
ThirdMom,
I know you were passing along someone else's thought, but I think it is important to clarify that people of color DO NOT think about adoption less often. In fact, in terms of their relative population in the US, more people of color adopt from foster care. Kinship and guardianships are also used often to keep young family members within their extended family circle.

Mollie

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