Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Myth 1: All Birthparents are Young and Unmarried

Mythbuster Series - Birth Parents:  Guest Post 1
Monika lives south of Seattle with her partner and daughter’s birthfather, Nick.  She can be found blogging about her journey and all things adoption on her blog, Monika’s Musings.  This is Monika’s second quest post for Attempting Agape, her first is titled Mother'sDay, Birth Mother's Day or Both?

Since I’ve written a guest post before, I was asked to write another post, this time addressing some of the more common birth parent myths.  I’ve chosen to write about two myths, specifically the myths that all birth moms are teenagers and we as birth parents are not in stable relationships and don’t know who fathered our children.

Myth: All birth moms are teenagers.
In actuality, statistics support that they younger they are the more likely they are to keep the baby and parent.  Young hearts and minds don’t tend to think much outside who they are becoming as people.  I also believe that a young teenager with support from her parents tends to think of only the “cute baby portion” of parenting instead of the challenges that come with that baby and the fact that babies get bigger.  I’ve actually had the opportunity to meet a couple of young pregnant women considering adoption and they both chose to parent.  I’m not saying here that teenagers don’t or won’t make great parents.  I’m simply using them as examples to prove my point that they don’t fit the statistics.

There are always exceptions, however.  Those young women that get pregnant and do not receive familial support for religious reasons or simply because the parents believe that the young parents should concentrate on growing up first would most likely be convinced to relinquish.  I still believe that a young person would choose to parent despite not having the means to provide for herself and her child rather than relinquish as someone out of their teen years might be more inclined to do.  The large majority of teenagers tend to be selfish.  Most of us don’t figure out that the world doesn’t revolve around us until after our teen years are over.  Relinquishment to adoption is a hard decision, and one that is centered on what’s best for the child and not the parent or parents if the father is still involved.

As for me, I was 34 when I relinquished my daughter to adoption.  A large majority of the birth moms I know were at least 20 years old when they made their decision to relinquish their child.  The birth moms that I know that relinquished when they were younger than that did so under heavy religious and familial coercion.  I know that if those women had felt like they had a choice in the matter they would have parented.  Actually I think there are very few women that truly have a choice.  To a certain extent we’re all victims of our circumstances, but that’s another topic and one I’m not discussing today.

Myth: All birth parents are unwed and the birth mom doesn’t know who fathered her baby.
Statistics would in fact most likely support this myth.  I would guess that a large number of relinquishment decisions are made due to the father not being in the mother’s life anymore.  However, except in cases of rape, the father is indeed known.  The decisions are made because in those situations those mothers want to give their children the best chance at a stable, two-parent household.  I would argue that in all cases except where the mother has been raped or in situations where the mother and her baby are in danger from the father that the fathers need to be notified of the relinquishment decision and given a chance to decide whether he wants to try to raise the baby or not.

Stability is important when the parent or parents together make a relinquishment decision, and it’s not always just stability in the actual relationship.  It can be stability in living situations or other issues.  Part of the reason I made the relinquishment decision that I did is because I didn’t want my daughter to grow up in a military lifestyle.  Though I’m still with my daughter’s birth father nearly two and a half years post-relinquishment and I know of at least three couples that were either married or in a relationship at the time of relinquishment and are still together, our situations were almost unilaterally unstable at the time of relinquishment and a few are still in relatively unstable situations.

Even in my small world of knowledge, people don’t fit the stereotypes about them.  If you’re reading this and have been anxious to fit all birth parents in the myths that society has perpetrated, I urge you to reconsider and look at us all as the individual people we are.


Other posts in this series:
Myth 1: All Birthparents are Young and Unmarried
Myth 2: Foster Kids Are Better Off Being Adopted
Myth 3: Birthparents are the Enemy

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It'll be a pleasure hearing your thoughts. Alisa