the juno myth

November 6, 2013 § 13 Comments

I have a lot of ideas floating around about what to write, too many actually. There’s so many things pertaining to my son, stuff I want to tell him and that I wish I could share with him. I hope I get around to writing some of that down. I also need to write someday about my sick obsession with baby stuff, and with having future little ones. Oh, and how people in the online childfree community are militant assholes. On second thought, that is probably all the space I should waste writing about those people.

Even though I have a blog and I write about adoption, a part of me dislikes the whole adoption blog thing. I keep considering deleting it all and never coming back. The other part of me, of course, is grateful for the communities, the good friends, the information and knowledge, and knowing I’m not crazy or alone. But I fear that the proliferation of adoption-related forums, blogs, and websites, including communities like Open Adoption Bloggers and Birthmom Buds, all serve to normalize the experience of giving a child up for adoption. To show off how much better it is now, and how open, and how different from the past. I happen to disagree.

I signed up for that OAB interview project and then withdrew from it because there are so many adoptive parents, waiting adoptive parents, and first parent apologists whose blogs I find way too triggering. I don’t need a reason to read any more of those. Most of the folks on there wouldn’t care for what I write as well.

Around the same time, I trimmed up my blog reading list–I don’t always mind reading adoptive parent blogs and points of view that I disagree with, but there are days when it’s too much and I can’t take someone else’s polemics. I often cannot tell if it’s one of those days or not until I’m actually reading, and then feel furious for several days straight. So, fewer blogs for me to read.

This November, I will be preserving additional sanity, and food in my stomach, by staying far away from mainstream media stories about adoption. A lot of bloggers I respect have written about why the adoption focus is misplaced. I also concur with this blogger that true adoption awareness would not be centered on promoting adoption, but on highlighting the numerous tragedies and the need for reforms. Furthermore I agree with Daniel that to achieve better awareness, the adoption discussion should not linger on the personal: anecdotes, emotions, opinions.

However, emotional discussions of adoption are not without merit.

The myth of Juno is relentless. By which I mean that we all want to believe giving up a baby is easy or even pleasant, that first mothers “move on,” and that knowing you made a “good” “decision” will make all the loss worth it. There is no malice on people’s faces when I tell them how I feel, sometimes exasperation and inconvenience, but mostly shock and utter bewilderment that giving up my baby was the least bit hard for me. I never knew it was hard, either. Where do we all pick up the same twisted beliefs? It never does occur to anyone that losing one’s child to adoption will result in suffering beyond imagination, and not for a few weeks, for months upon years, for a lifetime. Less than a week after my son was born, while I was still icing milk-engorged breasts, my no longer best friend said to me, “I never thought you’d be sad about it.” I have many more examples of thoughtless comments, but that one says it all.

So this month, as we all cast our adoption awareness wishes into a lifeless pond, my wish is to destroy the Juno Myth. We need to listen to our common sense, which tells us that, with few exceptions, mothers love their babies fiercely and want to raise them. I’m no different than anyone else. I wish people understood that–only so that my son will never grow up thinking that I don’t care, that I don’t love him more than life itself, that I didn’t want to keep him, that he is not a part of my family and my heart, because he always will be, no matter what happens, forever.

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§ 13 Responses to the juno myth

  • freebairn says:

    I can’t help but wonder how awful and triggering Juno is for adoptees, of whom many of which, likely, already struggle with feelings of abandonment and rejection whenever they think about their birth parents. I mean, the girl was cool and smart and cute and appealing in so many ways, and there she cried a few tears then bee-bopped on with her life as if it was nothing. I wonder how many have watched that movie and wondered if that’s what life was like for their birth parents. I was still drunk on the adoption Koolaid and high in the pink clouds of denial when it came out, so I took away from it the need to go and write a letter to the birth father to help him “feel better about it all” “like I did.” Even so, I cried for days and days on end after seeing the movie, and, at that time, I couldn’t exactly identify why. I was grateful, though, to finally not feel so disconnected from my baby and the reality of it all; it was like the dam had burst forth, and I could finally start to feel something again after years anger and grief being repressed underneath numbness. So, for me, I guess the movie was a double-edged sword….

  • I know my mother was no Juno. I’m an adoptee from the old closed era. My mother told me she cried everyday for years. She could not control it. Now she won’t cry at all. She cannot bear to see me at this point, and that kills me. I’m 50, and she’s 70. Every day that goes by is another day lost to us, another day that we haven’t spent getting to know each other. I wish she would change her mind about me, and realize I’m not out to hurt her. In her mind, I bring the pain back, and she can’t bear it. It leaves me out in the cold, again. Please keep blogging, the public needs to know the ugly truth about infant adoption.

  • amy says:

    (((((HUGS, Ariel))))) The obsessing over having more babies and all the baby stuff…I did it too. Totally “normal”…if there is such a thing after relinquishment :/

  • Ursula says:

    I hope one day your son and you can have proper contact and I really hope that one day your son will come across this blog and find out how much his real mother loves him and didn’t really want to let him go and that you care with all your heart and had his best intentions in mind when you decided that adoption would be the best thing for him.
    I may not even know you and you may think we a little weird as I am no more than a stranger but nevertheless I am proud of you, and wish you the very best in life.

    • Thank you so much Ursula, I hope he finds that out too.

      It’s interesting how people who are not adoption savvy will often refer to the biological parents as the real parents. People claim that adoption is such a great thing, but they seem to intrinsically know that growing up with your biological family is ideal. It is what people naturally do. It is, dare I say it, more “real.”

  • gsmwc02 says:

    Question, when you refer to the Childfree community are you talking about people who don’t want children or people unable to have children?

    • Sorry I took awhileto reply! The child free community is militantly against having children (which is fine! I used to feel that way) and often they display hostile attitudes against children and their parents (“breeders”). I don’t agree with that part, obviously. You can find their hateful vitriol on the Internet. At the time I wrote this, I found some childfree stuff and they commonly advocated adoption in the event of unwanted pregnancy, because if you don’t want kids you should not have them. I was very upset at this. Just because my pregnancy was unwanted doesn’t mean my son was unwanted, and I am still scarred by giving him up for adoption, which according to everyone was what I was supposed to do.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        Ok I understand you are talking about people who don’t want children. That makes sense that they have a sort of anti children stance. Though I’m not a fan of being hostile towards others that made the decision to have children or kids themselves.

        I’m sorry they judged you. That was wrong of them. I’m of the opinion that it should be up to each person to make their own decisions and not be influenced by others. I can’t imagine what it was like and still is like to be in your situation. I have no clue what I would have done and anyone who says they do is lying.

        I asked you about who exactly these people were because there is a difference between not having children by choice vs not having children by circumstance. Circumstance could mean being single, infertile, etc. These are people that while they don’t have children it doesn’t mean they hate kids or parents. I’m part of that group who is unable to have kids but doesn’t hate kids or parents (though some parents annoy me). And before you ask my wife and I aren’t pursuing any type of adoption we are remaining childless. Anyways my point is that those without children vary you do have those in the Childfree community who hate kids but have others who do love kids who either were unable to have them or never had the opportunity to do so.

        Thank you for responding. Best wishes to you and your family.

      • Oh, well I didn’t post there or communicate with anyone. They have their community and their beliefs even if I disagree. From their words, I already know what they think, so there’s no point in trying to change anyone’s minds. The desire to be childless is fluid and can change, but I also respect that most people in the online ChildFree community are constantly told, “You’ll change your mind” and not respected for their opinion. When I was younger, I often stated my desire to not have children and I felt disrespected by everyone saying I’d change my mind. Also, I definitely know most people who don’t have and/or want children are not like that. I was just referring to a specific community that is entirely separate from infertile and otherwise childless folks.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        That’s wrong that people’s decisions aren’t respected. Yes, some people change their mind. A friend of mine did but not everyone’s does change and that should be respected. There is this idea that people are less than if they have children and that if you don’t have children you don’t have value in society.

      • Society has a lot of messed up beliefs. I think the specific one you mentioned ties into the belief that infertile people can help themselves to other people’s children.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        Everyone I brought this up to in your community has dismissed me that how society devalues those without children is a big driving force behind the demand in adoption. In fact I was told recently it was a cop out.

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