I rarely read articles about adoption that are written from the point of view of Latina women–not that they’re not out there, perhaps, but I rarely see them–which is why this essay in Being Latino Online Magazine by Nancy Sepulveda, Adoption or abandonment, caught my eye. Below is an excerpt, with interesting and informative links.
The Latino community often still frowns upon adoption, and fewer domestic Latinos are adopted annually. This disapproval seems less rooted in concern for the mother’s experience and more in the perception that it is evidence of a sinvergüenza: “what kind of woman could give up her own flesh and blood? No tiene corazon!”
Moreover, the focus on familia and the belief that nobody could care for a baby (or a grown man) more than his madrecita is a cornerstone of Latino culture. Latinas are seen as nurturers, providers, makers of the home (even if she is not a homemaker). The reverence for the ultimate mother figure (the Virgen de Guadalupe) alone is testament to the value of maternity in Latinidad. So it’s not surprising that many Latinos might equate adoption with abandonment, and write off a birth mother as a woman who does not cherish the paramount values of family and sacrifice.
But I would counter, that to give a child up for adoption is the ultimate unselfish sacrifice. It is more inconvenient, more indiscreet, and more painful than simply aborting an unwanted pregnancy (calm down, fellow Pro-Choicers; just making a comparison).
A birth mother has recognized that she is not ready or able to provide the resources a baby requires, yet is not denying that baby its own future choices. She has committed to dealing with morning sickness, mood swings, back aches, exhaustion, frequent urination, swelling, stretch marks, and all the other joys pregnancy brings (not to mention the pain of childbirth). She’s done so, perhaps in the face of disapproval from relatives and friends, while navigating the awkwardness of well-meaning people peppering her with questions on name choices and nurseries, all without the eventual promise of a new miracle in her life to “make it all worth it.”
She’s also not the woman with seven kids who neglects or abuses them all – or allows her novio to do so…
No, adoption is not for everyone. Obviously it’s a big decision that requires careful consideration of many factors, and ultimately not everybody should choose it. But it’s time to stop the judgment and denigration, and re-examine the assumptions we make about those who do.
I appreciate Sepulveda’s point of view, and her call to stop judgment and denigration of women who choose adoption as a personal decision right for them.