But in another way, this type of thinking, that only parents who can check of every item on the "successful parenting" checklist are loving parents, also doesn't sit well with me. As an adoptive mom, I have heard many comments that insinuate that birth parents don't love their kids.
"It's great that they are so much better off now."
Or I've heard comments that places limitations on the love of a birth parent, where the attitude seems to be that the only good thing the birth parent did was to relinquish their child.
"How fortunate that his mom realized she couldn't care for him."
Here's the thing: birth parents are real people, complex people who have flaws and failures just like everyone else. They are also people who love and hurt and wish their children's stories might have ended up differently. It is also not always a completely selfless choice so don't think I am wearing rose colored glasses and making birth parents into gods. But it is also the one spot those on the outside looking in get stuck on, this idea of adoption being the most loving thing that birth parents do for their children.
Maybe that is true. And maybe it is not. Maybe the most loving part of being a birth parent is not connected to just one singular event. We don't define most parents by a singular event. We do not attempt to ferret out what the most loving thing is that "regular" parents have done for their children. The concept of parental love is not tied to a superlative form. The love between the parent and child exists for the duration, despite the good and the bad.
I guess I would hope we would see all parents as mere men who do the best they can to love their kids, whose love is not finite, whose love is not boxed into certain moments within their child's life.
And just in case you need a little reminding, would you read this? A friend asked me the other day a bit about Zeke's birth family. Trying to explain Chinese adoptions, finding spots, and birth families is kind of a hard thing because there is a lot of secrecy and lies of omission that often cover up the truth behind a child's story. It is illegal in China to place your child for adoption and it is also illegal to abandon your child. Many children are "left" in public places to be found and taken to orphanages. However, often this is not quite the whole truth. Often, someone connected to these finding spots knows who the birth parents are. Some provinces have also created baby drop boxes, where parents can bring their children and anonymously leave them. It's similar to the set up we have for rescue animals, where there is a door/cubicle type space where the animal is left with no questions asked. Someone photographed the birth parents at once such place. I think it certainly humanizes birth families.