Pregnancy & Baby, adoptive mom Laura Willard talks about these kinds of images, and a new one for me, adoption "maternity" photos taken with a beach ball in lieu of belly:
I don’t talk about adoption too often here because this is a Pregnancy and Baby blog, but as I’ve shared several times, I’m the mom to two young kids who came to me through international adoption. My learning curve about adoption and the intricacies has been steep. I have a very different understanding and knowledge of what is involved in adoption, and it’s a whole lot more than “getting a baby.”I think she NAILS it! Be sure to go to the original post to see the beach ball "pregnancy" photos.
There are so many issues to discuss. But I’ll try to remain focused for this post! Society seems to do their best to liken pregnancy to adoption for the adoptive parents’ benefit. We have a need for “sameness” and to make everyone feel good. I have no idea why! Adoptive parents are validated every. single. day. Mainly, by the act of parenting. But also by so many people around us. I spend too much of my time at the grocery store correcting strangers who want to validate me.
So, people want sameness. Except I don’t think photos like this make birth/first moms feel good. They might make adoptive parents feel “normal” and part of the pregnancy experience…but we’re not.
To me, my kids each had a mom who grew them in their bodies and then had to let them go. I had to sit around and wait, fill out paperwork and pay more money than I’m even comfortable admitting (because I believe adoption, while often well-intended and often a wonderful thing, is a money driven business, for the most part — there are always exceptions). The two experiences — giving birth and adopting — are nothing alike.
I can feel many adoptive parents shaking their heads at me, scoffing at “one of their own” criticizing us all. That’s okay. The world is full of opinions and that’s what makes it go around. I don’t like to hear the terms “paper pregnancy” and I curl up in the fetal position — no pun intended — when I see “ultrasound photos” of an intended country of adoption, occasionally complete with a little red heart.
Adoptive parents shouldn’t need things like this – or terms like “paper pregnant” — to make them significant. We are SO significant — we get to raise the children we adopt.
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I think this is disrespectful to the women who actually brought our children into the world. Circumstances for relinquishment or abandonment aside — judgment aside — we owe it to our children to remain respectful. The last thing I ever want my children to think is that I care more about me or my feelings — about wanting to experience something relating to pregnancy – than I do theirs.