adopted children

No One Has The Right To Make You Feel Guilty For Not Wanting To Adopt A Special Needs Child

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adopting special needs childrenWhat is it about online advice columns that bring out the oblivious crazies? I will sometimes read the Dear Prudence advice column just to see what our favorite rape apologist is telling the masses these days, which is how I ended up stumbling upon this little gem about a woman who is rull mad that her in-laws don’t want to adopt a developmentally delayed or disabled child:

Q. Adoptive baby: I am the parent of two wonderful children, one of whom has Down syndrome. My sister-in-law (my husband’s sister) and her husband have started the adoption process. My MIL casually mentioned the adoption agency they were going through, so I went online and checked their profile. I noticed on the agency website that they are only interested in typical children. This was heartbreaking to me. There are a lot of children who have developmental delays that could use a stable and loving home. Their deliberate decision to not even consider a child with developmental delays was a slap in my face. Prior to this incident, they have been nothing but caring and generous toward both my children, but now I wonder if they are just faking it with my Down syndrome child. I sent my SIL a link to an adoption agency that helps place children with developmental delays, and she just responded that they were happy with the agency they selected. Should I have another conversation with her about this issue? I will see everybody in a few weeks for the Fourth of July and I’m not sure if I can hold back my opinion on this.

Oh wow. First, let me just say congratulations, you made another couple’s private decision about family planning completely about yourself. I assume that this woman would also sit outside her in-law’s bedroom door and make sure that their intercourse stroke-rate was on par for optimal conception if they were attempting to reproduce biologically.

Second, let me take a moment to invite this woman, wherever she is, to please go right on ahead and fuck herself.

In case this isn’t clear to people hoping to foster or adopt a child: you do not have a moral obligation to take in any child whose needs you don’t feel you can do justice to, and in fact, the entire world will thank you if you don’t. 

Why don’t you all take a knee, because Mama T is about to spin a quick yarn. When I was younger, I had a foster sister named Optimus Prime*. She was older than me, a different race than me, and oh yeah, she had cerebral palsy that affected her both physically and developmentally. I taught her to play “numbers”, a clapping game. We played dolls, we rode roller coasters (her wheelchair was like amusement park gold) and I was extremely happysad when she was adopted. I loved her. I didn’t just love her, I LOVED her.

Despite that, years from now when I am considering adoption or fostering, I will probably not adopt a child with cerebral palsy. I do not feel that I have the resources to do it, and I won’t take a child away from a family that does just to take the moral high ground. I won’t strip a child of the ability to have a fuller life with a more equipped family just because I don’t want to step on the toes of someone else, because it’s not about them. It’s about the kid.

Does that mean I didn’t really love Optimus? Does that mean that the friendship we had was disingenuous? No. It just means that I am aware of my shortcomings and would rather not treat a child like an experiment or a fast track to sainthood. 

Prudie, for her part, gets at least a few ups for telling this narcissist that,

“…shame, shame, shame on you. No one else’s reproductive choices have anything to do with your family. Because this couple is not seeking out a child with special needs, it in no way reflects on the love they have for your child. You’ve already crossed a line, so start back-tracking immediately and practice keeping your mouth zipped about their adoptive plans.”

A part of me hopes this nutjob will ignore this advice, spout off to her sister in-law, and get a serious education in minding her own damn business as a reward.

*Obviously not her real name.

(Image: sheff/Shutterstock)