Adoption and Informed Consent – I

When you are a professional person, doctors and other medical personnel often become much more serious about informed consent after you just happen to mention that fact.

What started out as vague reassurances that the procedure or test you are about to undergo is very low risk and nothing to worry about suddenly become recitations of studies that demonstrate the statistical chances of having something bad or good happen to you during and/or after.

I often think about this in relation to adoption. What if that frightened, beaten down young girl had been able to say, “I think I should tell you, I’m a lawyer.” What if they had suddenly looked into her eyes and become very serious about telling her the whole story, supported by studies, about the pros and cons of adoption for both mother and child.

Here is the all information I was given about the down side of relinquishing a child for adoption. At least I think it was intended to point out the downside.

After I had my child (three days of labour and a c-section by myself) someone dressed in what looked like a nurses uniform came in to my room. There was a home for unnwed mothers attached to the hospital and I think perhaps she might have been from there.

She said, “I think you should be aware that motherhood packs quite a wollop,” and then walked back out of my room. That was it.

I have often wondered if in her own way, and given the business she was in, that was her tiny act of rebellion. Her three second admonition to think it over. Her attempt to tell me as someone who knew, who was perhaps a mother herself, that I would not be able to just “put this all behind me and get on with my life.”

What if she had said despite what you’ve been told, statistically, it has been proven that this will have a huge impact on your life forever.

What if she had said, statistically, being perfect and being an adoptive parent goes together as frequently as being perfect and being a biological parent.

What if she had said to me, statistically, if you keep the child and finish your degree, you will find a job and be able to support your child.

What if she had said, even if your family is opposed to it, there are ways to find support for the year or two that you need it, before you get that degree.

What if she had said to me, yes it will be hard but one smile from your child and how hard it is really won’t matter.

What if she had spent 30 seconds in my room, or thirty minutes or three hours instead of three seconds informing me that there was a large downside to what I was about to do.

Because her very succinct statement was absolutely correct. The experience of having a child and relinquishing it for adoption did “pack quite a wollop.” And not just for me. In reunion, I discovered the experience of being adopted packed quite a wollop for my child.

What if instead of cruising in and out of my room so fast I had moments of wondering if she had been an apparition, she had sat down with me and explained what (I think) she meant.

What if she had been the first person to truly inform my consent?


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