This is kind of a me coming out of a closet post. [not THE closet, obvs.]
Some of you may not know that I'm a birthmom. But I am. I placed my first child, a boy named M, for adoption in January 2006 with a wonderful family. I found out I was pregnant at the beginning of June, just two weeks after choosing to let Jesus be the Lord of my life.
I'm telling you this because my experience gives me a little bit of a different perspective on the why and when of adoption. Something very popular right now is to say that children should be kept with their birth family if at all possible. I do not agree with that. I'm not militant about it or something, because I understand the heart - you want to enable people who aren't able to take care of the children they want.
But it's not as black and white as that. I wanted M; I loved him desperately (as expectant mothers do). I still love M and want the best for him very much. It wasn't that I couldn't take care of him; I had a job that paid well enough for us to get by (ish), and I know my parents wouldn't have let us become homeless or starve. But M's birthdad wasn't a really stable guy - he wasn't a bad person or crazy or anything; he just wasn't anywhere near being ready to be a dad. And I wanted M to have a family that was established in Jesus and his love. I wanted for M to not be raised by daycare workers but by people who loved him. I wanted him to be able to play soccer or t-ball. I wanted to get my degree and not be stuck working whatever job just so I could support us. I wanted to be ready to have children, so I could minimize the frustration at them when I felt the strains of growing up (and killing my selfishness). I wanted more than I could give him myself, and so I gave him that.
I remember the time when I was 5 or 6 months pregnant with him, wrestling within myself over whether I could place him or not. During a worship time one Sunday morning, God made it very clear that his will for this child was for me to place him for adoption - he literally said in my head, "This must be."
I don't hear like clear words from God often (though I did more during that time - oh the mercy of God!), so I knew without a doubt what God's will was in the matter. I know I have this instrumental difference - the Holy Spirit within me - that other birthmoms don't have which makes my heart at peace even as it's broken. So I feel I can know without a doubt that it's not always best for the child to stay with his birth family even if it's possible. Just because I could have cared for M doesn't mean I should have.
So no, I don't think it's always in the best interests of the child to stay with his birth family if possible, but I do very much want to help women/families in crisis to keep their families intact. Do I grieve over this loss? A lot, even still. But there's so much peace that I did what was right in the eyes of the Lord in our situation. I look forward to explaining to M when he's older all of the ways God helped me to put him in the family God meant M to have since the foundation of the earth. What M lost in his adoption is less than what he gained in being adopted. I have a confident hope that he, in time (or maybe always) will know this too. God is good, and he redeems everything.
I know it's a singular kind of experience, so I hope what I said makes sense. I don't think every person who hasn't decided to get pregnant should place their children at all. And I'm 100% for helping families stay together. But I don't think adoption should be viewed as a very last resort.