I have heard of prospective adoptive parents who take photos of themselves during the waiting phase. Most of them feature couples holding chalk boards with phrases like, “Growing in My Heart” or “Waiting for You.” Some involve globes or maps of the countries from which their children will come. Apparently, these type of photos are called “adoption maternity photos.”
First, let me flat out say that I have no problem with people taking pictures like the ones I described above. If that’s a couple’s thing, great! It’s not my thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. I’m cool with it. Some of the pictures are really cute, and make lovely additions to the adoption profile scrapbook.
But, do we have to call them “adoption maternity photos?” Adoptive parents aren’t pregnant – unless it’s embryo adoption, I suppose. So, OK, call the photos of women pregnant with “adopted” embryos “adoption maternity photos.” In a traditional adoption, the adoptive mom is not pregnant. There is no “maternity” to photograph pre-placement.
I know I’ve written before that waiting for an adoptive placement and pregnancy do have some parallels, but they are not 1:1. This desire to make everything “as if” we were pregnant… I’m not sure that’s entirely psychologically healthy, you know?
All right, maybe that’s just Robyn getting hung up on words again. News at 11, right?
Today, for the first time, I saw a whole different type of adoption maternity photos, and I was honestly horrified.
The photos featured the prospective adoptive parents posing for maternity photos with the expectant mother.
It’s really hard to argue that pre-birth matching isn’t inherently coercive when people pull crap like that.
That was the second thought that popped into my head. The first thought was: Wow, that smacks of entitlement!
The photos were posted on a Facebook group, and a number of people commented how “beautiful” or “cool” the photos were. I couldn’t think of a nice way to say, “You do realize that this was incredibly presumptuous of you, right?”
Until the baby is born, termination of parental rights is signed, and the revocation period (if any) has passed, that baby belongs to the expectant mother (and father). It’s one thing to show up, invited, to a few doctor’s appointments or an ultrasound. You can be supportive and cautiously excited. It’s another thing to put a pregnant woman in the middle of a PAP sandwich and include the caption “We prayed, He answered.”
No, He didn’t. At least, not yet.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m the only one who looks at these photos and thinks that it’s an intrusion. If the PAPs want maternity photos of their children’s birthmother and want to spring for a session just for her (and for the expectant father, too, of course), that might actually be a nice thing to do. But to all go together with the presumption that this baby growing inside another person will be theirs… I just don’t feel right about that.
When I searched for “adoption maternity photos” almost everything I got were of the first type. There was one web site of a photographer who does maternity shoots at a crisis pregnancy shelter, where many of the women place their children for adoption. But there were two photographer web sites that included photos of the “look, this woman is having our baby, only she’s not a surrogate, so it’s really her baby and we’re just pretending like it’s ours right now” ilk. I really hope this isn’t a growing trend.
What do you think? I know at least one of my readers is in that group. Am I overreacting?
(Image courtesy of adamr, FreeDigitalPhotos.net)