It got me thinking- could I do it? If I had to choose; which of my boys would I give up? What would it be like to know that I could not provide for them? And I don't mean not getting them the hot new Christmas toy, I mean necessities like food and water.
My selfish answer, the answer that I would choose to make it easier on myself would be both of them (but even that brings up another set of questions: is there a safeguard against them being separated?Would Joe remember us enough to tell Jude about us? and lots of others things that I am sure ran/run through birth parents' minds) That way at least they have each other.
A non selfish answer is hard to think about. My sister's response to the woman was "I don't know, but then again I'm not starving." So I thought about what circumstances I would have to be in to have to make the decision to give up a child.
I think I would have seriously considered (note that I say considered but give no definitive answer) giving a child up for adoption if I had gotten pregnant at any point in life before meeting my husband. I know that I am not a strong enough person to parent alone, and I know (with some hindsight for sure) that 99% of the men in my life prior to hubby were not suitable mates.....
So what circumstances would I have to be in, to have married the hubby, to have birthed my boys, to have lived the 2+ years with Joe and decide to give him to some other people?
I don't have an answer. And the reason I don't have an answer is because I live in the U.S., because I am healthy, because my children are typically developing, because neither I nor my husband have addiction problems, because I am white, because I have parents who would support me financially and emotionally if any of the aforementioned reasons were reversed.
All of the above allow me to be poor but not ever destitute. I don't know what true hunger feels like even though I have worried about where my next meal is coming from. I don't know what having no roof over my head feels like even though I may have worried about making the rent. I don't know what it is like to be sick with no cure in sight, even though I know how it feels to make the choice between food or medicine. I don't know what it is like to walk in to a government office without negative assumptions walking in with me, even though I have walked into aid offices in two different states.
So I think I would have answered the woman in the same way that my sister did. And hope that the response would make the woman realize how lucky she is to not have to make that decision.