Category Archives: all things adoption

New Year, New Surprise

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on FB, talking to a first Mom friend of mine, venting about some things that annoyed us. Things that frustrated us. Things that exhausted us. The sort of things that used to inspire posts of mine, but that I’ve shied away from recently. I was just starting to think that maybe it was time to get back into exploring the ugly thoughts, the frustrations, and the things that I just don’t “get” when a sudden urge overtook me.

I thought, why don’t I check Dee’s FB and see if there’s anything new!

Now, much like mine, her FB is on pretty tight lockdown. On her page I can see her main picture, her basic info and a very basic wall (as in, just updates to her info). It only took an instant for my eyes to hone in on what was a pretty big piece of info for me: her city had been updated just one week ago BACK to where I live!

My mind and heart raced as if in competition. Would I be seeing them again soon? Why didn’t I know? Does she not WANT me to know? What does this mean for our OA?

I stopped, shared the info with my friend, and tried to take a breath.

Next step – email another first Mom friend of mine that I haven’t kept up with as much as I’d like – who is always good with advice and perspective.

Next step – dwell. Overthink. Ponder.

I wrestled myself back and forth from, WHY wouldn’t she email me to let me know that she’s moving back??? to She must be so busy, I should just sit it out and wait and then back again.I took myself on my own emotional roller coaster that I created in my head. Then, I took it to the boards. Asked some forum folk to see what came back.

Verdict: I have no clue.

In any given moment you might find me excited, scared, joyful, hurt, happy, angry, confused and probably a bunch of other emotions that I can’t even identify right now in my frazzled state. And I don’t think I have to choose between those – I can feel all of them somehow. They’re all true to the experience, though I wish I could simplify it.

But for now, I wait. I wait until I can be in a place to clearly figure out my next step. Do I email Dee out of the blue as though I don’t “know” this information? Do I give Dee her space and wish on shooting stars that she calls me? Do I potentially creep her out and say, “Hey, did you know I check for you on FB sometimes?? Guess what I found out??”

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

So today, I work. Tonight, I think. Maybe tomorrow, I do.

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Filed under all things adoption, blah, cupcake, friends in cyberland, me and Dee

Well That Probably Explains It…..

I’ve been kind of a mega bitch this week. I just feel gross and icky and unsettled. I can’t sleep. Work has been more of a challenge than usual, and I feel like I’m letting balls drop. I am in a funk. Things are just not going well. Long Board and I are good – but a bit strained now and then.

So today at work, I was processing an invoice when I realized it was November 22.

And that Cupcake’s birthday is November 23.

Ahhhh. Now it makes some sense. Of course, I KNEW that her birthday was the 23rd, I suppose I just forgot that the 23rd was already here…..

And she’s FIVE. Five.

Sometimes I just can’t believe how we got here….

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Filed under all things adoption, blah, cupcake, short and sweet

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2.0

As most of you know, I’ve fallen right off the face of the bloggy planet for a while. I trimmed down my blogroll and regrettably stopped reading a lot of the blogs (meaning I missed out on some pretty awesome stuff that was happening all over the place. Not even reading the blogs I regularly follow, I REALLY wasn’t venturing off to new blogs, “meeting” new people, and reading their stories.

Big mistake.

Thanks to the Adoption Bloggers Interview Project, I’m getting back in the swing of things and was fortunate enough to be paired with a blogger that I’d never met, and a blog I hadn’t yet read. It’s really helped to rejuvenate me (I hope) by making me think of different questions and issues for myself, and got me back out there reading as well.

Now before I go on too long and REALLY sound like a bad infomercial for the project, I’ll just get straight to the introductions! I present to you, I was Anne, author of Tears of/and Joy. “Anne” is a Mother of two, a son (bio) and her daughter (adopted), and wife to one ;). She is two years into the open adoption scene, and seems to be taking to it like a fish to water! I’ve been so inspired and refreshed by her take on adoption issues, and it’s been very cool to see. She’s relatively new to the blog scene, so after you read her responses to my questions head over to her site and introduce yourself 🙂 I’m sure she’d love to hear from you!!

1. Why did you have a fear of blogging? (You’re pretty great at it so far, so I’m curious!)

There are a few reasons. First, I felt uncomfortable with the idea that “anyone out there” would be able to read my intimate thoughts. Second, I can’t really write about my experience without writing about other people in my life, and I felt torn about whether I would be invading their privacy by writing about them in a public forum. Of course my blog is anonymous and I don’t use any real names and I’ve only told one person in my real life that I’m writing the blog, but I guess I worry that someone could figure out it’s me. Last, I worried about making myself vulnerable to judgment. Ultimately, I decided to start blogging because it’s the only community I’ve found that is supportive of open adoption. Even though I live in a large metropolitan area, I haven’t found that type of community here, and when it comes to open adoption, my family and friends range from unsupportive to neutral to “coming around” to the idea.

2. From your first post (and subsequent posts as well) you seem more…..enlightened (?)…than some folks in Adoptionland. What kind of preparation did you and DH do for adoption? I’m guessing you had a relatively short amount of time to prepare for open adoption, but what kind of prep did you do there?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept – what experiences, preparation, or personality traits makes one more likely to be “successful” in Adoptionland. Before we adopted, we went to a lot of agency informational meetings where we heard from adoption professionals and adoptive parents. We also attended a two-day adoption workshop sponsored by RESOLVE.  I read several books and a lot of articles. When we were pursuing an adoption from China, I frequently read the “Rumor Queen” web site where the blog writer tackles a lot of tough adoption-related issues. But honestly, I don’t really think I was “enlightened” by any of that. I think it was being in the situation—specifically meeting my daughter’s first parents and grandmother—that really shaped my views on adoption in general and open adoption. And ultimately, I think one has to be open to accepting the loss surrounding adoption (more about that below) in order to fully embrace open adoption.

3. You have 6 hours to yourself – no kids, no husband, and $1,000 – how do you spend your time?

Good question! I’d have to say a day at the spa – facial, massage, and pedicure. However, I’m not sure the $1,000 would cover the cost. They are ridiculously expensive around here!

4. Your second post is AMAZING. From the mouths of babes!!! And I adore that you were able to consider this possibility rather than just reject Ferb’s suggestion. Why do you think you were so open to his perception of that event?

I don’t know how open I was to it the moment he said it. I think it initially felt like a punch in the gut when he said “maybe she misses her real mom.” But those words kept playing in my head, and I definitely could tell that Ferb was very confused as to why everything was jumping all over him with explanations as to why I was Lily’s “real mom.” As I said in the blog, right then and there I did recognize on an intellectual level that I was just some woman who picked up Lily from the hospital a few hours earlier, but I didn’t want it to feel that way. Over time, however, I definitely came to believe that Lily had a connection to Fiona that was developed while Lily was in the womb. The second time that we had a visit with Fiona and Nate, Lily was about six weeks old, and I remember Fiona walking to the area where Lily was lying and Fiona said something and Lily’s eyes opened wide and went right to Fiona. There’s no doubt in my mind that Lily recognized Fiona’s voice. And the connection that Lily has with Fiona and Nate is undeniable when you see them together.

5. What is one of your less than proud moments navigating open adoption? What did you learn from it? How did you grow?

The hardest time for me was the period between our first and second meeting with Fiona and Nate. Our first meeting – which was also our first visit because Lily was a week old – was highly raw and emotional. It’s up there as one of if not the hardest day of my life, and it had to have been easier for me than for Fiona and Nate. We left the meeting without much closure in terms of our open adoption. That meeting took place within the revocation period, and in that sense they “confirmed” (?) that they wanted to go forward with the placement with us as Lily’s parents, but there was no talk of what our open adoption would look like in terms of communication and visits. During this period (between our first and second visit), Fiona sent me an email that I didn’t react well to. It freaked me out for a lot of reasons. I’d rather not include what was in the email, but the bottom line was that I wasn’t able to separate her grief and the problems she was dealing with from myself. So I basically wrote a very short and cold response to the email and suggested that we set up a meeting at the agency to talk through things. In some ways, I felt that I wasn’t equipped to advise (?) her or myself on some of these complicated issues that were directly and indirectly related to the adoption. But I’m not proud of the way I reacted because I think I really shut Fiona down at a time when she was reaching out to me. I still feel terrible about that. My biggest challenge has been accepting that there is tremendous loss surrounding adoption, and no matter what I do or say, I can’t make that go away. During the episode I just described, the loss was too much for me to bear. I was overwhelmed, and I just wanted it to go away. Now, I’m able to do a better job holding onto the loss and sadness without internalizing it or making it about me. It’s not always easy, but I definitely have a better handle on it now.

6. What is the last book that you read? Did you like it? What book would you recommend I read next?

I love Diane Chamberlain books. The last book I read was on vacation last summer – Breaking the Silence. I would recommend any of her books (there are a lot). I like that her characters have so many dimensions, never all good or all bad.

7. You wrote, “I regret that I let our adoption agency bully me into thinking I was powerless over certain issues that bothered me.” Now, I’m known to get a bit peeved by adoption agencies, so this piqued my curiosity. Can you elaborate?

Sigh. Our social worker was a lot like Amelia Bedilia. (For those who aren’t familiar, she’s a children’s book character who worked as a housekeeper and always misunderstood her boss’ directions. For example, her boss would tell her to “draw the curtains” and she would draw a picture of the curtains. Anyway, I digress.) This social worker tended to talk in circles and she frequently got cases and situations confused. There was an issue related to the hospital bill that was unresolved between our first and second meeting with Fiona and Nate. I was really pushing the social worker to help me communicate with Nate and Fiona – to facilitate, which I thought was her job – but instead she kept telling me that she needed to focus on this hospital bill situation (which involved getting some paperwork from Fiona) and if I did anything to rock the boat then the hospital would start billing us thousands of dollars. I really felt that this social worker wasn’t giving Fiona the support that she needed, and the SW kept telling me that MY desire to communicate with Fiona was not in Fiona’s best interest and basically she is the professional and I should stop telling her how to do her job. It got so bad that I even yelled at and then hung up on the agency receptionist because he wouldn’t put me through to the social worker. I was definitely not in a good place, and things never really improved with the agency.

8. I LOVE FERB! The more I read about him the more I just adore this little person! Can you share a story about Ferb from your pre-Lily days? (NOT that I don’t love the one’s of him and Lily, haha, I DO!)

Here’s one of my favorite stories; I hope it’s not too morbid! I was very close with my grandparents growing up, and my last two living grandparents were alive when Ferb was born – Grandma A (paternal grandma) and Grandpa B (maternal grandpa). When Ferb was almost three, Grandma A became very ill and went into hospice. Ferb knew Grandma A, but we lived in different states, so he wasn’t aware of her decline. I went to visit her a few times in hospice, but Ferb was young enough that he didn’t really need to know where I was going and what was going on. When Grandma A passed away, I didn’t think that Ferb was ready to learn about death, so we didn’t tell him what had happened. And even after Grandma A passed away, I continued to talk about her and show Ferb pictures of her – just because she was a very important person in my life. Fast forward two years; Ferb is almost five, and Grandpa B’s health starts to decline. This time Ferb is old enough to realize what’s going on, and he knows Grandpa B quite well. After Grandma B passes away, Ferb shows outward signs of sadness, and I ask him how he’s feeling. He tells me that he’s worried that Grandpa B is under the ground all by himself. I explain that his soul in up in heaven now and he’s with Grandma A looking down on us. Ferb looks up at me wide-eyed and say, “WHAT?! Grandma A is dead too!?” Poor guy lost both great-grandparents in one fell swoop! That’s what I get for trying to sugarcoat the hard truths of life. I like this story because both Grandma A and Grandpa B liked dark humor and I know they would have found this story hysterical and I secretly hoped they were listening in and cracking up.

9. How did you and G meet? You said you’ve known him for quite a while. How did you start dating?

We’ve known each other for 23 years and we’ve been married for almost 12. We met our freshman year in college, but we didn’t date in college. We were in the same group of friends, and I actually found him a bit annoying – loud, obnoxious, and drunk a good part of the time. We stayed somewhat in touch after college, but not much. About five years after graduating, I ended up moving back to the area where he was living and we reconnected and soon after started dating. We got married about two years later. Even now when I look back at old college pictures I think to myself, “Did I really marry THAT guy????” Seriously, though, I got very lucky.

10. What’s your favorite part of being a Mommy?

It’s hard to come up with one favorite. I love cuddling with them, watching them laugh so hard that they can barely breathe, and seeing them learn to do new things and then being so proud of themselves. I always tell my kids that I don’t know how I got so lucky, but somehow I ended up with the two best kids in the world. No offense to anyone else of course, but I really do believe it. There was a period when I thought I may never be mom and I know it’s not something that everyone who wants to experience gets to experience. Even though there are days when they drive me absolutely crazy, I try not to take a single day with my kids for granted.

11. What three pieces of advice would you give to a wide eyed couple seeking an open adoption?

I think this may be the hardest question to answer. I would tell them 1) Always remember what an amazing gift you are giving to your child if you enable  him/her to build a real relationship with his/her first family. 2) Expect open adoption to be harder than you think it will be—expect regrets, doubts, raw emotion, heart-break, hard questions, and periods of silence, but don’t let any of it scare you away or make you think you’ve made the wrong decision. You haven’t.  3) Learn from the experiences of other people in open adoptions. If you’re like me, they’ll be a lot of unsupportive people in your “real life,” so find ways to connect with other people living open adoptions who understand its value.  I am a big fan of Production Not Reproduction, and I often come back to this blog entry, especially when things get tough. It captures my feelings more beautifully than anything I could ever express myself!

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Filed under all things adoption, friends in cyberland

The Reality of a Long Distance Relationship

In February of this year, Long Board and I began to rent a home “together.” It would be another four months before he considered the house his primary residence, but we were moving in that direction. From July 2009 to July 2011, we spent our weekends strategically negotiating between our cities. Living only 90 miles apart, this was doable. Not always easy, but most always doable.

With one long distance relationship over, I find myself in an even longer distance relationship. That’s of course my relationship with Dee and Cupcake. No mere handful of miles, this relationship spans a continent. Visits are not something to be planned lightly. Avid travelers, Long Board and I have quite the list of places that we’d like to go. To be honest, neither of us have Cupcake’s current state (either of the two where she might reside – I don’t really know for sure) in our top ten. Or top twenty. Top anything?

But that’s neither here nor there. Cupcake is there, which pushes the state up the list in my book.

However life is standing there, hands on hips, firmly in my way. There are only so many vacation days I get. (And with a job in events where there’s always another one around the corner, only so many that I can take at once!)  There is only so much money that we have – and with plans on the horizon to buy a house and build our family, savings is a priority.

Long distance relationships are enough of a challenge when both parties are active and enthusiastic…when one is lukewarm, I wonder what that means.

I’ve heard from Dee once since the move. No more, no less than usual. But a part of me thinks, out of sight, out of mind? What’s a realistic expectation regarding visits? I know it’s been hard enough to schedule a three hour get together, so what does a cross country trip take with regards to planning?

Will I have the anxiety I had the first time I left Long Board for an extended time? I knew we were to be apart at least 5 weeks and I lost it. The fear, worry, anxiety overwhelmed me. Yes, Dee and I have always had much more than five weeks between visits, and yes, I always know that as I’m leaving, but there’s a sliver of hope in me that says, In a moment of true need, it could be less time. I have every faith in the world that if I reached out and expressed my desire for a visit within a couple of months, we could discuss it – perhaps work something out. But now? We’re talking airfare, security checkpoints, baggage fees and expenses that I don’t have. I lose the peace of mind. The possibility that used to exist.

The strangest part of this is that I’m okay….sort of. I’ve made some sort of peace with it. I’m not the upset girl I was back in March when I felt blindsided. I’m looking on bright sides and being optimistic (and realistic at the same time). But I know that our relationship can’t be what I once thought it might become, for the sheer fact of distance (if not all the other potential factors). That’s okay. It really is.

I suppose I’m just figuring out how much I want that to be my “fault.”

Where do I draw the line in that sand about what responsibility I can take in this? How much do I budget/plan/adjust my plans for the future because of this change in our relationship? What can I put towards this LDR and what kind of risk am I ready to assume if the effort isn’t reciprocated?

It’s been nearly six months since our last visit….the six month itch it seems to be…the point where I start wondering about future visits.

I suppose I’m just trying to get my ducks in a row before I open it up to the rest of the flock 😉

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Filed under all things adoption, deep thoughts with TG, what openness looks like

The Argument We’re Not Supposed to Make…

Sometimes I feel like I’m just slamming my head against a wall trying to get some people (okay, mostly adoptive parents – I just hate sounding like I’m picking on one side of the triad, especially when this is NOT to be generalized to mean “all adoptive parents”) to understand the first Mother experience. To understand why some first Mom’s don’t like the term birthmom. To understand the emotions of placing a child. To understand that feelings don’t just shut off with the signing of TPR or some arbitrary timeline elapsing.

Yet I keep coming up short. I keep failing to find the words that give someone their every own lightbulb moment. Despite all of my efforts, I fail.

Repeatedly.

At some point in this masochistic experience, a tiny little thought creeps into my head. I want to say it, but I don’t want to say it. I don’t want to offend. I don’t want to give the low blow. But….maybe, just maybe, there’s something there?

So I’ll hold my breath, squint my eyes shut and prepare myself for the retaliation that might follow…..

Could it be that some people just truly don’t understand because they’ve never carried a child and given birth?

Now that I’ve said it I feel like a total shit again!

I don’t know where else to say these things though….I’d love to be able to have a civil conversation about a topic like this, but I fear that opportunity will never come. It’s just too hot button a topic for me to believe that I could say that publicly and not be completely blasted for it.

I don’t know….I mean, my sister-in-laws get to throw around the fact that I’m not parenting to prove how I don’t understand raising children. I can’t possibly wrap my head around discipline because that’s not something I live with day to day. And it’s not my place to give any kind of feedback, advice, or hell, to even have an opinion to some extent.

So maybe something there goes both ways? Can you truly understand what that must be like? I don’t know….I think some people can….but maybe others can’t? I’m the first to admit that my life changed dramatically after giving birth. In ways that have little to nothing to do with placement. The physical act of carrying another person for nine months, of bringing them into the world, it changed me in more ways than I can articulate.

Just as parenting a child must change you, so too does pregnancy, labor, delivery.

I’m reminded often that I’m not parenting. I get it. I’ve never once felt the need to remind someone else that they were never pregnant. It’s a cruel reminder for too many, and one that I’ve never felt a desire to provide.

That’s not the point.

It’s not about hurting someone else, it’s about understanding our perspectives. Including all of our experiences that got us to where we are.

I’ve never experienced the struggle of trying to get pregnant. I’ve never experienced the heartbreak of losing a child to miscarriage. I try to be there for my friends that have. I want to understand them and be there for them in whatever way it is that they need – and understand that it’s not the same way for every person. But at the end of the day, I can’t understand their experience the way someone else that’s lived it has.

I think that many of us try to understand each other. I think some of us find it so hard to understand that even trying is a struggle. We debate and argue and fight and try to make square pegs fit into round holes. But they don’t. We all need to stop trying to make others lived experiences fit into our preconceptions about what we think there experience should be. We need to understand that my experience is not your experience (and it isn’t necessarily your kid’s first Mom’s experience either!), and vice versa.

Maybe that’s something we just need to accept….

Maybe at some point we need to stop trying so hard to understand someone else’s experience, to make it fit into that box, but rather just accept it.

Lord, I think this community could benefit from a whole lot more acceptance….

And as usual, I’ve veered wildly off course. What started as a desire to have an open and honest and not violent conversation about the unique experience of pregnancy and birth turned into a big picture about acceptance. I think both are important, but as I mentioned before, I fear we’re along ways away from being able to have either.

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Filed under all things adoption, blah, brutal honesty, deep thoughts with TG, drama in cyberland, totally taboo

Open Adoption Roundtable #28!! Open Adoption: My Alternative Lifestyle

First of all, can I just say – TWENTY-EIGHT!?!?! I’m so happy that the Open Adoption Roundtable has stuck around and grown and become such an awesome resource! I’ve missed a few here and there (okay, a big-ish chunck around the low 20’s) but I so enjoy having them as a platform. I looked back at some of the oldies from my first blog and my pathetic number of contributions since I made the move. Who knows, maybe I’ll even go back and respond to some of the ones I missed….Also, I’m really hoping we do another interview one soon! I’d love to connect with another awesome blogger out there! 🙂

Anyway, back to the main event for the day.

Write Mind Open Heart posed the question she had received from her friend Joanne, which was then posted on Heather’s blog (Production Not Reproduction) and here we are!

So, without further adieu, here are the questions posed and my answers!

1.       Can the adoptive parents really go back on their word after the adoption has been finalized and do whatever they please in regard to updates and pictures?

Yep, pretty much!

I could elaborate on this, but I almost don’t think I need to. The answer is just YES.

2.       Who is the go-between for communication with most Open Adoptions: the case worker, the placing agency, or the lawyer handling the adoption?

The open adoption that we have between me, Dee, and Cupcake is certainly a little unusual because I placed via California’s “Safe” Haven laws. In the beginning, all contact was through the case worker. I would receive phone calls from her letting me know if Dee had emailed her. Rather than forwarding me any emails/pictures, I would drive an hour and a half to her office to pick up grainy print-outs in order to “protect Dee’s anonymity.” (Of course, these communications could have been forwarded with Dee’s information removed with just a hint of effort on the part of the social worker, but me driving just made much more sense….where’s that darned sarcasm font when you need it???)

About eleven months in, Dee and Cupcake and I had our first visit, social worker in tow. Joy. (I was not in love with the social worker at this point). The social worker had actually already left the agency, but wanted to see this through to the introduction. Rather than work with someone completely different, Dee and I just agreed to maintain direct communication from that point forward.

3.       What are the advantages and disadvantages for each of the above contact persons?

I personally felt more disadvantages than advantages. I always felt like Dee and the SW were friends in a way, and that I was this outsider. Because of their relationship (maybe it was due to something else, but it felt tied to this), Dee was given MUCH more information about me than I ever knew about her or Cupcake. She knew what I wore when I brought Cupcake to the hospital, what I wore at visits, even what the SW guessed that I weighed! I felt…violated?

I would guess that Dee found comfort…a friend….someone to know what was “normal” in this process. And, of course, she got a “buffer” separating herself from me should something not go as planned.

Dee probably benefited, but looking back especially, I don’t think that I did.

4.       How can case workers be involved in Open Adoption as well if DHS are already so understaffed and the budgets are maxed out for the thousands of forgotten children lost in the system?

No clue. My daughter was placed through a County Foster/Adoption agency, so I know they had a lot on their plate. I think that it wasn’t SO heavy in involvement because she really only had (chose?) to be involved on one side. I wasn’t counseled or anything. I actually asked about anything that they offered and they gave me a list of three places that might be able to provide something on a sliding fee scale. With no insurance and limited income, I had to pass.

The actual “involvement” that I saw was that she would contact us when emails/letters were sent/received, and forward when appropriate.

5.       Is there an incentive such as money for the adoption agency to be still involved indirectly and indefinitely for an Open Adoption? Does it cost the prospective adoptive parents more money upfront for it to be an open adoption?

I have no clue if there is a different price for adoptive parents, but I have never heard of anything like that….

6. If the contract is legally binding, what happens to the adoptive parents if they don’t follow through? Is there really any legal recourse for both parties that are clearly spelled out?

There’s the threat of big, bad, mediation. Supposedly you can even go to court and get a judge to mandate that you follow through (but I don’t know what happens if you don’t do it then – a fine? That goes where? No clue….)

I realize that it wouldn’t be fair to the child to say, “Break your promise and you have to give the child back!” BUT I think that the real recourse is kind of a joke. Adoptive parents often seem very afraid of legally binding agreements because of the potential recourse, but I don’t quite get it. The biggest deterred for them, I think, seems to be the fear of having to pay a lawyer’s fees should they be unfairly accused of not following through.

It seems that these contracts are also worded in a way that there is very little point. “Visits shall occur twice yearly unless it is deemed that it is not in the best interest of the child.” But what does that MEAN??? And if it’s the adoptive parents who are the final deciders of what “best interest of the child” means – what’s the point? How does that hold them accountable in the first place?

Having said that – there are some adoptive parents that are VERY committed to their open adoption agreements…to the point where I tend to believe that the folks that agree to agreements are often the folks that wouldn’t need them in the first place!

7.       What deters the birth parents from coming to your house unannounced?

Nothing I suppose?

But as a first parent I can say this: I had Dee’s address for nearly four years and I never once drove by. Never once considered it. Knew where she worked, where Cupcake went to day care, even where one of their favorite neighborhood restaurants was. I knew what parks they liked to play at. And I never stopped by, drove by, or visited one of those locations.

Partly – I’ll admit – because I’d look like a loony toon if I was caught!

But also, I didn’t see the point. I’m not going to turn stalker for a glimpse of my child. I’m not going to risk building our relationship on that. Not worth it, no way, no how.

As for just stopping by? The only place I stop by unannounced is my parents house less than a mile from my place because (a) they love it, and (b) that’s where I do my laundry! Anywhere else? My brothers’ house, my sisters’ house, a friend’s house? I’d never just stop by unannounced because it’s not appropriate. Double – nay, triple? – what’s more than quadruple??? – the level of inappropriateness in this situation!

8. Do you know if there are any court cases where it’s obvious that there are loopholes in Open Adoption that need to be addressed?

Hm…..not off the top of my head, and I’m sure someone else would have better information that I would, should I just go out a-huntin’.

9. Just like there are issues with closed adoptions and we have the outspoken activists’, etc., are there any Open Adoption opponents or vice versa that are working to be the voice for the birth mothers as well as the adoptive children and their best interests?

I feel that there are certainly people that don’t like the idea of open adoption….they cling to the “fact” that it would be terribly confusing for the children. There’s also one of my favorite arguments that it’s just “not fair” to “force” the child to build a relationship with this stranger (you know – the stranger that gave birth to them). Mind you, these same people are more than welcome to introduce their child to all kinds of other strangers. You know, the grandparents the child doesn’t know yet. The aunts and uncles that they haven’t met. But that’s different….they’re family. Arguably, a birth Mother would also be family, but that’s not always the definition used.

So yes, some are very opposed to open adoption.

But there are also amazing groups of people that advocate for open adoptions and I’ve learned so much from those women.

10. When is the adoptee old enough to choose if they want contact or not? What if they are the ones who want to break off ties with the bio parents?

I think that there is no hard and fast answer to this question….if a child grows up just knowing their biological parents and not knowing any different, then they don’t have to make that decision. Like SO many other decisions in life, their parents made it for them. This is not unique in that scenario.

If children are not in open relationships with biological parents, I think it needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. If a five year old is often asking questions, maybe it would be appropriate then. If it’s a young teen that wants contact, perhaps it’s time to find the best way to navigate that. Perhaps they want to wait until they’re an adult. That’s fine too. Reading the cues of the adoptee would be paramount in my opinion.

If my adult placed daughter wants to break off ties with me, I’d be devastated, but I’d respect her wishes. But if as a four year old she said she didn’t want to have a visit, I might think “tough cookies!” There are LOTS of things four year olds don’t necessarily want to do: go to school, come inside, take a nap, etc., but if it’s not going to harm them (and a visit with me isn’t harming, I promise!) then I think that it would be like visiting any other relative. (Now if the child clearly was actually having a long term negative reaction, I’d never force them into visiting.)

11. Are there any support groups/legal aids for birth mothers where they can get honest answers with their concerns for open adoptions?

I’ve reached out here and there, but my most valuable information and relationships have come from blogs, forums and making the connections on my own. There wasn’t a support group available to me, so I had to create my own the best I could. And it’s been a great support system for me so far, and I appreciate everyone who has been a part of it.

You can check out the rest of the responses either via the Open Adoption Roundtable  or at Write Mind Open Heart. Enjoy!

Also – any other questions from someone not in an open adoption? Now taking requests! 🙂

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Filed under all things adoption, deep thoughts with TG, me and Dee, open adoption roundtable, what openness looks like

Oh, The Legality of it All!

Lo and behold – an adoption post! I know I’ve been quiet on the issue, but that’s because (a) nothing’s going on in my adoption, and (b) I kind of gave up on some things. I got tired of being told I was the bitter birth Mom and really tired of people twisting my words to fit their agenda – either using what I say to support their ideas (that I don’t support) or to use me as someone that’s just so darned mean.

Whatever.

Today? I give up. Say what you want. You’re wrong.

SO, on to the current “rubs me wrong” issue.

The legality of adoption.

Not just the legality, but the legality being the be-all, end-all. The argument that once TPR is signed, revocation runs out, adoption is finalized, that Cupcake is no different to me than any random child I would see at the park or at a mall. It’s LUDICROUS. Yet it’s used constantly because legally, yes, it’s true. I don’t have any legal right to Cupcake.

Guess what? Neither do a lot of people.

Her teachers don’t have a legal right to her. Friends of her Mom’s don’t have a legal right to her. Her Mom’s partner doesn’t have a legal right to her (unless they get married or adopt and things, but that hasn’t happened.) But I would guess that every single one of those people that have formed a relationship with Cupcake would be pretty offended if someone said that she is NO different than any other child they see walking down the street.

But I feel like we’re supposed to shut up and take it.

“Yes, I understand. Thank you for reminding me. I will try harder to pretend like I don’t have a vested interest in this legally foreign to me child.”

It’s nonsense.

To be fair, I want to note that while I’m using Cupcake in this example, Dee has never insinuated that Cupcake should be a “legal stranger” to me.

But others have. And I just don’t understand where that gets them.

Furthermore, it adds just another layer of complexity to the relationship that people feel is appropriate to have for our children. Another layer of the “perfect” way that we should think about them.

We should miss them and think of them often, but we should be 100% secure and happy in our decision. We should love them equally to the way we would love a child we raised, but we should accept that we are legally strangers. We should be willing to bend over backwards to put our placed children first, but we should understand when communication from parents ends and we feel we are put last.

Oh, and we should never, ever complain.

Because let’s not forget. We chose this.

(Side note: Parents that choose to be in an open adoption with us can complain, even though they signed up for it, because that’s just completely different.)

Yes, I’m grumbling.

Yes, I’m bitching.

But I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m just frustrated. And angry. And there’s a difference. And this isn’t anything new. I’ve just stopped talking about it for awhile.

I feel like a lot of people have really…I wonder if others felt as silenced as I did. (Do?) Perhaps this is only one scared, tentative critical post and I’ll crawl back under my rock for a while. I’m not sure yet….I haven’t charted a course on this one.

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Filed under all things adoption, blah, brutal honesty, deep thoughts with TG, things that make my brain hurt