Thursday, January 25, 2007

Open Adoption isn't for everyone .... or is it? Part 3

Alright, so everyone now knows where I'll be sending you the next time your first line of argument is "open adoption simply cannot work for everyone!" It will go something like this: see these posts!

I'll point you to my friends D and J, who have a son in an open adoption - although he may never, ever speak to or know his birth parents. They lost their second son to death just before placement, but are in an open adoption relationship with his mother, who was transitioning her son into an adoption placement with them.

I'll remind you of the woman I've met who said, "I just can't do it right now. I can't. I can't have contact, and I don't know if I ever will!" Yet beyond a shadow of a doubt, if she finds herself in a new place emotionally and physically one day ... she knows she can. She is comforted with that, and hopes that life will turn that direction.

I'll tell you about a couple I met during training, who started the process just hoping to appease the agency and and shut out the birthmother after placement. That is, until they received education on open adoption. Now they advocate for it.

I'll teach you the fine art of googling "birthmother in open adoption." It's a ride worth taking!

I hate to even make this such a "series" of posts, because you seriously can't convey your heart for adoption, for parents (first/birth or adoptive) and for children in a few posts. You just can't. So, my goal has been to diminish the fear. However, in addressing the scary parts for most people, it has also brought me a lot of sadness. Sometimes I want to scream when I have to face the reality that people are still so frightened by aspects of adoption because of a national view of "these people that can give up their children." (Pardon me while I go beat my head against the wall).

So, in the same way that you have opened your mind to this new way of approaching adoption ... would you also open your mind to these men and women? Can you try to seriously put yourself in their shoes? To say, "I could never do that" or "How could someone 'give up' their child?"- to me - is the most hurtful, painful and inhumane reaction that anyone could ever say to or about a parent. It makes the assumption that they don't care, the made the decision easily, or that they have no soul. Shame on us for ever insinuating such a thing.

Would you do anything for your child? If you had anything or everything removed from you that allows you to parent - financial security, family, emotional support, etc. If you had exhausted all possible ways to parent and provide your child with their basic needs and care ... and if the reality was that you could not provide ... you couldn't provide for your child ... your baby ... your everything.

It puts a knot in my gut. Yet, we only get that knot from forcing our hearts to go to such a painful place. It's not our reality. That little knot is NOTHING! We aren't having to actually make that decision.

So, can you see it? That's the real picture. It's not a woman very casually signing a paper and walking away as if nothing ever happened. It's not a man breathing a sigh of relief, because that's one less mouth to feed. The picture it is ... the real picture ... is almost too blury to see through the tears. It hurts more deeply than I can ever even pretend to imagine. When I think of J and R, the first parents to my youngest child, and the pain that they feel ... and will continue to feel ... I WANT to give to them. I value them. I love them.

I want them to see the fruit of their decision and their plan. I want them to find comfort in our family and in their child's life.

It's not a checkbox.

It's fluid, and it's life and it's love.

to be continued ...


Anonymous said...

Obviously you have never had a relationship with a drug user or someone who is doing other things that can be emotionally disruptive and harmful to a child.

Idealism is great...until you take off your rose glasses.

Unknown said...

Obviously you haven't taken time to read all of my posts. Feel free to delete when you realize you answer your own question!

ChrissyLou said...

While not a drug user myself... I am a first mom and to that I say how is a lifestyle disruptive to a child if it is not AROUND the child? That person chose adoption rather than have the child around the lifestyle. They gave their child better, just to be reduced to dirt?

Open adoption does not equal co-parenting ... so even someone who is a drug user can have communication and information without harming a child.

Anonymous said...

Communication might be possible but that does not mean an "Open" adoption.
I don't appreciate the generalization that "everyone" can have an open adoption. Sometimes people plan for it, work for it, and in the end it just is not healthy or possible for contact or openness.
This does not reduce a birthmother to "dirt", but it does say step up to your responsibilities to your child and be a healthy positive influence.

CC said...

I can only say that I WISH our children's 1st mothers wanted an open adoption. We pray for them daily and hope that one day our kids can meet the women (and men) who gave them life.