Monday, January 23, 2012

Open or closed: Losing a child to adoption is painful

An adoptive mother asked recently whether those of us in the Baby Scope Era would have had less pain if we had had an open adoption. (The Baby Scoop Era is the period between World War II and Roe v. Wade when a large number of single middle class white women lost their infants to adoption because of the stigmas placed on unwed mothers and their children.

When my relinquished daughter was born in 1966, I thought that it would be wonderful if  I could have some continuing contact with her. I envisioned a secret child whom I would communicate with through a trusted friend.  I fancied myself like the Bette Davis character, Apple Annie, in the 1961 film Pocketful of Miracles. Annie, a disheveled old woman sold apples on a street corner  to support her daughter hidden in a Spanish convent. 


Reality set in. I knew having any kind of contact with my daughter was a pipe dream.  I didn't mention it to the social worker both because I thought it would be a waste of time, or worse, the social worker would do something to make sure I never saw my daughter again, like send her to China.




Openness in domestic adoptions has become a necessity now that women with unplanned pregnancies have more choices.  For some adoptive parents, it is the price of obtaining an American child; for more enlightened ones, it is the preferred option, allowing their children to know their roots and, the adoptive parents believe, dissipating their birth mothers' grief.  

MOTHERS IN OPEN ADOPTION
Now that I have met mothers in open adoptions, I'm not convinced that they have it so much better than we did. Take a look what mothers in open adoptions write on their blogs, BirthMom Buds and Birthmothers4Adoption, watch Teen Mom  birth parents Catelynn and Tyler who are now professional promoters of adoption, and  what you see is pain, pain, pain, ripping through their stories as they insist they did the best thing. Most of the mothers in open adoptions that I've met express the same regrets as those of us in closed adoptions.


When I surrendered  I knew I could not have contact with my daughter and should not even start looking for her until she was 18. I could force myself to cast aside thoughts about her until she reached that magic age. Mothers in open adoption have to navigate a relationship from day one. They worry about whether they will have contact and how their children will respond. If their children tell them they are happy they were adopted, mothers feel bad. If their children are angry they were given up, mothers feel bad. If their children ignore them, preferring to play with Legos, they are devastated; if their children sob when they leave, they are consumed with guilt.

Even where adoptive parents work hard to be congenial, mothers may not feel comfortable talking about aspects of child-rearing with which they disagree. Adoption agencies counsel them to put on a happy face. If they show their emotions, the adoptive parents may cut them off. All of this when open adoptions are at their best.  And as we have written about before, all too often, open adoptions close.  

OPEN BETTER THAN CLOSED
Despite this, I do believe that fully open adoptions are better than closed or partially "open" adoptions. Mothers in open adoption say they are glad they can know their children and how they are. They don't have to wonder if their children are alive, or well or sick, or if they are well taken care of. They don't have to live a lie--as I did for many years--always stumbling over the question "How many children do you have?" 
_________________________________________
Inconsolable Grief
Catelynn's and Tyler's open adoption will stay open; for other first mothers not so much
Are Open Adoptions a Boon for Birth Mothers or a Scam?
How to make an Open Adoption work
An Un-Open Adoption: Adoptive Parents Lie and Break a Mother's Heart
BirthMom Buds
Birthmothers4Adoption
Tyler and Catelynn
Pocketful of Miracles

95 comments:

2ndmom said...

Ugh! I'm reading this and drinking wine! As an Adoptive Mom in a very open adoption I struggle with the feeling of "am I doing ENOUGH!?!?!". 10 years after her adoption I am still struggling! I don't want her to feel like we "rented" her and at age 18 we are done! And I don't want her first family to feel like they are living on stolen moments with her either! Early on in our relationship together I remember my daugher's grandmother (she was 38) saying to my daughter, "You look JUST LIKE YOUR MOM!!!!". She did and she still does! But I saw the look of horror on her face thinking she shouldn't have said that! Later that day she sent me an email apologizing and promising that it would never happen again. It broke my heart! This is who my daughter is! No apologies needed. What *I* want in this is that everyone involved make it out okay! I want everyone involved to feel entitled! I want everyone involved to feel whole and loved and involved! I know that is probably a pipe dream but in a perfect world that is what I'm going for. I want my kid to survive this and know she was absolutely loved by all of us! More wine needed! Lol.

DENISE said...

As great as open adoption sounds, it is my understanding that it is not legally enforceable, should the a-parents change their mind, move away, disappear and cease contact with the birthmother and her family.

In all fairness, I have also heard of open adoptions where the birth family couldn't handle it and cut off contact.

Indeed, it is a difficult situation. My thinking: end adoption altogether. And help families stay together, if they are the least bit willing. Let those who truly wish to parent take in foster kids, and those who wouldn't otherwise have a family. Stop pressuring young mothers, seeking infants, thinking that they are a "blank slate," that you can pretend are born to you.

This nonsense has to stop somewhere. I wonder where and when.

Theodore said...

2ndmom, if you could change the nature of your relation with your daughter from adoption to longstay fostercare, would you do so now?

2ndmom said...

Do you mean if I could go back and do it again? Or would I change it from an adoption to long term foster care NOW? At this point it's hard to imagine handling our situation any differently than we did since we adopted our daughter at birth. I never was of the mind set that she was a "blank slate" that I could pretend was born to me, as suggested in a different post. I know there are adoptive parents who do, sadly, but I have always approached my daughter's adoption openly and honestly with her and everyone else from the beginning.

2ndmom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theodore said...

"Do you mean if I could go back and do it again? Or would I change it from an adoption to long term foster care NOW?"

NOW. The question is rather: do you support your daughters right to reject the adoption unconditionally, you forced it on her after all.

"At this point it's hard to imagine handling our situation any differently than we did since we adopted our daughter at birth."

At birth? Do I have to understand from this that you were one of those people preying on pregnant women? Or is there another story?

Sorry, if I am a bit negative, both my national as family history predisposes me against adoption, I see adoption as always wrong, but sometimes the least wrong and thus often the wrong rightly chosen.

Anonymous said...

Open adoption is in most cases a lure, to gain the trust of a young, vulnerable woman to relinquish the rights to her infant, when she is at her most vulnerable state. Pre-birth matching in itself is coercive; then throw in the desperate prospective adoptive parents who will say and do anything to get a child and you have a situation that can turn very ugly after all is said and done.

Adoptive parents make promises to these young women, knowing that they do not want to follow through and are not going to. They can and do conveniently move and leave no forwarding address or way to be contacted.

Much of the time, a scared, vulnerable pregnant woman is on the fence about going through with the adoption in first place, so these promises can be a determining factor in her decision to go through with it. Her trust is gained by them, only to be crushed when she realizes she has been duped by the people she trusted at the most vulnerable time in her life. Add that to the already traumatic loss of her infant and you have a horrific realization that these people used and dehumanized you in the worst possible way, then threw you away like yesterday's trash. Mothers have committed suicide under such treachery.

I would caution any young woman who thinks open adoption is the answer to think long and hard about the repercussions. There are no laws protecting her when she is cut out of the picture, even if she was defrauded out of her infant with lies and false promises.

Adoption is big business and the paying customers always win, at the expense and suffering of a mother and her child.

2ndmom said...

The question is rather: do you support your daughters right to reject the adoption unconditionally, you forced it on her after all.

No, I wouldn't support her right to reject the adoption at the age of 10. I didn't "force" the adoption on her. If there was "forcing" going on it seems that it would have been on the opposite side.

Do I have to understand from this that you were one of those people preying on pregnant women? Or is there another story?

We adopted through an agency and knew the natural family for 6 months prior to our daughter being born. During the pregnancy the first parents ran away from home to another state and lived with a family friend who also wanted to adopt the baby. I don't believe I preyed on the first parents...I had no influence on them at all. However, I do believe the woman who they were living with preyed upon them, gave them housing, jobs (for which she kept their earnings so they would be "safe"), transportation, etc. Aside from talking on the phone, I had no communication or contact with them as I was on the exact opposite coast from where the first parents were living. If the adoption process as a whole is equivalent to "preying" on pregnant women, then I guess I am guilty since I *am* an adoptive parent.

Sea Lily said...

I know the women who run birthsmother4adoption and to characterize their experience as nothing but pain, pain, pain is untruthful at best. You have no right to speak to their experience, just like they have no right to speak to yours.

Robin said...

@2ndmom,
You sound like you are trying to ease your a-daughter's pain. But being given up for adoption is being given away. For many of us that is very painful and there is just no getting around that fact.

@Jane,
I was glad to see your comment on Cristina Page's article at Huffington Post. I thought she was glorifying Tyler and Catelynn and their supposed open adoption. I can see how given Ms. Page's position she would want to do that but I'm glad you corrected some of her statements.

2ndmom said...

I know some of you will hate me solely because I am an adoptive parent. Someone asked me earlier if I was one of those people preying on pregnant women. In good conscience I can absolutely say "NO!". I am not Susan Burns and my journey wasn't a Fast Track Adoption. Otherwise I wouldn't still be in a close relationship with my daughter's first mom and family over 10 years later. I have been reading this blog and others for years because I want to continue to enlighten myself about adoption related issues and the perspective of adoptees and first parents/families for my daughters sake. I'm not here to convince anyone that adoption is a great institution and everyone should do it! I'm here to educate myself for the benefit of my daughter and ALL of the family members involved in her life.

Barbara Thavis said...

2nd mom, I think you rock. You are trying your best. I don't think it would be in your child's best interest to bail now. She knows her 1st family and she knows you. I think she needs all of her parents at this time. It would be nice if she could call both of you mom. Most adoptive mothers think a child can only have one mother. I think they are wrong.
If I had my way every pregnant woman would be required to read information on the harm of adoption on their child and on their own psyche before they "choose" adoption. Who's going to throw their own child under the buss? I only relinquished because I thought I was doing my daughter a favor. I believed what people told me, that a child needed a married couple and money. What she needed was me: Loving, milk producing, correct smelling, me. We would have had such a wonderful life together. No I don't have rose colored glasses. I know it would have been difficult. But I guarantee you it would have been splendid for both of us!

Anonymous said...

Never ceases to amaze me. That adopters come
here and expect mothers think they are wonderful.

What is so hard to comprehend adoption is a painful
act to mothers.

No matter how untypical your open adoption is you call
the shots. Even where grandma is afraid to say child looks
like her mom. I can remember my son trying to stop me from commenting on who he looked like seems his adopter
would have been upset.

Closed adoption era who isn't thankful to anyone who adopts.

Lorraine Dusky said...

I don't think all adoptive parents are evil, and I have to say, everything that 2nd Mom says indicates she is one of the good ones.

Some children are left by their mothers to be adopted, some children languish in nurseries until someone comes along--this I know from first hand experience--and I am glad to know that there are people like her willing to take on the role.

And I am glad that she is willing to talk to us here, and that she even calls herself 2nd Mom.

2ndmom said...

"Never ceases to amaze me. That adopters come here and expect mothers think they are wonderful."

Nope, I don't expect that. Feel free to think whatever you want about me.

"What is so hard to comprehend adoption is a painful
act to mothers."

I got it! I was there. I can attest to the fact that it was gut wrenchingly painful.

"No matter how untypical your open adoption is you call the shots. Even where grandma is afraid to say child looks like her mom. I can remember my son trying to stop me from commenting on who he looked like seems his adopter
would have been upset."

It didn't bother me 9 1/2 years ago when Nana said my daughter looked like her Mom and it doesn't bother me now. She did and she does. I am in total agreement with that fact.

"Closed adoption era who isn't thankful to anyone who adopts."

I don't expect you or anyone else to be thankful. I'm not here for your thanks or to be appreciated.

DENISE said...

Agree with your take, Lorraine. 2nd mom has a much better attitude than those who say, "I'm raising him/her, therefore I'm THE mom." And she admits that open adoption isn't enforceable, did her best to forge a contract (against, I must not, the counsel of the agency... now THAT'S pathetic!). I applaud her support of openness.

Whether or not open adoption would have worked for me (it wasn't an option in 1970), I cannot say. I've already lived in closure. I dreamed of, but never expected, to see my son again.

Myst said...

Open adoption is just the other side of the same coin. Different but the same.

As someone in a supposed open adoption, I have found it to be a torture. I am not lucky to see my child being raised by another family. I am not blessed by saying good bye to her over and over again.

Open adoption is a lie; a vastly fraudulent practise that fills an e-mother's head with promises that are mostly not kept. Sure there are adopters out there who will keep their promises but they are a minority. Too many times I have opened my emails to find another cry from a mother who has lost all contact with her baby after being promised the earth.

I don't think there is such a thing as 'better' in adoption. It is adoption. It is separation. There is no such thing as a better loss. No competition needed; all who enter from the mother/adoptee side lose no matter how rosy we try to make it.

That is the cold reality if we are brave enough to face it and live with it.

Open adoption, closed adoption - they both involve adoption so they are both promoting loss and at the end of the day you cannot dress that up.

Anonymous said...

Like 2nd Mom we are involved in a totally open adoption. The issues that have arisen over the years are ones that I would never have imagined, never foreseen.

His firstmom drops in and out of his life. Comes for a birthday party then doesn't call or (seem?) to want to visit for months afterwards. I've posted pictures of him on her Facebook page and she deletes them. That shocked me. Although now she doesn't do that which I'm thankful for.

And the grandparents involved perplex me as well. (Well actually the maternal grandparents perplex me...)

Paternal grandparents have him for portions of Spring Break, Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer vacations. Maternal grandparents have had him for a sleepover once and then go months without calling. They didn't even call to wish him a Merry Christmas. We all get along well when we've spent time together, had dinner, been at birthday parties and Halloween parties, etc. so I don't know why they act this way and am afraid to ask lest I rock a boat.

At any rate, I would agree with other posters - open adoption isn't all it's cracked up to be no matter how hard all parties try. Although she and I have not discussed it too much, I'm sure seeing him is bittersweet. (Understatement of the millenium...)

Lorraine knows me but since I'm discussing grandparents and such I will sign myself: "Also a 2nd Mom"

Jane Edwards said...

Sea Lily,

Take a close read of "birthmother4adoption" and you'll see lots of pain. The blog is the bloggers way of coping with their pain. Mothers who keep their children don't blog about it; they just go on about their lives.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes Jane...the birthmothers on birthmothers4adoption seem as if they are in a great amount of pain...i hope you are sensing my sarcasm. They are strong women who are choosing to be happy rather than be miserable. They acknowledge the fact that there is pain but they are choosing to make the best of it. Attitude and Happiness is a choice.

Sea Lily said...

Jane,

I've read every post on birthmothers4adoption and I know the two women involved (birth mothers, not your birth daughter Megan) and I think you're projecting your experience onto them. And I'm trying to say this as respectfully as possible.

Theodore said...

Well, be honest, I would say that it seems that open(ed) adoption is better than closed or semi-open adoption, but much worse than the adoption-like forms of foster care.

Jane Edwards said...

Anon,

I'm sure that the children of birthmother4adoption will be pleased to know their mothers have chosen to be happy about abandoning them.

The sad thing is that these women come across as intelligent, educated, and sensitive. The kind of women who would have made fine mothers.

LeahCorey said...

I wonder if a woman who has given up her child and is happy about the experience is really just hiding her pain because of pride.

And really, the pain is so unbearable, a pain that cannot compare. It can throw one into a serious depression on a dangerous level. Some people cope by pretending to be happy. It's a survival mechanism.

LeahCorey said...

And I guess one can live in her own little happy world. She can "move on" with her life and pretend that she knows for a fact her child is taken care of and loved. She can pretend her child is going through no abandoment issues and never struggles with identity.

She can foresee that she will one day meet her lost child over tea and cookies.

LeahCorey said...

@ Sea Lily,

" -- I think you're projecting your experience onto them."

Most people don't associate surrendering a child for one reason or another with "happiness".

Theodore said...

Well said, Leah Corey, some of us are so used to seeing through that enforced happiness, it became invisible to us.

And yes, 2ndmom I do believe that at any age before 12 a child should be returned to the natural family, if available. In my book, being unwilling to do so, makes you into a slave-owner, instead of a parent.

LeahCorey said...

Just a scenario:
A firstmom could be on anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants at the same time her child is growing up taking meds for ADHD and bipolar (which is more than likely a misdiagnosis). But I'm not a psychiatrist so...

What a life.

etropic said...

I do believe that fully open adoptions are better than closed or partially "open" adoptions....Saying this is like saying have stage 1 cancer is better than have stage 2 cancer..

Although there are the obvious benefits of having an open adoption, there are a variety of other issues that you wouldn't in a closed adoption.

There seems to be no real sense of who each other is. I mean how does one REALLY gauge a person's ability to be a "good parent". Then there's this "dance" a first mom has to do in order to prove HER worth to the adoptive parents. You never want to do or say the wrong thing for fear of having you visits taken away. Heck, even if everything is going ok, you can still have visits yanked at any minute. Often enough, there is the differences in personalities that arise in open adoptions as well. The list goes on and on and on. But the most frustrating issue I feel, is the emotional rollercoaster of it all. Getting to see your child then having to let go each and every time. To me, it's almost like an addict who needs a "fix" but they don't get enough to get thigh, but rather just a taste. Compound that with the constant wondering if you're doing the "right" thing by even being in your child's life, versus not wanting to push yourself into their life, all the while trying live up to the promises you made to the adoptive parents to do what you said you would do in this relationship? It can drive you crazy. It's a huge mess even with all the counseling and "professionals" out there. It's plain, pardon my french, bat shit crazy. It's a disaster waiting to happen. The whole thing is a flimsy stack of cards..

GypsyQ said...

I will second what Etropic said. Open adoption seems more of a power trip by the party who has the balance of power. Promises are made but can easily be broken if one wrong move is made or one wrong word is said and that's it; all bets are off. I think for many adopters, once they get the coveted child they have been desperate for, the power trip begins. They have to prove to themselves and everyone around them that they have all the power.

In my case, I feel like I was being punished for my child's adopters infertility, by being a puppet on a string. She made a snaky comment on our ONE visit, that she had a "stack of pictures up to here", like it was so inconveniencing for her have to take pictures to send to me. Very interesting how it becomes so inconveniencing, when they are so gung ho about it when you are pregnant with the child they are desperate to obtain.

2ndmom said...

"Then there's this "dance" a first mom has to do in order to prove HER worth to the adoptive parents."

It's ironic because as an adoptive mom I feel the same way! For a long time I worried that we wouldn't live up to being the parents or the people my daughter's first mom/family thought we would be! Even after 10 years their "approval" still really matters to me.

"Often enough, there is the differences in personalities that arise in open adoptions as well."

I'm not sure how this happened but my family is very much like my daughter's first mom/family. We're lucky that we've gotten to be close friends over the years.

"Getting to see your child then having to let go each and every time."

We live close to my daughter's first family and her younger sisters and just get together whenever we want. I think it changed the dynamic when the first siblng was born because we all felt like it was an "all or nothing" situation. Either the girls KNEW they were sisters and were raised having full access to each other or we needed to re-assess what the picture of our "Open" relationship looked like. The only emotional parting I see at this point is between the girls. No matter how much they "fight like sisters" they are always sad when it's time to go, no matter how frequently it is.

"The whole thing is a flimsy stack of cards.."

Yesterday after reading this blog I asked my daughter's grandmother who I am close friends with if she STILL felt like we could end our contact at any time. She said, "It's always in the back of my mind...but it's not really a fear anymore". After 10 years of having a very close relationship I found that to be a very sad reality. So, I think you're right when you say it's a flimsy stack of cards!

Mei-Ling said...

"And yes, 2ndmom I do believe that at any age before 12 a child should be returned to the natural family, if available."

... what?

Even though I am heavily towards the natural-family side of things, I have to say that part of a child's emotional well-being is dependent on the security of remaining with the adoptive family as opposed to being transferred over to a family whom s/he may not necessarily remember from infancy/toddlerhood.

2ndmom said...

"And yes, 2ndmom I do believe that at any age before 12 a child should be returned to the natural family, if available. In my book, being unwilling to do so, makes you into a slave-owner, instead of a parent."

I don't quite understand your "slave owner" analogy! There are many variables that would come into returning an adoptive child to their natural family. The number one variable to me would be if the child is unhappy, not well adjusted, had issues with their identity, etc. The second would be if their natural family was able to "take them back". We read so much in the media about adopted children being rejected by their adopted parents or adoptions being terminated because the child didn't turn out to be what the adoptive parents wanted. I can't imagine what that would do to the child! If he had abandonment issues before, wouldn't that magnify those issues a million times over?

Theodore said...

@Mei-Ling, you are talking to somebody living in a jurisdiction where any mother who is not totally worthless as a parent, forces by that quality alone the court to refuse an adoption of her child.
Why do you think that, in case of what to me has been an illegal adoption, a restoration to one's born identity would conflict with the child's interests?

Theodore said...

@2ndmom, You might feel the same way, but the difference is, what can they do? You COULD block their access to your daughter, they could not retaliate.

Anonymous said...

2nd Mom wrote:
"I don't quite understand your "slave owner" analogy! There are many variables that would come into returning an adoptive child to their natural family. "

You cannot reason with anti-adoption hard core belief, because it is just another way of seeing children as property. In this case, stolen property that should be returned like a lost or stolen purse. The idea of the adopted child as a person with feelings and attachments of her own does not enter into this kind of thinking, and any feelings are conveniently projected from someone else's desires and bad experience.

You have been more than decent in trying to deal with this, but you can't win with some people.

maryanne

GypsyQ said...

@ Maryanne
"You cannot reason with anti-adoption hard core belief, because it is just another way of seeing children as property."

Excuse me? Property? The only people who see children as property are the people who purchase them from baby brokers. Natural parents don't purchase their children, they just ARE their children, (because that is what NATURE dictates). When you mess with mother nature, there are bound to be some "issues", don't you think, Maryanne?

Unbelievable...

GypsyQ said...

and I love the way you liken us losing our children to adoption is "like a lost or stolen purse" that should be returned. You really outdid yourself with that one. Pat yourself on the back Ms. Sunshine herself...

LeahCorey said...

No, Maryanne, anti-adoption belief is seeing that children stay where they belong and not become adopters' property.

You ARE unbelievable. I'm guessing you've never had a natural child. You would know the natural feelings of a mother if you did.

I see nothing wrong with a child being returned to the natural parents even if after being raised for 15 years by adopters! The child will be just fine and maybe they can set up a once or twice a year visit with the adopters.

Afterall, who is really "attached" here. Talk about projecting feelings??? Just because you, adopter, feel that tingling, loving feeling toward the child you magically got, doesn't mean the child has the same feelings towards you.

LeahCorey said...

@ Maryanne,


"You have been more than decent in trying to deal with this, but you can't win with some people."

Self-righteous a bit much, are you?

"Deal" with what? Opinions that are not the same as yours?

"Win"? Didn't the adopter "win" because of other people's very unfortunate circumstance?

Are you the type of person who finds a lost purse and says, "Finders keepers losers weepers?"

Struggling Fulcrum said...

Please -

Everybody just try to take it easy a little bit.

We are all alive and trying to work through our own crazy situation.

Crown and coke helps quite a bit - would suggest it to those who need to take the edge off.

Mei-Ling said...

"Why do you think that, in case of what to me has been an illegal adoption, a restoration to one's born identity would conflict with the child's interests?"

Because adoption isn't just about technicalities, and I'm not talking about the adoptive parents' POV. I'm talking about the child's.

If you had taken me out of my adoptive home and sent me back to "my people" during my childhood at any point, I'm pretty sure I would have been scared out of my mind.

My 'rightful' people are arguably other Taiwanese and the family I was born to, but that's just a lawful technicality. Emotionally, as a child, I would have felt like I was leaving security behind and my parents to go to some foreign family.

Would it have been right? Arguably, yes.

But I still would have freaked out and felt like I was leaving the 'only home ever known.'

Mei-Ling said...

"I see nothing wrong with a child being returned to the natural parents even if after being raised for 15 years by adopters! The child will be just fine and maybe they can set up a once or twice a year visit with the adopters."

You know, I'll be the first person to admit blood matters. Blood is damned important, no matter how much adoption tries to downplay it. Genealogy is important. Mother-daughter in-utero neurology counts for a lot.

But no matter how right it may feel to the natural parents, the child isn't necessarily going to feel the same.

I'm not saying the natural parents don't have a right to love their child, or to feel grief about losing their child.

But there's something to be said for having been raised fifteen years in another family in another environment. You can't ignore that or try to pretend it isn't significant.

What is emotionally right does not always equal being technically right.

Mei-Ling said...

"You cannot reason with anti-adoption hard core belief, because it is just another way of seeing children as property."

If someone tells you xyz causes grief and trauma, why not work towards minimizing the possibility where the result of a future situation might lead to xyz happening?

Anti-adoption isn't about anti-adoptive parents or anti-homes for orphans or children whose parents have lost all rights.

Perhaps it should be labelled anti-orphanages instead, but usually it means preventing children from having to be adopted in the first place.

Yes yes I know, not all mothers love their children. But adoptionland is pretty much the only place where everything about maternal love and neuropsychology pretty much seems to be ignored and tossed in the gutter.

Theodore said...

@Fulcrum, please, could you stop with your promotion of alcoholic beverages? Drinking to drown sorrows is a destructive habit.

@LeahCorey, Maryanne is right to a degree, 2ndmom is behaving quite well here, for an adoptress. She seems to behave quite well, but dealing with an open adoption, she more or less forces the bio-family not to contradict her, as long as she stays a parent-by-adoption, she has from their point of view a hostage.

Her statement:"I don't want her to feel like we "rented" her and at age 18 we are done!" suggest to me that she wants to feel the daughter like they "bought" her forever, causing the slave owner analogy. As long as she is not taking any action to restore the girl's birthright, she is in my view at least guilty of being an accomplice in a relinquishment, and one may be legally allowed to do that, but a relinquishment is hardly ever in the child's best interest.
If she wants everybody to feel entitled, she should be willing to give her claims to the child up. So indeed she cannot win. She cannot be the child's only legally recognized mother, get the child a recognized OBC and allow the child's blood relatives to speak their minds about her.

A 15 year old should be allowed to decide whether he or she wants to be adopted or not, in the case of a 10-year old it has to be assumed, that a reversal of the relinquishment, if possible (MIND THE QUALIFICATION), would be in the child's best interest.

Robin said...

I don't think it's appropriate to say that just because someone's viewpoint is different than yours that they must be in denial. People ARE different, experiences are different, circumstances are different. I know I certainly didn't appreciate it when people gave me flak for not touting the prevailing wisdom of the day about adoption. I didn't accept that my adoptive parents were my only "real" parents and that being raised in a non-blood related family was the same as being a bio-kid.

One of the most painful things for the adopted child is believing that s/he wasn't important enough or valuable enough to keep... that s/he was just an unwanted accident. So for those people who didn't want their child or feel that they are some kind of saint for giving up their child, please STOP writing about it publicly. I would have been hurt beyond measure to have my first parents' blog about how happy they were to give me away. Adoption is supposed to be about the child. Well, I can tell you it is not in any child's best interest to see publicly that their first parent is sooo happy to not be raising them.

If adoption was really what the pro-adoption people say it is... that first mothers will feel so good about themselves for relinquishing their child so that s/he can have a "bright" future and adopted children really just need a two parent home with material advantages (and will be so grateful to their n-parents for giving them up) then there wouldn't be SO MUCH PAIN.

Overall, I think that Open Adoption is just the same old crappy adoption wrapped up in a shiny new bow. Though I would like to hear more from the real experts... those adoptees who were raised in open adoptions.

GypsyQ said...

@ Struggling Fulcrum, I prefer Vodka and OJ. Let's go have a drink... lol!

@Leah, believe it or not, I believe Maryanne is a natural mother. She is of the much more "enlightened" variety than we "bitter, mean, angry" first mothers, though... or at least that is what she thinks.

She likes to come here and tell us we are wrong to feel the way we do about having lost our children to baby brokers and their paying customers. I don't get it. Never will.

maryanne said...

Leah Corey and Gypsy Q: You guessed wrong. I am the mother of four children, the oldest surrendered to adoption because I was an unwed mother. I do know the feelings of a mother. I am reunited with the son I surrendered, and no, he did not have a great adoptive home. But we both survived. There are many problems in adoption, but I cannot view all adoptive mothers as the enemy.

If I found a lost purse I would return it. I am hardly "Ms. Sunshine which you would know if you had read anything I wrote about adoption and pain since 1976.

You have grossly misjudged me and misinterpreted what I have said. Next time don't assume anything about posters you disagree with, stick to the issues at hand.

Megan said...

Leah Corey, are you aware that Maryanne is a birth mother, and has had multiple natural children, the first of which was lost to adoption. Are you also aware that she has been fighting for adoption reform for over 20 years?

Lorraine Dusky said...

Maryanne and I have certainly have had our disagreements over the years, but readers ought to know, as she and Megan have stated, that she is one of the true pioneers in adoption reform whose involvement goes back--hell, more than 30 years! when coming out of the closet really took courage. As first/birth mothers, we have known each other since the Seventies.

For several years she had a newsletter for natural mothers, and she was one of the people involved in the formation of Concerned United Birthparents.

I know that making clever attacking comments can make you feel righteous, and both Jane and I hate to restrict discussion here and not post comments, but do think twice before you hit "publish." Ask yourself, if my full name was attached to this, would I want it on the Internet for all time?

Okay, I know that anonymous comments often reveal the true feelings of someone--and that is why we sometimes publish anonymous and nasty comments from adoptive parents or each other, but I do ask, among us, for a modicum civility. And that includes extending it to people like 2ndMom, who comes here to talk to us from the other side of the fence. Mei-Ling's comments exrpess my own feelings on the subject under discussion.

Mei-Ling said...

"in the case of a 10-year old it has to be assumed, that a reversal of the relinquishment, if possible (MIND THE QUALIFICATION), would be in the child's best interest."

What if the child didn't want their adoption to be reversed?

GypsyQ said...

@ Megan, I am fully aware that she is a first mother and also fully aware of how she has spoken over many mothers who have shared their experiences and the pain they have lived. I personally DO have a serious problem with my child's adopters for what they did to me and I have every right to. I don't trust many adopters, I don't care how they portray themselves. I have a right to feel that way. She loves denouncing that sentiment, coming from many people who have been "torched by adoption", as I have read many of her posts. She has also been at adoptee blogs blasting mothers for what they have posted here.

GypsyQ said...

@Lorraine, full name or not, I will not be posting on your blog again, as people have a right to feel and post what they feel, given the experiences they have lived. It doesn't make anyone more 'self righteous' than say, you. Don't ask people to comment on your blog then blast what they have to say.

Theodore said...

Mei-Ling, what I had in mind was a gradual transfer, from one loving home to another, most certainly not dumping a child with a bunch of strangers as is the case with adoption at birth. Starting with short visits,try-out stays up to months... Might be very hard to do with intercontinental adoption, I grant you.

LeahCorey said...

By her comment, "You cannot reason with anti-adoption hard core belief, because it is just another way of seeing children as property," I saw her comment as a stab at firstmoms. But I know it can be hard to judge sometimes what people really mean by their comments. I really thought it was meant to insult and belittle. And I still do.

And this comment, "You have been more than decent in trying to deal with this, but you can't win with some people," she might as well have said, "Oh, 2ndmom, brush these fools off who don't agree with everything you say and praise you for your decency."

Robin said...

I would not have wanted to return to my original family when I was 15 years old. I had already attached to my adoptive family. The cases we have discussed here at FMF have been about young children who had never been legally adopted.

While I certainly don't believe that any expectant mother should be forced, pressured or in any way coerced to give up her child, children are not ping pong balls that can just be moved back and forth from one family to the other. There is enough insecurity just in having been given up in the first place. Minor children need a sense of security and stability. I suspect I would have been quite wary of my natural parents if they had tried to come back for me when I was already a teenager.

Theodore said...

"What if the child didn't want their adoption to be reversed?"

Depends on her intellectual level, if an able judge would consider her able to understand the consequences of that decision, she should be able to veto the reversal.
This important issue, however, should not be the start of the reunion...

2ndmom said...

I apologize if being here is whipping everyone into a frenzy. I think it's a positive thing, though, to hear everyones differing perspectives. I'm not claiming to represent "Open Adoption" as a whole. I'm only talking about my own personal relationship. That being said...

"...dealing with an open adoption, she more or less forces the bio-family not to contradict her, as long as she stays a parent-by-adoption, she has from their point of view a hostage."

At first we kind of tip-toed around not wanting to overstep either of each others boundaries but eventually we evolved into having a "real" relationship. Now we all give our opinions and disagree or fight just like any other family or relationship. I can't speak for their exact feelings because I'm not walking in their shoes. But we DO disagree and certainly express our opinions with each other.

"Her statement, "I don't want her to feel like we "rented" her and at age 18 we are done!" suggest to me that she wants to feel the daughter like they "bought" her forever, causing the slave owner analogy. As long as she is not taking any action to restore the girl's birthright, she is in my view at least guilty of being an accomplice in a relinquishment, and one may be legally allowed to do that, but a relinquishment is hardly ever in the child's best interest. If she wants everybody to feel entitled, she should be willing to give her claims to the child up. So indeed she cannot win. She cannot be the child's only legally recognized mother, get the child a recognized OBC and allow the child's blood relatives to speak their minds about her."

My daughter is named after her first mom and due to some extreme sneakiness, she DOES have her OBC. I don't view her as a "prize" or a possession and I don't believe she feels like we are holding her hostage. We're her family and her first mom/family is ALSO her family. This isn't a perfect world and I realize that despite ALL of our best efforts (adoptive family and first family) that she will struggle with the fact that she was adopted.

maryanne said...

What I was reacting to with the "child as property" comment was the idea put forth here of returning an adopted child to the natural parents on demand "up to age 12", and someone else extended it to 15, no matter how the child felt about this. I find this awful, no matter which side is demanding ownership of the child. What about the child's feelings and where she wants to be? If a neweborn is not a blank slate, how much less is a child of 12 with a whole history with an adoptive family? I don't see how anyone could think this kind of disruption would cause no harm to the child.

If you think this should universally be the case and is ok, well that is scary. Those of you who are mothers, would you have walked in and demanded your child be returned by the adoptive parents whether your child wanted that or not, and whether or not their were grave problems in the adoptive family? Would you want your child back? Of course! But at that point what should matter is what is best for the child, not what any of the parents want. Yes, knowledge and connection to the natural family is a plus, but that is not what was proposed. We are talking "return of stolen property", not providing information or connection.

I do believe that if a mother changes her mind and the child is still a baby, yes, they should be returned to her unless she is unfit. I hate those extended, heartbreaking custody cases that should have been settled before the child was aware, and blame agencies that drag them out until harm is done. I also believe that many adoptions including mine should never have happened. I am against unneeded or coerced adoptions. But some adoptions are necessary, and some adoptive families are good and loving.

I did not find 2nd Mom's comments here arrogant or out of line, and felt she was unfairly attacked just for being an adoptive mother. So I defended her. The world is not all black and white, hero and villain, as some prefer to see it.

Theodore said...

@Robin, as a teenager you should have been able to make your own decision about your family, and I guess that the circumstances would have mattered a lot to you.

Lorraine Dusky said...

I found my daughter at fifteen, she visited us for an entire summer when she was sixteen, but she certainly did not want to suddenly up and live with us permanently. She was loyal to the Mom and Dad she knew and grew up with--and her brothers--and remained so, despite difficulties and disagreements at different times with all her parents!

Lorraine Dusky said...

Gypsy Q:

Everyone has the right to feel how they wish towards the adoptive parents of her child, especially when lies were told and the promised "open" adoption slams shut. Not only are you in pain, but you were duped. Adopters like that should come back as people whose lives are living hells.

maryanne said...

Leah Corey said:"she might as well have said, "Oh, 2ndmom, brush these fools off who don't agree with everything you say and praise you for your decency."

But Leah, I did not say that, you did. I do not think everyone who comments and disagrees with me, or 2nd Mom is a "fool". Some people have managed to express themselves in thoughtful manner even in disagreeing. Others have not, putting words and thoughts in the mouths of others that were never there or intended.

Gypsy, sometimes I agree with other mothers, and with adoptees, and adoptive parents, sometimes I do not. It depends on what they say, not on whom they are or their triad position. Sometimes I agree with Lo and Jane, sometimes not. But we can all be adults here and disagree civilly.

You have every right to hate your child's adoptive parents if they have treated you badly. So do we all. But hating all adoptive parents just because they adopted is a different matter.

Theodore said...

"What I was reacting to with the "child as property" comment was the idea put forth here of returning an adopted child to the natural parents on demand "up to age 12","

I cannot see how that in any way implies that the child would be property. If the natural family is sufficient for the child, it is the place where the child would probably be, if it had been able to choose as a free person where it would be. To me returning a child taken from his or her parents back to its original family, is giving a child its natural freedom again. Adoption of non-consenting people is a wrong, but sometimes a necessary wrong, if such an adoption can be undone, without causing greater wrongs, it is all for the better. To me a return to the natural family, is a return to liberty and honor. Do take into account that if a return to the natural parents is possible the law should have prevented the adoption, where I live.


"I find this awful, no matter which side is demanding ownership of the child."

Who started about demanding ownership?

" What about the child's feelings and where she wants to be? If a neweborn is not a blank slate, how much less is a child of 12 with a whole history with an adoptive family?"

A child past her 12th birtday can be assumed to be old enough to understand and to reason to a degree and thus to decide for herself. A child would need to experience living with the natural family before she could make the choice, offering her that experience as soon as possible is starting the project of returning her to her birthright.

" I don't see how anyone could think this kind of disruption would cause no harm to the child."

To me it seems the best treatment against the traumas caused by the initial abandonment.

"If you think this should universally be the case and is ok, well that is scary. Those of you who are mothers, would you have walked in and demanded your child be returned by the adoptive parents whether your child wanted that or not, and whether or not their were grave problems in the adoptive family? Would you want your child back? Of course! But at that point what should matter is what is best for the child, not what any of the parents want. Yes, knowledge and connection to the natural family is a plus, but that is not what was proposed. We are talking "return of stolen property", not providing information or connection."

The stolen property to me is not a child, but a child's ORIGINAL IDENTITY.

"But some adoptions are necessary, and some adoptive families are good and loving."

We agree on that one.

"I did not find 2nd Mom's comments here arrogant or out of line, and felt she was unfairly attacked just for being an adoptive mother."

Rather for the way she BECAME an adoptive mother, that may not have been nice,granted. But we are talking here about pre-birth contact adopters of a child which has now siblings. To me that is heartless evil up to eleven, but except for that little detail, she seems a nice person.

"So I defended her. The world is not all black and white, hero and villain, as some prefer to see it."

I prefer to see the world as mostly full of corruption, dishonesty, sin, crime, wrongs, evil and an infinity of heartlessness. Your defense of her is heartwarming, but differing philosphies can be more different than you imagine :)

2ndmom said...

"The stolen property to me is not a child, but a child's ORIGINAL IDENTITY."

I know we are coming from completely different perspectives and experiences but my daughter DOES have her original identity. No, she is not being raised in her family of origin. She has her OBC and is in close contact with every member of her family of origin (closer to the maternal side) and lives within 20 minutes of all of them.

"But we are talking here about pre-birth contact adopters of a child which has now siblings. To me that is heartless evil up to eleven".

Yes, that is true. We did adopt through an agency and we did meet the first parents and their families prior to our daughter being born. My daughter does have two younger siblings with whom she has a very close relationship with. We were there when each sibling was born and the girls have had a relationship with each other ever since.

"...but except for that little detail, she seems a nice person."

Thank you! You seem like a nice person also.

maryanne said...

Theodore, you seem to be talking about ideals and philosophies, the shadows on Plato's cave, where I am concerned about actual children who have been living in a family with people they relate to as parents for many years. Do you have any children? Can you imagine what it would be like to tell them that they had to go live with some other family? Can you imagine as a child this happening to you?

As Robin said, children need security and stability, and being taken back by the natural parents could be very traumatic in the majority of cases. It would not cure the abandonment, but add to it as another set of parents let them go. Children should not be shuffled around at the whim of adults. That is one of the worst features of foster care, lack of stability, and you would like to introduce that into adoption??

Children do not live in theories but in families. Some of those families are adoptive families. Whatever harm was done in the original surrender cannot be fixed by doing even more harm to the child who has formed family bonds with her adoptive family. Even if the original adoption should never have happened, you cannot erase years of a child's life and the connections formed during those years by returning them to the "rightful owner".

What would result in the real world from natural parents demanding their children back would not be a happy solution, but a horrendous custody fight and more pain and suffering for the child.

Advocating taking children away from their adoptive parents as a solution is certainly not helping the cause of open records for adult adoptees. In fact, it is one of the favorite scare techniques of our opponents to say this is just what would happen if any openness is allowed.

Theodore said...

@2ndmom,

"I know we are coming from completely different perspectives and experiences but my daughter DOES have her original identity."

I guess we have again different ideas about what having an identity is: An identity is a name, the public and official recognition of certain persons as your relatives.
She knows the identity she has lost, but she is officially your daughter now, and that is incompatible with having her original identity in my view. I do think that as soon as she is old enough to go to court herself, she should be getting the INALIENABLE RIGHT to reclaim her original identity and undo the adoption, which is not to be confused with me saying that she should be using that right.

2ndmom said...

"I guess we have again different ideas about what having an identity is: An identity is a name, the public and official recognition of certain persons as your relatives. She knows the identity she has lost, but she is officially your daughter now, and that is incompatible with having her original identity in my view. I do think that as soon as she is old enough to go to court herself, she should be getting the INALIENABLE RIGHT to reclaim her original identity and undo the adoption, which is not to be confused with me saying that she should be using that right."

Okay, I understand what you're saying. I'm not arguing with you, I just wanted to point out that my daughter's name is the same on her Original Birth Certificate and her Amended Birth Certificate with the exception of the LAST name. Her parents names on each document, of course, are different. She is not officially recognized as the first family's daughter or grand daughter, niece, nephew, sister or cousin...but she knows them as and is recognized by them as such. She and her sister's all know and refer to each relative by the same chosen name (Nana, Aunt and Uncle so-and-so, sister,etc). I realize that isn't OFFICIALLY who she is because of the adoption, but it didn't undo WHO she is. Her parents changed but her relatives are STILL her relatives. Her heritage is STILL her heritage. For that reason I don't think she's lost her identity even if we are her legally recognized parents.

I know this answer doesn't resolve the dilemma that we are discussing. If one day she chooses to petition the court to "un-do" her adoption, I imagine she would be able to do so.

Jane Edwards said...

There has been some acrimony in some of the recent comments. We understand this. Adoption is so emotionally charged and there is so much pain involved. We do appreciate everyone's comments and encourage everyone to keep posting.

Anonymous said...

I surrendered my son at birth. It is a closed adoption.

I found my son on Facebook because I happened to know that the adoptive mother went to high school with my mother. So I found her name and therefore found her on Facebook along with my son. He was 14 years old and this was last April.

I tried to "friend" the mother but she never accepted. I tried to "friend" my son, and he accepted right away.

To make a long story short, I got to talk to my son sporadically over the course of two weeks. I also was messaging the mother.

My son sent me a message that I will never forget. He wanted to tell me about all the bad things he had been through. He told me that when he found out that he was adopted at nine years old, he went out and got high. I don't know how a nine-year-old can get drugs, but that was mind-blowing. Then he told me he continued to use drugs and was getting in fights at school and at one point turned off the power at the school. This was all before eighth grade.

Then he said he has been on a good path for the last year and he is very proud of himself for learning to have fun being sober.

I gave him to a christian, very wealthy couple. I was expecting an outcome totally different than what he was telling me.

During our first conversation he said he was worried he'd never be able to track me down and call me "mom". And he said, "Thank you, mom, for adding me and finding me." He told me that it was the best thing that has ever happened to him, me finding him.

Two weeks into our sporadic conversations, he asked if he could live with me. I responded that I would love for him to live with me, but legally that just might not be possible. He started calling his amom his "fake mom".

He was forced to "unfriend" me. I haven't heard from him since.

Mei-Ling said...

"A child past her 12th birtday can be assumed to be old enough to understand and to reason to a degree and thus to decide for herself."

Well, yes?

But the point is that a child, after growing up immersed in the adoptive family, wouldn't necessarily want to be sent back to a family s/he has NEVER grown up with.

Mei-Ling said...

"My daughter does have two younger siblings with whom she has a very close relationship with."

Wait. The daughter was given up but not the siblings kept after?

Why? O.o

If it was possible for the parents to keep her siblings, why not her?

Theodore said...

2ndmom,

you convinced me that you tried to do the best you could.
The only really convincing defense of adoption of a minor too young to express her own desires was that it had been an adopt or let die- situation. The question I have is rather, if you would be convinced that a return of your daughter to her original identity would be in her interest, or her her honest desire, would you have the strength to support her in that? Would you have the strength to show her that relinquishment can be done out of love?

Sorry, if I have been a bit too harsh to you, but I was dealing with a colleague's saughter's death, and the frustrations from that came out towards you.

2ndmom said...

"The question I have is rather, if you would be convinced that a return of your daughter to her original identity would be in her interest, or her honest desire, would you have the strength to support her in that? Would you have the strength to show her that relinquishment can be done out of love?

I truly hope so. Her First Mom relinquished her out of love and the belief that she was doing the best thing she could by giving her up. I would hope I would be able to have that same amount of faith and courage.

"Sorry, if I have been a bit too harsh to you, but I was dealing with a colleague's saughter's death, and the frustrations from that came out towards you."

Thank you! I am learning from being here. I hope I haven't been harsh with you as well.

Theodore said...

@Maryanne

"I am concerned about actual children who have been living in a family with people they relate to as parents for many years."

What's the problem with them?

"Do you have any children?"

A rather intimate question, but no, I do have lots of younger relatives though.

" Can you imagine what it would be like to tell them that they had to go live with some other family?"

Yep, that's a good reason not to do that. Setting up strawmen is not going to convince anybody.

"Can you imagine as a child this happening to you?"

I did imagine something very close to that, but she died, trapped in the lie...

"As Robin said, children need security and stability, and being taken back by the natural parents could be very traumatic in the majority of cases. It would not cure the abandonment, but add to it as another set of parents let them go."

Is that your opinion or do you have any data to support that claim? I am thinking of a slow traject, not a sudden transition.

"Children should not be shuffled around at the whim of adults. That is one of the worst features of foster care, lack of stability, and you would like to introduce that into adoption??"

Actually, I would like to let well-managed fostercare outcompete adoption. Unlike adoption fostercare is the name of a widely diverse forms of care, some of which can offer that stability as well.

"Children do not live in theories but in families. Some of those families are adoptive families. Whatever harm was done in the original surrender cannot be fixed by doing even more harm to the child who has formed family bonds with her adoptive family. Even if the original adoption should never have happened, you cannot erase years of a child's life and the connections formed during those years by returning them to the "rightful owner"."

Ever tried doing that carefully?

"What would result in the real world from natural parents demanding their children back would not be a happy solution, but a horrendous custody fight and more pain and suffering for the child."

Who is talking about parents demanding?

"Advocating taking children away from their adoptive parents as a solution is certainly not helping the cause of open records for adult adoptees. In fact, it is one of the favorite scare techniques of our opponents to say this is just what would happen if any openness is allowed."

Ah, that may explain the difference, we are not living in the same spot, here the issues that seem to play the last year or so: adoption annulment for people living reunited with bios improves, 15 months after birth to stop the adoption is way TOO SHORT, foster care, the default in case of relinquishing for adoption process as a superior alternative to adoption in its own right,protection of teen birth mothers... Open records is a past station here.

Theodore said...

@Mei-Ling,

going on vacation to your bios as a try-out, after a couple of visits, to experience how it is to live with them, is not really the same as being abandoned by the adopters.

Yep, kept siblings, pretty close to her in age too it seems, parent(s) show themselves parenting material, best sort of case to try a test-case concerning a child's privacy-based right to live with bio-relatives vs. adoption law with.
Otherwise I would not have started about letting her go back and all.

Myst said...

@ Anonymous (the last one) - I just wanted to say how very sorry I am to read your post. Heartwrenching. I hope one day he will find his way back to you. Hugs, xxx

2ndmom said...

"Yep, kept siblings, pretty close to her in age too it seems, parent(s) show themselves parenting material, best sort of case to try a test-case concerning a child's privacy-based right to live with bio-relatives vs. adoption law with."

I'm struggling to address this without violating my daughter's first mom's privacy. First Mom doesn't have custody of the siblings. They are being raised by their dad and step mom. (Dad is the step father of the oldest and biological father of the youngest).

Theodore said...

@2ndmom, I see, I was already thinking that you were incomplete on account of somebody else's privacy rights.
Thanks for informing us that the situation is a little bit more complicated.

Happy Birthmom said...

I am a first mother/birthmother of an open adoption. I am 22 years old, and gave up my son (no, I do not call him my "birthson") at age 18. I would be lying if I said that I don't think of my son everyday... I do. I would be lying if I said that I feel complete without him... I don't. However, choosing to give him up was one of the best (but hardest) decisions that I have ever made. Although I know you would disagree with me, Lorraine, I would not take offense to my son thanking me for putting him in the hands of the best couple I know. At age 18, I was simply not ready to be a parent. I can admit that, though it pains me to do so, because it's true. I hope that I never regret the decisions I made concerning my son, as I feel that many of the birthmothers on this site do. I really feel sorry for you all - my heart goes out to you. Although I have pain in my heart, the love in my heart supersedes all the pain. I wish all first mothers/birthmothers could feel the way I do. And I wish all first/birth mothers could have the same beautiful, open relationship that I have with my son's ("adoptive") family.

Robin said...

@Happy Birthmom,
I just hope that your son is as happy about the situation as you are. Not all children are happy to have been relinquished and given to another family to raise.

Barbara Thavis said...

Happy Birthmom did anyone challenge your position that you were not mature enough to parent your child? Did anyone discuss how you could work through your fear? Did anyone offer you a foster setting for you and your child to go together until you got your parenting sea legs? And maybe most importantly did anyone suggest you read books about the pain adopted persons go through because of adoption. If the answer to any of these questions is no, you may end up as devastated as many of us mothers that lost children up adoption.

Lisa said...

If adoption records had been open at the time (1962) I would not have had to relinquish. I would have been able to marry and raise my child. The knowledge that adoptees have the same right as everybody else to know their origins impacts the whole ball game in a positive way.

Whether open adoption is less painful for the mother, I'm not in a position to say. I don't have that experience. I do believe that when both sets of parents can commit themselves to working together, a fully open adoption is better for the child than closed. I also think that as far as the first mother (or first parents) is concerned, it is probably healthier to be able to work through situations and feelings as they arise than to cope without knowing. Although I think it would depend very much on on the personality of the mother and the circumstances surrounding the surrender.

However, women with "crisis" pregnancies should be not inviegled into open adoptions with false promises and misinformation. That is dishonest and wrong, and only creates more suffering.

Janet said...

Happy Birth Mother,

I too hope the day never comes when you regret your decision. The Truth hurts. It's much easier to stay in denial. I hope your son one day understands your decision.

Anonymous said...

Late to the party...from theadoptedones - blogger is acting up.

I think openess can be beneficial to the child, but I do think it is equally hard on the [original] mother as closed - different ways but just as hard, yet it does also provide some measure of relief to the mother - it has too. For the [adoptive] mother it is just as hard - she will have just as many insecurities and fears to work through despite holding all the cards - you can't avoid those feelings they are normal.

Now to the discussion on removing the child - up to a certain age when done as gently as possible it can work - I don't have an age but it has to be very young. After a certain age I stand with Mei-Ling and Robin - I am and always will be part of my [adoptive] family - the same way I am and always will be a part of my [original] family. You can't wave a magic wand and have them disappear out of the childs heart - just not possible.

[Adoptive] parents who are doing their utmost to uphold and create an open relationship with their childs [original] family should never be lumped in with those who use "open adoptions" solely to adopt the child and shut the door.

And just like I do not look favorably on people who would say bad things about my [original] family and use less than nice terms for them - so do I look at those who apply the same rhetoric and terms to my [adoptive] family. It works both ways. Some terms can be used two ways - written as proper terminology or as a negative term.

Adoptees are the "rope" that can become a the tug of war between two families - sometimes it sucks when each side wants to win - because then the one in the middle is the casualty. Would be much better if the rope was used to bind the two families together rather than pull them apart in a winner takes all manner.

dpen said...

In response to the adopte ones comment....So agree with EVERYTHING you have said. Adoption happened to me. No matter what the circumstance, no matter who was wronged....nom atter what I was still fostered and adopted.

I have had lots of feelings this week, about adoption, parentage, mothers, fathers. We just buried my Dad this past monday. It brought up lots of feelings. Main on is LOVE...daughterly love for my dad and my mom. We Are going through my childhood home and the tears and grief are right there. I can not imagine me feeling less so they any non adopted person. They were wonderful people and i had a great childhood. He was VERY ethical regarding my adoption. We often talked about how he would not adopt through CC because he felt it was baby buying and he was right. It also brought up the grief of losing my mom 17 years ago(its been that long?) . My brothers and sister have reacted AS A FAMILY...we are working to together to finish what he wanted us to do. WE are ALL hurting.

The thought that at age 10 or 12 i could have been removed from them makes me shudder...and the reality is that at that time my first mother WAS ready to care for me. I would have felt like that rope that the adopted ones talked about. This was now my life, i was put there by bigger forces then I and to yank it away would have just been cruel.

None of those feelings above take anything anyway from my first family. None of my feelings for my first fammily takes anything away from my adoptive family. A childs life is not made to be a competiton for the mothers or fathers...a childs life is the CHILDS life. The person adopted.

Does my grief and love for my adoptive family make me grateful to be adopted...no....I still wish i didnt HAVE to be adopted in the first place. Either kept by my first family(never would have known my adoptive family) or born into my adoptive family is what i would have wanted. Being stuck in the middle and being told how to be ect...being discussed as a non person is horrible.

Open adoption does not cure what an adoptee needs...it might make ita little easier if both mothers a re able to honor it and rise to the occasion for the child.

Anonymous said...

Dpen - I am so very sorry for your loss. Please keep in touch and reach out when you can.

the adoptedones

Joy said...

Crown and coke?

As in a tiara and cocaine? sounds better than less edgy sounds like my favorite kind of weekend.

If memory serves. Le sigh. Sorry, this old girl can't help it...

Joy

Lorraine Dusky said...

Dpen:

Such a thoughtful, loving comment, at such a painful time for you. Losing a loved parent is always difficult, and we are glad to hear that your father was so understanding about everything. We are often accused of not understanding or wanting to hear about adoptive relationships like the one you describe--not true!--and so I am doubly glad that you shared your story more fully here.

Thank you for taking the time to come by here and sharing your thoughts. I will keep you in my thoughts tonight.

hugs--
lo

PS: To all who read this comment earlier with the mistakes: Sorry. My fingers mixup letters, I change syntax in the middle of a thought, and I am in a hurry.

Joy said...

@ Dpen:

Wow, so sorry, I didn't know, have been out of it.

Oh honey, ((((((Dpen)))))) and you said it beautifully, I feel you girl, yes it sucks, being adopted sucks but wishing I wasn't adopted includes wishing people I love very much out of my life, so I can't even do that simply, I can't even wish the pain that I feel away because I love my afam. v. much.

That is part of the mind-f*ck of it though, I can't even wish it away.

Robin said...

@Dpen,
I am so sorry for your loss. Of course, you are grieving as much as any non-adopted person. You lost your FATHER.

Lorraine wrote:"We are often accused of not understanding or wanting to hear about adoptive relationships like the one you describe--not true!"

I am glad you wrote that. I have sometimes felt that first parents in their pain and grief at the loss of their child have not wanted to accept that our adoptive families ARE our families. They were not long-term babysitters but are our parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., even if we are not blood related.

I was born into two wonderful families (glaring exception...my natural father) and would have rather stayed with them and never had adoption enter my life. It is actually quite creepy to realize that my life was so massively manipulated by what was essentially a social experiment.

Megan said...

Dpen, so sorry about your father. I lost my dad earlier this year, and my mom about 7 years ago (adoptive parents). I wasn't expecting it to be as hard as it was, especially losing my dad. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers this week.

dpen said...

Thank you all for your nice comments. It has been really hard and has brought up a lot of feelings and questions.

I really am taking this harder then I thought. I am no spring chicken and dad was 84. I am taking this harder then losing my mom when she was only 64 and i was in my late 30's. But in the interim of losing my mother and father i lost my first mother, a beloved aunt(adopted) that was more like a sister and various other family members. I have been trying to assimulate my adoption my life just to put things together for myself and my children.

It is so true thatwishing you were not adopted is wishing people out of your life....how can that be...also being happy you were adopted is wishing people out of your life and i don't want either. Hmmm...call me selfish for wanting both without the burden of society wrath of wanting both without the burden of pain that everyone elses carries. hmmm..wonder what its like liveing in a normal, abnormal family bound by blood AND family experiances, love and emotional attachments.

lorraine, I understand why some don't want to here the about the love an adoptee may feel for their parents and family. Because it is a pawn for the blindfolded pro adoption peeps. Another manipulation of an adoptees experiance and feelings. Other people may think its like thowing dirt in the first families face..its neither. Its just aan experiance of some adoptees..some didn't have the same experiance. And both reasons are again...trying to manipulate a person to their way of feeling and making one persons experiance about them.

To all potential first mothers out there...keep your child unless their is a more then compelling reason not to. Losing a child, a family member is sad thing..even if they have had a wonderful life and a wonderful family. Don't let them experiance the confusion that may of us have had to endure even in the best of situaions.

To all potential adoptive parents out there, your need for a child NEVER outweighs the childs need for blood and the knowledge of where they came from. Deal with whatever "compelled" you to adopt in the the first place. Before you bring an onnocent child into the picture.

ok...sorry for the rambling. Loved my mom and dad....also cared about my first mother and did have a sense of love. Its all so complicated. Don't know about my birth father.

Joy said...

@ Dpen

That is so not selfish of you and I know that so well. That is why my blog is called, "Joy's Division" my nmom took it to mean, my division as in my department, there are so many ways to take it. It is obviously a play on the band whose it single was "Love will Tear Us Apart" Again. Which is also true, but it is mostly about the division with me, the conflicting realities, the feeling of being all busted apart. And loving all the parts but not knowing how to put them together.

Not knowing how to not feel abandoned, not knowing how to not feel loving, not knowing how not to want to be inclusive, not knowing how not to want to not hurt the very important to me people in my life. How do I take care of all these people's feelings and myself? How do I form an identity with all these people's needs weighing so heavily on my identity?

Without all my information? It is a fuck of thing, a fuck of a thing.

Email anytime you want girl, I just want you to know, am in your corner.

Joy

cb said...

((((Dpen))))