Sunday, May 6, 2012

When your adopted child wants to visit her birth mother....


Marguerite Kelly
Washington Post columnist Marguerite Kelly’s advice to adoptive parents whose nine-year-old daughter wants to live with her birth parents is among the worst advice that fellow blogger Lorraine and I have read about adoption since we lost our daughters 46 years ago.

At one time we thought nobody could be worse than the late Ann Landers and Dr. Laura, both staunch opponents of open records and reunions. But then along came Washington Post writer, Carolyn Hax. She published a guest opinion by a grandma who regretted that her daughter had kept her child, the writer’s grandchild, totally oblivious to the pain and loss that adoption brings to mothers, children and grandparents.

The honors for speaking about something you know nothing about now goes to Marguerite Kelly, also of the Washington Post, whose counsel puts both Landers and Hax to shame.* Kelly has made a career on guiding anxious parents since 1975. She seems to have learned nothing since that dark era of closed adoption where self-proclaimed child welfare experts told adoptive parents that adopting a child was "as if" the child was born to them. Kelly seems to view adopted children as objects to be controlled by adoptive parents rather than sentient human beings to be nurtured. Kelly's advice in this case goes beyond wrong. It’s scary because someone might actually follow it.

ADOPTED CHILD WANTS TO LIVE WITH HER ORIGINAL PARENTS
Adoptive parents write that their nine-year-old daughter, whom they adopted as an infant, recently made her first visit to her birth parents at her request. The birth family has children both older and younger than the adopted child, and the birth mother is pregnant. The adopted child “pines for the family” and “is obsessed with this new baby.” She wants to live with her birth family, the letter writer states, and hates her six-year-old adopted brother.

The adoptive parents write “[we] have a hard time making her understand that we are the right parents for her and we always were.” Kelly should have told these deluded adopters that the act of adoption doesn’t automatically make them the right parents, then or now.

The a-parents don’t indicate any problems with the birth family, such as violence or drug abuse, from which they need to protect the girl. The birth mother is not faultless, however. She refuses “to honor certain [unspecified] requests [we've] made and she calls [our] child by the name she gave her instead of her legal name.” (Of course it's possible the daughter wants to be called by her birth name; some adoptees do.) Because the birth family had children both before and after the adoption, there's a suggestion that they are irresponsible when it comes to family planning. (You know what these breeders are like.) FMF doesn’t know the situation, of course, but we suspect that the birth parents may have had financial problems and  adoption was offered as the solution. When times got better, the couple had more children, perhaps, in part, to replace their lost daughter. Sadly, today about half the mothers giving up babies already have children. We attribute this to the ever-present mantra today that "adoption is a good thing."

What advice does family advice columnist Kelly give? She praises the adoptive parents with faint damnation, telling them: “There is such a thing as being too understanding, too kind, too magnanimous. And this may be one of those times.” Kelly compliments the parents for being “open–minded–and openhearted enough to let your daughter meet her birth parents, because some adoptees really need to do that.” 

Jane
Kelly notes that “an open relationship doesn’t always work [for children].” Me thinks in this case it’s the possessive adoptive parents for whom the open relationship is not working.

SUFFERING FROM “MAGICAL THINKING”
Kelly goes on to say: “Your little girl still has to learn we must work with who we are, not what we wish we were.” Truer words were never spoken. And the truth is that this girl is the child of the birth parents.

Kelly accuses the girl of suffering from “magical thinking” in her desire to be with her birth family. The magical thinkers here are Kelly and the adoptors who believe that the adoption decree magically transformed the girl into the daughter the adopters wished she were.

Teach the girl “that life is what she makes of it” admonishes Kelly. Translation: Teach her to accept the life her adoptive parents have made and want to continue to make for her.

BRAINWASHING, AKA COUNSELING
Kelly recommends counseling “to help [the] daughter understand her birth mother better and appreciate her [adopted] brother more.” Counseling may help the girl come to terms with being abandoned at birth but what Kelly is recommending is not counseling; it’s brainwashing to make the girl think as the a-parents would like her to think (birth mother deficient; brother good).

Kelly also plugs the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (Quad A) in case the adoptive parents need legal protection, suggesting that there’s something dangerous about birth parents welcoming their daughter lost to adoption. Kelly says that Quad A as well as an adoption agency can "probably recommend a family therapist." Quad A members are not, for the most part, experts on the effect that adoption has on adopted persons. As attorneys, Quad A members represent the interests solely of their clients, here the adoptive parents.  Further, although individual members have varying opinions, Quad A attorneys have testified in legislative hearings against opening records which would facilitate reunions between adoptees and birth families. Counselors these attorneys might recommend might well be opposed to contact between adopted children and their birth parents.   

Kelly (magnanimously) approves future visits with conditions. “Ideally, you can let your daughter visit her bonus [!] mom for a week once or twice a year, but only if you can afford airplane tickets and a hotel room so all of you can go. If she wants to go without you, say no, because you are a family [so the court papers say] and families do things together, and also you love her too much to let her go alone.” This is maintaining control, not love.

ADOPTED CHILDREN MUST EARN THEIR ADOPTED PARENTS’ LOVE
And how, according to Kelly, will this all play out in the end? “After a while she’ll accept this decision, not because she agrees with you but because she knows that this is the price she pays for being loved.” Kelly needs a refresher course on love. St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians would be a good place to start.**

Paul writing his Epistles
FMF’S ADVICE
Although you are your child’s legal parents, she has another set of parents who will always be a presence in her life, regardless of what you do. Adopted persons have a need to know their origins, although for some “waking up from the great sleep” as adoptee and author Betty Jean Lifton put it, may not come until later in life.

Accept your daughter’s birth parents as equals in the creation of whom your daughter is. Her longing for them is natural; it’s not something she will get over like a teen crush. If you try to suppress her need, she may become angry and turn that anger towards you--and her brother. Alternatively, she may become passive, afraid to express herself. You may be able to brainwash her into submission, but your refusal to respect your daughter's desire for a meaningful relationship with her birth family may tarnish her relationship with you, as well as damage her self-esteem and confidence. Worse, when she is old enough to stand by a road with her thumb out, she may go to the people she considers her real family. You can pay big bucks to a Quad A attorney to force her to return, but she may also walk when she is 18--and cut you off entirely.  

Unless there are sound reasons for keeping your child from her birth family, let her visit, accompanied with just one parent rather than bringing the whole family, avoiding the confusion and distraction of a large group. As time goes on, if she wants to, allow her to visit alone and allow extended visits--a month in the summer—may be appropriate. Meanwhile, try to get to know your daughter’s birth parents. If possible, develop a relationship with them which goes beyond simply arranging visits.  Like you, they want the best for your shared daughter. As many adopted persons have attested, developing a relationship with their birth parents often improves their relationship with their adoptive parents. 

Get counseling to understand what’s going on with your daughter and how you can overcome your resistance to what is the most natural thing in the world: her wish to be with people who look like her and share her personality, interests, and talents.

Don't take advice from your adoption agency. It flubbed the adoption from the start. Competent agency staff would have arranged for contacts between you, your daughter, and her birth family the first year of her life; they would have told you that allowing visits is not a gift from a magnanimous adoptive parent but an adopted child’s birthright.

Attend an American Adoption Congress conference or a workshop sponsored by a progressive adoption agency. You’ll meet adoptive parents in successful, rewarding open adoptions. You can likely find a competent counselor at these events as well.

Join a support group of adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth parents and encourage your daughter’s birth parents to do the same. Stop reading hack columnists and read books by those who live with adoption. Books by B. J. Lifton are a good place to start. Follow up with fellow blogger Lorraine’s Birthmark to learn about the birth mother experience. Then check out what adoptive parent Adam Pertman says about openness in Adoption Nation.

Adoptive parenting must accept that raising an adopted child is different from raising a natural child, just as birth parents reuniting with their child must accept that their child has another family. Both adoptive and birth parents should work to ensure their children have healthy relationships with both families. This can be done as long as parents--both adoptive and birth--respect their children's right to establish relationships on their terms.

_______________________________
*Marguerite Kelly: Good relationship between your child and her birth parents. 

Marguerite Kelly Online
American Adoption Congress

From FMF:
On grieving for a grandchild NOT placed for adoption.
How to make an Open Adoption work.
Talking about ancestry to an adoptee, Part 2



**1 Corinthians 13:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,and if I have a faith that can move mountains,but do not have love, I am nothing.If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evilbut rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; hen we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

104 comments :

  1. Adoptive parenting must accept that raising an adopted child is different from raising a natural child, just as birth parents reuniting with their child must accept that their child has another family. Both adoptive and birth parents should work to ensure their children have healthy relationships with both families. This can be done as long as parents--both adoptive and birth--respect their children's right to establish relationships on their terms."

    While I agree with the above statement, the rest of your opinions I don't agree with.

    The child has one set of parents-the aparents and they know her best. If they decide to allow the child to visit they are within their full rights to include ALL members of their family in the visit. Adoption is adoption not co-parenting or parental sharing. And while you may see it as such( adoption as parental sharing), the aparents do have the right to be concerns because the child maybe having a "the grass is greener on the other side fantasy" about her birthfamily. As parents we do want we think is best for our children based on the situations involved. We (parents) have a moral responsibility to guide our children until they are able and mature enough to do it on their own. Just because the aparents are raising a child not biologically related to them doesn’t mean they are excluded from making the best decisions that is BEST for THEIR family.

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  2. Hmmm...is it "the grass is always greener fantasy" or is it simply because the child FEELS he/she BELONGS with their first/original/birth family? I ask because our (birth) daughter had visits with us when she was younger, starting at 9 years of age to be precise. The first time she "met" us face-to-face, she asked to stay the night with us. ("us" meaning me, her bfather, and younger siblings...we eventually married) Her amom was quite surprised because there were people bdaughter had known all her life that she wouldn't even stay with! When asked about it by her amom, bdaughter simply said "They are family, I don't know, it's just different." She would also cry on her way home after visiting with us...absolutely broke my heart because it hit home that it actually hurt her to be seperated from us, as much as we were hurting being seperated from her.

    Yes, ultimately aparents have to decide what's best for their family, but the decision needs to be made with the child's best interest...not that of the aparents, and I think that's easily confused at times.

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  3. Sadly, this child will lose out. She is 9? At 9, most girls go through the "I need my mother" stage and while the amother is the legal mother, there is obviously some or total lack of communication with the child. Hating adoptive brother is not all that uncommon and not really a huge deal - my niece hated her biological brothers for years, it is actually pretty normal.

    Anonymous, no offense but shut up. You are talking through your hat and don't even know the realities. Parents don't own their children, not biological or adopted. This child is obviously miserable and being pulled around and told what to think, how to act, etc.

    Adoptive parents often mistake their own needs and desires for what is "right" for "their" child.

    Good grief, sometimes the ignorance out there is so deep it makes you want to jump off the planet.

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  4. I grew up raised by my stepmother and at age nine couldn't relate to her at all. She's nothing like me. That MATTERS. My dad was career Navy and gone so much that I didn't understand how much I am like him until I was considerably older--thirties I guess? It didn't really sink in til then. I have had issues with loneliness and being a misfit all my life, being raised completely away from my extended family. And was lied to about who my "real mom" was from age three to age seven. I've got adoptee issues and am not even an adoptee. Don't tell me a piece of paper makes someone a parent. I'm sure my opinion's unpopular here because believe it or not, the regulars at this blog are sympathetic to adopters when they treat adoptees and moms like human beings--but no, you're not a parent, you bought a product and you're her 24/7/365 babysitter/pet owner. That is all you will ever be. If she ever sees you as anything more it will be HER choice to see you that way. You have no say in the matter and neither do I.

    P.S. QUIT BUYING CHILDREN. Is that clear enough for you?

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  5. "The child has one set of parents-the aparents and they know her best."

    Are they able to give any information how things like menstruation and pregnancy hit women who are genetically similar to her, with other words can they tell her what to expect? The problem is that the B-parents are by the way they are parents, a reality.

    Indeed adoption is nothing like co-parenting or sharing, it is much more like pet slavery.

    A case of "the grass is greener" is possible, but that can easily be cured by dumping the kid with the B-family for the summer.

    The A-parents have not the duty to make the decisions best for their family, but for the children they may call theirs. If the nine year old decides that beating the six year old up to break up that family might work, removing the nine year old would be better.

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  6. Yes Anonymous, I have to agree with Lori, you are not helping and are speaking from EGO. Keep quiet!!

    Let the girl visit, go with her, support her and make it a positive experience. Take photos and talk about it in a positive way when you are home again.

    Adoption means two families. No it is not co-parenting. We are talking about visiting not sharing the parenting. If the child expresses a need to see and speak with her blood family then encourage and allow that.

    It's called open adoption, thousands of families are finding ways to cope with that and to do it in the best way possible.
    Easy? No but that is not a good enough reason to avoid it.
    WHAT MATTERS IS THE CHILD not the ego or fears of the adults.

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  7. Amy and Lori:

    I have to disagree. Amy in your case, has it ever occurred to you that your bchild may have been experiencing the same "the grass is greener" fantasy? I'm sure she thought her parent were too strict and in visions living with her "cool" bparents because you all aren't a strict (it can be put in the same context of a child of divorce parents-one is the disciplinary parent while the other is the "cool" parent).

    The aparents should be applauded for allowing/encouraging contact and a visit, but they are the parents and they know the child best. At a certain age ALL children fantasize about having a “cooler life/parents”. And it is the responsibility of the parents (the aparents) to make decisions based on what is best and right for all of their nuclear family members –not just the child and her bfamily. To fault and criticize them is, to me, unfair. Would you criticize the same parents for refusing to allow their bio child to live with another relative at that age?

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  8. But its not just THEIR family. Adopters need to understand for an adoptee there are two families. Regardless of how the law likes to hack away families so adopters can have their ownership papers, an adoptee is always connected to their natural family - even if they don't want to be.

    And your moral responsibility is to your child and the child's family - because without the child's family their would be no child.

    I can never work out how adopters can have such hatred and venom towards natural mothers and families because they don't seem to realise by showing that, they are also showing their true feelings towards the child they adopt. Which in turn only lends more support to the fact adoption is all about the adopters and what they want or they would reach out to the child's family and try to work with them for the best of that child. Most don't though because they want that revolting feeling of "as if born to" the law of adoption offers.

    My daughter falls into the passive category. I have seen her squashed and it feels like she is so confused in her identity. She doesn't have "the courage" to make decisions (her female adopter used those words) and she is not anywhere near her peers in confidence and self esteem. They speak for her and she is 14 and a half. I am sick of adopters who feel they have an ownership over children they adopt. They don't care about my daughter, not really. What they care about is what is best for THEM - NOT HER. If they did, she certainly wouldn't be with them. Nope, they care only about themselves and that is apparent as it is with most adopters of similar ilk (which sadly seems to be a large portion)

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  9. Myst:

    I have often thought that the animosity adoptive parents show to the birth mother is such a reflection of how they actually feel towards the adopted individual. Aren't fights started when someone yells, Your mother is a whore? One whose mother is defamed fights back to defend her name. Yet when adoptees hear negative things about their natural parents, they are supposed to absorb it without complaint.

    While things started out well with my daughter's adoptive mother, there were many years when she cold barely stand to hear my name, and if she did, would make a snarky comment or leave the room. Her biggest insult to my daughter was: You're just like Lorraine. By then my daughter was older and more able to analyzle what was going on. But the message as clear: She's awful and so are you. Yet she never stopped trying to win her adoptive mother's approval.

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  10. Lorraine, yes, sad but true!

    "Yet when adoptees hear negative things about their natural parents, they are supposed to absorb it without complaint."

    THIS!!! How is hearing negative things about where you came from ever going to build a person's self esteem and confidence in who they are? Even if in the instances where the families are abusive? It can't because no matter what the adopters try to say to the child about the child, the underlying message is that they are not good enough because that is all they hear about their natural family. Why can't adopters understand that?

    And of course our children will always seek the love of those they were adopted by because they felt abandoned in the first place and there will be an ever seeking response there - the fear that their adopters will turn their backs and cease to love them. I often feel this is why many adoptees are reluctant to search because they don't want to lose the love of their adoptive families and YET unconditional love would help that person seek what they needed to.

    Ahhh adoption... the gift that keeps on taking and taking and taking until there is nothing left to take.

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  11. "The child has one set of parents-the aparents and they know her best."

    No, adopter, they do not have one set of parents. They unfortunately have two; the one's who are raising them who in reality should have never been allowed into their lives to begin with and the parents who are responsible for them being on this earth. These are the facts. Sorry you have such a hard time with that because you are so deluded with OWNERSHIP and possessiveness of another's flesh and blood. It is quite pathetic, I must admit.

    Moreover, "they know her best?" No, they just think they do. I think the woman who carried that child in her body and gave life to her child knows the child better and more intimately than any adopter ever will. Me thinks you know this.

    That is what brings you here and elsewhere, to attempt to put natural parents in their place. I am so disgusted by and sick of people like you.

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  12. Anonymous said:
    "I have to disagree. Amy in your case, has it ever occurred to you that your bchild may have been experiencing the same "the grass is greener" fantasy?"

    Why is it that if an adoptee, child or adult, feels that their bfamily would have been a better fit, it is always blamed on "the grass is always greener" fantasy?

    Personally, now that I know my bfamily, I think they would have been a better fit for me That realisation came after a lot of thought and, in fact, it saddens me to realise it on many levels. It is not something I share with many people as I know that adoptees are constantly ridiculed if they say such things.

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  13. I have mixed feelings, but agree that at the core, what is "best" for the child in this instanace is a priority.

    Where I disagree with some, is that the "best" in this situation is entertaining the idea that in fact this child could live with her first family full time. Is that even a feasibility? We hear nothing from this first family and have no idea of the how/why this child was placed for adoption.

    I do believe fostering a close relationship benefits all, most especially the child. I suspect that if she did have more contact, she might find her biological younger siblings to be an annoying as her younger adopted sibling. LOL It just kind of goes like that!

    Also, why the animosity towards this afamily? Is it simply because they are adoptive parents, therefore the belief is they will let this child down as others have before them?

    So the advice was stinky, but at least they are seeking advice. Its well within their legal right (based on what I have learned here to sever all ties with the bio. family should they wish to) and YET they have chosen to facilitate these visits and are seeking to better understand their child's feelings and journey. Not noble by any means and yes, they are doing as they SHOULD....morally the child should never be cut off from their bio. family, unless there is a safety risk or the birth family is unknown(IA). I'm just puzzled as it seems so much anger directed at this one family who appears to be finding their way through this WITH their daughter's well being in mind and NOT their own egos and issues at the forefront. Again what was shared here was just a snapshot, but their actions don't seem so aggressive and possessive as truly confused and wanting to do what is best for their daughter AT THIS TIME.

    Did they necessarily find the right place to seek advice? No. But some aparents don't know to come to First Mother blogs or those of Adult Adoptees.(yet) They start at a point, hopefully listen to their child, all sides and follow their gut. What else can any parent do? Adoptive or otherwise.

    Threats about children walking out at 18, suppressing their true selves and more, will not prompt an adoptive family to do something which they feel is not right for their child. That's true for any any parent. I feel there is a bit of disconnect here.

    ADVICE GIVEN DOES NOT EQUATE TO ADVICE TAKEN.

    I hope this child does continue with her relationship with her first family and see nothing here that indicates she won't be allowed.That doesn't have to include this child moving in permanently with her bio. family or month long "vacations" and given the dramatic nature of a 9 year old, I suspect it would be short term anyways, before that "grass" would look once again greener, this time towards her afamily or a grandparent or whomever. And then it could switch right back again!

    I truly hope it all works out. I pray for strength for all parties involved to make the best decisions for EACH stage of her developement, as most likely it won't be "static".

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  14. What if the nine-year-old, after visiting his biological family, wants to live with them--permanently? And the family of origin--remember both parents are there--are able to take her back? I know this may totally freak out adoptive parents reading here but what if that is the girl's true wish because she realizes she is a "better fit" there? What would you say then? What would be the best course to follow?

    What then?

    People may say that would be wrong because it makes the adoptive parents no more than baby-sitters for a child until the birth family is able to take a child back, but if adoption is for the child, and not those adopting, how do you answer that child? How do you answer her now, what do you say to her later? Does she ever get to choose?

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  15. Anonymous, what more can they do? Promise the child that if they are ever able to return the child to the mother in whose womb she grew, so she can grow up further with the family God intended for her, they will. That's not much, is it?

    (FYI. posting without providing an ID-handle is considered rather rude, so everything you say as Anonymous, is presented as said in a rude way, so people are justified in having little patience with you.)

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  16. "Are they able to give any information how things like menstruation and pregnancy hit women who are genetically similar to her, with other words can they tell her what to expect? The problem is that the B-parents are by the way they are parents, a reality."

    Theo:

    If the bparent were the "parents" then they would have raised their child. It takes more then birth that makes you a parent. That’s reality!

    "A case of "the grass is greener" is possible, but that can easily be cured by dumping the kid with the B-family for the summer." Again they are the parents and if they do not wish to "dump the kid" off with the bparents for the Summer ( which I agree with) then so be it. The bparents aren't paying child support nor have they helped raised this child-so they have no say ( as it should be). When the child is older let them navigate the relationship by themselves, but for now, the aparents do have the "right" to accompany the child on any further visits as a "family unit".

    The A-parents have not the duty to make the decisions best for their family, but for the children they may call theirs. If the nine year old decides that beating the six year old up to break up that family might work, removing the nine year old would be better.

    Please!

    “But its not just THEIR family. Adopters need to understand for an adoptee there are two families. Regardless of how the law likes to hack away families so adopters can have their ownership papers, an adoptee is always connected to their natural family - even if they don't want to be. And your moral responsibility is to your child and the child's family - because without the child's family their would be no child.”

    Mystic:

    I agree the adoptee have two families but only one set of parents! The parent’s moral responsibility is to their child, not the child’s bfamily. Remember, if you are not paying child support or helping to raise the child, then no one owes you
    ( bparents) anything. Yes, it is nice to considerate and polite when interacting with bparents BUT it is not required-it’s not like you (general) purposely had the child for this couple; you
    ( general) found yourself faced with an unplanned pregnancy and you weren’t able to or did not want to raise the child. They took in the responsibility of raise the child you could not raise. Therefore, it is not about ownership, but a parent’s responsibility to make the right decisions that affect the nuclear family.

    I am sick of adopters who feel they have an ownership over children they adopt. They don't care about my daughter, not really. What they care about is what is best for THEM - NOT HER. If they did, she certainly wouldn't be with them. Nope, they care only about themselves and that is apparent as it is with most adopters of similar ilk (which sadly seems to be a large portion.

    Funny it seems that some first/birthmothers exhibit the same traits,. They only want what’s good for them.

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  17. To the "anonymous" who addressed Lori and I...how do I know for sure it's not "the grass is always greener" theory at work in our situation? Well, maybe because at 13 years of age, she explicitly told me "I feel like I belong with y'all." She is 27 now, and although she has a good relationship with her adoptive parents, she DOESN'T like the fact that she had to be given up, DOES feel a "belonging" with us, and has even told me on more than one occasion that she always felt "different" around her afamily...she was nothing like them. I am sure this is not something you, anonymous, want to hear. This is coming from a 27 year old adoptee, raised in a fully open adoption from the time she was 9 years old. And believe you me, this has been NO picnic on her end or ours. I politely ask you to please don't pretend to know our situation because you have NO CLUE.

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  18. Anonymous stated: "I agree the adoptee have two families but only one set of parents!"

    Funny but my (birth) daughter always (and to this day) says she has TWO sets of parents. NOT that we "parented" her per say during her "minor" years, but we were always referred to as another set of "parents" to her.

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  19. Lorraine:

    I don’t think any parent ( bio or adoptive) should give into the whims of a child on where they want/wish to live. Once any parent does that then the child will be playing both sides like a fiddle. What they find the other household too strict-then they can go back to mommy and daddy’s? There are reasons why they say parenting is hard work, and many challenges involved.

    As parents we (general) are responsible for being the good and bad guys. We may not like it, but it comes with the title.

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  20. "If the bparent were the "parents" then they would have raised their child. It takes more then birth that makes you a parent. That’s reality!"

    No, that's you spouting extremely dumb adoption pushing propaganda. It does not take more, birth is more than sufficient, pregnancy alone does the trick too. Child abandonment may make you such a bad mother that the law no longer recognizes you as such, but the law and reality are two different things.

    Rude anonymous person, you suggest that people whose children have been stolen should pay the thieves or the fences??? That paying money makes one a parent???

    Please, apologize to Myst.

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  21. I wasn't talking about going back and forth, and playing one against the other. I meant a major life change. You know how children at a certain age in contested custody are themselves asked where they want to live. I am of course talking a hypothetical child in a hypothetical situation, but what if such a child wanted to live with her biological family and they were able to take her. What if, then? I do know of cases where a child was left to be in boarding school after the original adoptive mother died and the father remarried, and didn't want the "bonus" child, as Ms. Kelly used the word.

    My daughter's aparents were very understanding when OUR daughter, during her high school years, began spending summers with me and my husband, not her biological father. She was 16 the first year. The Christmas before, when she was 15, she flew by herself to meet us, and my mother, the day after Christmas. By herself. For five days.

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  22. Lorraine asked, "what if the nine-year-old, after visiting his biological family, wants to live with them--permanently? And the family of origin--remember both parents are there--are able to take her back? "

    I think that all adopters have this fear, whether in an open or closed adoption while the child is young and even extending into adulthood. In my own reunion the adoptive mother was fearful of "losing her baby" to me who at the time was nearing 30 years of age.

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  23. You know, Theodore's post reminded me of a question that pops into my mind from time to time. Ok, according to many, just giving birth doesn't make you a "parent"or "mother" or "father." It's the act of day to day raising of the child, wiping noses, changing dirty diapers, etc. etc. With that line of thinking, I certainly hope that when an adoptive parent is handed someone else's brand new baby, that they don't refer to themselves as "mommy" or "daddy." At the beginning point, they haven't EARNED the title, have they?? Whenever I had my children, the moment they popped out of me, I do believe the nurses/doctors referred to me as "mom." I had only been through pregnancy and birth, yet they still referred to me as "mommy" and my husband as "daddy." Why would that be?? This is all tongue in cheek and kind of rambling, but why do (some) aparents try to take that title (parent) away from us?? What truly defines "parent" and what is the time limit that the title "expires" (for a "birth" parent) or becomes relevant, as in the case of an adopting parent? I guess the bottom line is, adoptive parent or birth parent, it will be up to the adopted person to decide what our title is at some point. I'm grateful my daughter doesn't negate my title of "parent" even if it hasn't been smooth sailing through the years.

    Sorry for the rambling thoughts. I'm just curious.

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  24. This piece had such a powerful effect on me I don't even know where to begin. First of all, this young girl is telling everyone what adoption means to her. Her truth and her experience. For the non-adopted adults around her to tell her that she is wrong could cause psychological damage. Her heart and soul are telling here what is true for her regardless of the piece of paper (i.e. adoption decree) that these non-adopted adults think is so important. She should not be denied HER voice or she will learn that she cannot be herself, that she has to be phony and she will feel insecure in her relationship with her APs.

    Also, I cannot imagine the pain of being given away when your siblings are kept. It is tragic that in the 21st century with all that we know about the effects of adoption that adopted children are still being told how to feel and what to think about their situation.

    My heart goes out to this young girl. If her APs won't let her express her real feelings about what will probably be the most traumatic experience of her life, I wonder what else they won't let her be honest about. I can picture her being sent to one of those special schools for uppity adoptees. If these APS cannot let their daughter be herself about how she feels about being adopted then I don't see them having much of a relationship when she is an adult.

    Anon 7:48 wrote:"Would you criticize the same parents for refusing to allow their bio child to live with another relative at that age?"

    This comment alone shows that you do not understand the effect of adoption and what it really means to a child.

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  25. Anonymous said: "Remember, if you are not paying child support or helping to raise the child, then no one owes you ( bparents) anything."

    Yes adopter, and no one OWED you her infant but you sure thought she did. Love how you say no one owes her anything, after you make off with her infant. Screw her, right!

    Adopter, I would be willing to bet anything any first mother given the chance would JUMP at the chance to help take care of HER child, if asked. No adopter will give her the chance. They have to do it all and have it all for themselves. The greedy, selfish entitlement never goes away, it only get's worse over time.

    I hope so many women who may be contemplating adoption read your comment and see what is really in the hearts and minds of those who adopt. I am sure you sang a whole different tune when you were courting your adopted child's mother for him/ her.

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  26. oh ffs, I can't take a lot of time to respond to the very stupid anon.

    As an adoptEE, there is no fantasy of green grass. I am like my nfam. if I like it or not, my afam could not make me like them and I tried very hard to offer excellent customer service. Good God, "comes with the title" exactly, you want to get what you paid for.

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  27. "Funny it seems that some first/birthmothers exhibit the same traits,. They only want what’s good for them."

    Natural mothers do not have an ownership/ possessiveness mentality towards their children, because we don't have to! They ARE our children. Adopters are the one's who hoard them so pathetically...

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  28. We simply don't KNOW the aparents stance on this. Them merely seeking out advice shows a meaningful consideration for this child's feelings. They supported the visit with the bio. family, why the presumption they are suppressing her emotively?

    This is the problem with partial stories and everyone weighing in as "experts" based on their own experiences/agendas.

    I am speaking about all sides here, cuz honestly from where I'm sitting *and reading* the grass does not look greener with any one position.

    And for the record contributing in Anon. is not considered rude when its allowed by the blog authors. Don't like it, then don't read the Anon. comments or allow it. Simple enough.

    And finally, I am an adult adoptee who wished at one time to "live" with my bio family. I spent a summer with them( I suppose my adoptive family must have been crazy with fear and rage then??) and guess what? I wanted to come home, back to the only home I had known and the parents who were and did raise me.

    What then Lorraine? Back and forth at my child discretion? Is that what a responsible parent does?

    Sorry if that cuts too deep for some of our First Moms. I see so many first families using their biology as a claim or right to these children too, after they have legally severed those ties. I find it as repulsive and rude as AP's who take ownership of said child too. Sadly I have no many parent friends not touched by adoption who treat their children in the very same way. Over and again.

    Let's take a collective step back and remember that if the AP family who was seeking advice came looking here, what would they find?

    Hate, mud slinging,name calling, presumptions...on all sides. Seems a collective answer would not/could not be forthcoming. One experience doesn't make for a one size fits all account or solution.

    Sign me Anon. who will keeping using Anon. for personal reasons as long as its allowed; and I thank the blog authors for that option. L.L.

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  29. I spent part of my summer vactions with my grandma, aunts, cousins... Doesn't seem like it confused me any, nor do I remember using them as a stick to get my way. I was visiting.

    Why anyone would think it would be confusing or used a stick just because it is a member of the family of birth confuses me. Just like when you hear we will do semi-open now and send letters but if the child doesn't want us to when he/she understands we will stop (same with visits) - but still send letters to every adoptive family memember / make them visit...I don't understand that mentality...

    Thank goodness "I" had secure parents.

    As for who they sought support from - yah - she's free...

    As to the advice of only one parent going - excellent advice - it would be incredibly hard on the child with even one parent hovering - you couldn't show any warmth or favoritism because you don't want to "hurt" anyones feelings. Having the whole gang there - might as well just shut-down and pretend like you don't exist.

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  30. Not nearly enough information.

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  31. Anonymous- I gather the first one who started this all off,

    Your insecurity comes through in spades. You know what doesn't make a parent? A piece of paper. And that is all adoption is based on at the end of the day. A piece of paper. And yes, you owe your whole family to the child's natural family - and you hate that which shows everything I said in my previous comment is true (I just love it when adopters do that, thanks).

    And as for mothers, natural mothers, no, we are actually all about our kids most of us or we wouldn't be here, duh. Its people like you who create a demand for babies to be coerced from their mothers and that is why we have mothers fighting for their children. and the rights they were denied from the beginning.

    Adopters don't step up to take responsibility for a child unwanted. That is one of the biggest myths and lies out there but if it makes you sleep better at night you keep telling yourself. And no, Natural mothers don't own their children however they have more than a piece of paper which connects them to their children and as such have a responsibility to that child regardless of the outcome.

    You are so full of your own self importance you cannot see the effects of adoption on others. You don't care as long as you get to hold onto your 'parent' moniker. You came here not to disagree but to push people down and then you expect courtesy... well maybe you should practise what you preach honey.

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  32. Thanks Theo :) I don't expect an apology from the sorts of this individual. They are unable to see anything beyond themselves and so showing courtesy is also beyond them, hence their inability to be polite and apologise. But thank you for noticing the slight xxx

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  33. Anon: Yes, we allow anonymous comments, but for clarity's sake, it would be easier for all concerned if you chose a name--any name, doesn't have to be yours--and use that. The comment form is confusing in that it implies you need a name as well as a url but you do not need the url, you just leave that blank. At this point, it's probably immaterial for this discussion but it would be easier for all of the readers the next time. However yes, you can still choose to be "anonymous," but then we never know how many anons are writing.

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  34. Dear Anon who is an adoptee:

    Yes, my daughter went back and forth living between here and her adoptive home in another state, and it was what she chose to do. To be quite honest, I think the adoptive parents would have not cared if she stayed. Ultimately, she married in the other state and made her home there. I will add because you may not know, she is deceased, as you can read in my blog bio.

    I did say at some point we were having a hypothetical discussion when I posed the question that came out of this posting.

    However, we do have the response of Marguerite Kelly, which was the focus of Jane's post.

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  35. Just to clarify, is Marguerite Kelly an advice columnist? Also a mother? Adopted mother?

    In my opinion, many times we unknowingly create what we fear most. Perhaps in this situation, the A parents will create their own "abandonment" by isolating their daughter from her B parents. However, it would be helpful to know more about the particular circumstances. Why were some children kept, but not this one, when clearly she is a middle child? How far do the B parents live from the A parents? Why write a columnist instead of seeking professional help?

    When love is given freely, it multiplies. Why isn't there plenty to go around? In this case it sounds like "love" has divided and, guess what? The loser is again the adopted child, the pawn, the property, the one who wasn't kept. How sad that this has become a tug-o-war.

    Some of the posts got me thinking, as an adoptee about my experience with the "parent" title and role. I reunited with my B parents three years ago at the age of 40--we are estranged now and I am just starting to feel normal again. The toxicity, refusal to address my issues, and lack of empathy were major stumbling blocks. After 17 years of therapy, I'm proud that I don't have relationships with people who don't respect my feelings, no matter how we're related. I gave the relationship three years to improve and things only got more and more bizarre. I had to save myself.

    My B father (sorry, but I now refer to him as the sperm donor) initially answered my introductory letter that he would like to be in my life at whatever level I desired, that this was a gift! Our honeymoon lasted about 6 months. He later changed his mind after my husband and I flipped for many luxurious trips and rock-star visits for he and the Mrs, insisting that I refer to them as my "parents". Then, we couldn't do enough for them. He demanded the role of FATHER, with all of its benefits, and his wife would now be referred to as my STEPMOTHER, or PARENT. But wait, who were those people who raised me???

    Umm, sorry, not so fast. My desire was to have an adult to adult friendship between equals, as articulated from the very beginning. His desire was for me to give my power to his wife--a choice he made long ago. They never had children (it was evident he never wanted any--total Peter Pan complex). But now, this was their big chance for B dad's wife to be the matriarch of MY family--bossing us around and pouting when she didn't get her way. They had an agenda, still do. I get about 6 nasty letters per year, telling me all about "love, respect, family". What the letters really say are, "you're not doing it right, step in line, do it our way, we don't care about you, we only care about us." No, thank you, I'll pass. My friends say, "Di, I think we all know who your parents are." Indeed.

    I am working on forgiveness and consider my B dad to be mentally ill. I feel as though I dodged a bullet. My husband says despite the major, mega disruption and drama these people brought into our lives, he is glad I searched. I joked, "Why, now we know they're both nuts!" His response, "True, but it's all man made."

    Why create more man made conflict in this world? I say everyone should go along and get along as in a good divorce situation. That I can discuss as a true STEPPARENT of over 20 years to a now 23 year old woman. I did not always agree with her mom, or dad for that matter, but it was not my place to involve myself and further complicate things. It was not easy, to say the least, but like most things in life you get what you give. My S daughter and I are very close and she is a joy to know and love!

    Moving forward in 2012 and wishing for more time with those I love and cherish, and less time on negative energy.

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  36. The one sentence from an anonymous poster seemed so deja vu. "Threats about children walking out at 18, suppressing their true selves and more, will not prompt an adoptive family to do something which they feel is not right for their child. That's true for any any parent. I feel there is a bit of disconnect here."

    A threat like that made by a child is a serious threat. I have many friends and family members who's biological children threatened the same thing.Most of them did not take these threats seriously. The children went to colleges out of state and moved far away after graduation.If a mother or father does not take the time to listen to their children express their needs and negotiate in such a way that their child's needs are met then they are fools. They will find themselves visiting their children once or twice a year and think they have succeded in being good parents. Sure they are good parents but sadly their children don't want much to do with them.

    My daughter's adoptive parents have that same attitude. They make the rules and if she leaves at 18 then they can live with it. Her needs and wants are not met but they make the rules. She breaks them and she is punished. The grass may not be greener with the birthparents but you can be sure that an adoptive person who's needs and wants are not met will always be searching for someplace greener.This is the same with biological children. How sad is it that a parent can not see how serious these types of situations can be in the long run.

    I remember telling my children when they had a want that was not my want for them "I can see this is important to you, let's talk about it and see if we can reach some middle ground". Both kids are now young adults and live close by and we seem them every day. Control is overated. You just lose your kids when you try to control not only their actions but their thoughts and feelings.

    Any parent through adoption or natural needs to ask themselves if their control issues, jealousy and insecurities are getting in the way of having a life long loving relationship with their children. I see too many adoptive parents who claim ownership of their adoptive children by demoralizing or dehumanizing their natural parents and family. Not a strategy I would use when trying to install trust in my child. But then again I enjoy that my children love me in spite of the fact that I am not the omnipotent parent.

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  37. @ anon:

    I do not know why people think, when they find their foolishness isn't being suffered gladly lying is their next best course.

    "Finally, adult adoptee open adoption b.s...." desperate really. If you were an adult adoptee from an open-adoption that is how you would related to this issue primarily, not finally

    As for the aparents being weird enough to take this major confusion for them to an newspaper advice columnist, is incompetent at best parenting. That is not addressing the issue in any real way, why not look into effects of adoption, open adoption etc.

    That is like saying, I just hit you with my smallest skillet so it is not abuse.

    Finally, I am coming at this from the point of view of being Jeebus himself, the honey-colored hair, blue-eyed one that always looks so tidy and clean with the light behind my head one. Those days in the desert didn't leave their mark on me on. Always looking up to my parental figure one.

    He told me to tell you something, no lying! He is quite cross with you, I forgive you because that is like my job, but he gets all first-testimanty.

    He gets all: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour's." I mean when I told him that you were lying about being an adoptee he was all, "Really this adoption thing again, I thought Commandent it was one of my longest ones because I knew people were going to come back with, "yeah but can I covet my neighbors... but I thought baby was super obvious". I said not to the adoptoraptors.

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  38. Wow. "the price you pay for love" ... adoption is the gift that keeps on giving (for adopters) and the assumed debt that adoptees keep on paying. My aparents are for all intents and purposes, gone. I still pay, with a brother who wants me to pretend that I am not who I am, who would like me to deny my own troubled child (very inconvenient, he must get that from Mom and Dad, he's their bio kid) and basically holds me hostage with his "conditional love". Don't talk about what is real, just pretend you are my sister. No wonder that little kid is mad at her brother, I'm 48 and I'm still pissed at mine.

    Anon, love how you throw that word "moral" in there. I noticed it a couple times. It's subtle, but it's there. Major adoptoraptor tactic. Toss the word "moral" out to all those mothers who didn't raise their kids, and you so graciously stepped in to "morally" guide them. You don't corner the market on morality by buying/stealing someone elses baby, and manipulating that child to your will. Your "will" being what is best for your faux family, or in other words, you. You are so transparent, and so garden variety AP.

    Tamara

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  39. I think the whole debate about who is a parent and who isn't is just silly. All one has to do is look in the dictionary - I won't bore you, but if you give birth you are indeed a parent.

    My son was told that the people who raised him were both mom and dad and his parents and I was the birthparent. Whatever. I'm actually happier with biological mother just because I so despise the birth parent term and perhaps because I have a background in science. Either way I am content to sit back and watch and see how my son decides to label me - it will be a reflection on the terms that he has learned as well as how he thinks of himself. I hope he has good, wonderful feelings about himself and that he doesn't limit himself to his adopters thoughts.

    I totally agree that a child should be able to go and visit a family member for a few weeks or over the summer without all the uproar. If there are questions, why not have the bfamily undergo one of those hard-core home studies - that should determine their worth! Blah, blah, blah.
    C

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  40. "Your insecurity comes through in spades. You know what doesn't make a parent? A piece of paper. And that is all adoption is based on at the end of the day. A piece of paper. And yes, you owe your whole family to the child's natural family - and you hate that which shows everything I said in my previous comment is true (I just love it when adopters do that, thanks)".


    Mystic:

    You're right, a piece of paper doesn't make you a parent, parenting does. Being a good, hands on parent makes one a parent. Why do you think society says that parenting is hard work and the hardest job in the world? Because it is hard work and not all people are able to or want to do the hard work when they find themselves faced with an unexpected pregnancy.

    It seems to me, that you feel all aparents OWE the bfamily and that they should be grateful and at their "beck and call." You (general) placed your child because you were unable to or did not want to raise them. The aparents were able to and wanted to raise them. Yes, they should grateful for being parents (parenting is a privilege) but they owe you nothing except courtesy. They are NOT babysitters, nannies, foster parents or pretend parents. They are doing the work (and making the sacrifices) you could not or did not want to do-that makes them parents!

    It not about insecurity it’s about acknowledging the aparents who are doing the work.

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  41. Jayne and Lorraine,as soon as I read Kelly's advice I wanted to hear your response. Thank you!

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  42. "Why create more man made conflict in this world? I say everyone should go along and get along as in a good divorce situation. That I can discuss as a true STEPPARENT of over 20 years to a now 23 year old woman. I did not always agree with her mom, or dad for that matter, but it was not my place to involve myself and further complicate things. It was not easy, to say the least, but like most things in life you get what you give. My S daughter and I are very close and she is a joy to know and love!"

    Diane@12:25:

    Well said!

    This is my gist of my posts-they have allowed the child to visit already-so there obviously couldn't be insecurity there. And, it is at their discretion to continue visits and what not based on what is best for their nuclear family. If the bparents do not agree, it is not their place to voice their opinions and further complicate things.

    Which I think we all can agree on because it is overstepping parental boundaries.

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  43. Anonymous said:
    It seems to me, that you feel all aparents OWE the bfamily and that they should be grateful and at their "beck and call." You (general) placed your child because you were unable to or did not want to raise them. The aparents were able to and wanted to raise them. Yes, they should grateful for being parents (parenting is a privilege) but they owe you nothing except courtesy. They are NOT babysitters, nannies, foster parents or pretend parents. They are doing the work (and making the sacrifices) you could not or did not want to do-that makes them parents!

    Adopters are not parents. They are adopters. There are some adoptive parents out there but the majority of people who adopt are merely adopters with a piece of paper that they claim makes them a parent. But again, that means nothing. Even monkeys parent so adopters are no one special.

    As for your claim adopters step up and take care of the child no one wants. Again, please read and use comprehension if you can: Most children lost to adoption were WANTED, not unwanted. However there is this crappy thing in the very uncivilised western world that makes being poor, unmarried and young into a crime and therefore those who are "guilty" of such crime are brainwashed by the society at large to place their children. Many are coerced and that means children are not given up willingly. As an adopter you are probably part of this industry that has contributed to the abuse of women for your sick desires.

    So call me names all you like and try to twist things around all you like sweetheart but let me tell you this, as an adopter you are second best and you really care about no one but yourself because unless you can find it in yourself to love the mother of the child you have, then you have NO CLUE of what loving a child is. And if youd did really love the mother of the child you have, you would never have subjected her to this hell and would do anything to ensure the happiness of your child by including the child's family in his/her life.

    And yes, actually, adopters owe everything to a child's family because without them you would have nothing - especially not that piece of paper that magically turns you into a "parent". And as for my daughter's adopters, they are worse than any of those things you mentioned, they are kidnappers, plain and simple.

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    1. Your post is ridiculous. Most of the post here are ridiculous. To say that adopters are not parents is ridiculous.

      My youngest sister was adopted at birth. Her birth mother left her in the hospital because she didn't want her. She had about 12 children. Most of them given away. Some of them raised by her biological aunts and uncles. However, the bmother had too many children and they couldn't take in anymore. She also was a crack addict and so was her birth father.

      My parents raised my little sister like she was one of their own. How many children are abused and come from homes where there is a drug addiction and have to be removed. Millions of children every year experience this. To discredit the adopted families is selfish and ungrateful.

      Adopted parents are doing something that the birth parents explicitly refused to do. Be responsible and raise their own children. And to say an adopter is second best...please. It just shows your insecurity and guilt for giving up your child. Adopted parents owe nothing to the child's biological family. Any normal person would only wish in a perfect world that abandoned children could be raised by their fit biological parents. The biological parents owe everything to the "adopters" who so graciously have opened there homes and hearts.

      Delete
  44. "And yes, actually, adopters owe everything to a child's family because without them you would have nothing - especially not that piece of paper that magically turns you into a "parent". And as for my daughter's adopters, they are worse than any of those things you mentioned, they are kidnappers, plain and simple."

    Amen. How easy they forget where the child comes from after they get what they want from her. That is why so many of them claim "god" gave them "their" baby, as if the natural mother never even existed. She was just the "vessel". So incredibly deluded...

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  45. I do not see where anyone, either Marguerite Kelly, FMF, or any of us can really be qualified to give clear advice to this adoptive mom without knowing a whole lot more about the situation and about the intricacies of living with open adoption as opposed to the closed system.

    Speaking to an adoption attorney about emotional rather than purely legal issues is terrible advice, as it attending an AAC Conference to get an impartial unbiased view of adoption any more than an NCFA conference would be. Hypothetical situations do not help those dealing with real life, nor does making statements about "the price of love". Much more background, much less projecting one's own issues needed here from all sides.

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  46. This statement by anonymous p*sses me off to no end..."You (general) placed your child because you were unable to or did not want to raise them. The aparents were able to and wanted to raise them."

    I would have been able to raise my daughter with some temporary help, and I ABSOLUTELY WANTED HER. I fought til the end. Most of us just needed to be assisted temporarily and actually informed of the truth...ALL the truths regarding adoption. I won't even attempt to explain to "anonymous" because I don't think that anyone except someone who has "been there/done that" could understand. It minimalises and trivializes the WHOLE situation to simply say "you couldn't" or you "didn't want to." It wasn't NEARLY that "simple." Guess it makes it easier for p/aparents to sleep at night??

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  47. Actually, we have gone beyond dissecting this particular adoptive parent since we don't know more, and to some degree are arguing a hypothetical concept. And for the purpose of discussion on a topic that is so important, that is a reasonable way to discuss the issue. Just the way issues are dissected and debated in many a college symposium.

    When I posted the question about a nine-year-old asking to live with her adoptive parents, I did so because I wondered what our intelligent, informed readers, including adoptive parents, would have to say. Turns out, they have plenty to say.

    Attending an AAC conference would at least subject adoptive parents to adoptees, first parents and other adoptive parents. In no way can it be compared to attending a NCFA conference, which is simply a lobby group suppported by adoption agencies, such as the LDS group and Bethany. Their officers command good salaries; AAC positions are volunteer, unless I am woefully misinformed. And we know where NCFA stands on adoptee/birth mother rights: nowhere, and right next to "family expert" Marguerite Kelly.

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  48. I am an adult adoptee from a closed adoption (in reunion) AND an adoptive parent in an open adoption. For those of you that assume that all adoptive parents cannot have biological children...shame on you. My daughter was NOT second choice and her birthparents asked US to adopt HER, not the other way around. I LOVE my daughter's birthmom and we have a very close relationship but we both agree that there is only room for 1 set of parents and that any level of co-parenting will not work. My daughter is only 3 and I know she will have needs that only her bfamily will be able to meet at some point (hence the OPEN adoption) but she runs to ME when she needs love and affection not her bmom and there is no genetic code telling her to do that. Being a parent requires MUCH more than a piece of paper as some of you imply! If everything were about genetics, then why doesn't my daughter's genetic predisposition lead her to run to J when we are all together and she gets hurt? For that matter, shouldn't my genes lead me to call my bmom every time I need my "mom"?? Why is it that my first instinct is to call my adoptive mom? My genes shouldn't be telling me to do that right? I LOVE my bmom but we do not have a mother/daughter relationship simple as that. We are great friends and are close but I do not feel close to her like I do my mom. According to you all, my genes are not sending me the right message I guess. My opinion is this...love does not divide, it multiplies. I LOVE both my mom and my bmom but our RELATIONSHIPS are very different. My genetic code does not determine my RELATIONSHIPS with people as some of you all imply.
    My daughter is the most blessed little girl alive if you ask me...she has two families who adore her and so do I.

    On a side note, I have to say that the stereotypes being flung around on here are appalling. Calling adoptive parents baby hoarders/kidnappers is no different than calling birthmothers sluts/whores. BOTH equally disgusting!

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  49. "On a side note, I have to say that the stereotypes being flung around on here are appalling. Calling adoptive parents baby hoarders/kidnappers is no different than calling birthmothers sluts/whores. BOTH equally disgusting!"

    Amen!

    I planned to stay out of this one, but as an Adult Adoptee (and AP), I just have to say....ugh! Seeing the ownership and desperation (for validation maybe?) bandied about by the bio. Moms on this post is sad. And the worst of them are the first to call out AP's for all of their misdoings. Pot calling the kettle black and all.....

    Oh well, I'm with Aimee. Adoption was not my second choice. My relationship with my own bio. family is forced at best and my (adoptive, though I NEVER refer to them that way except to clarify on forums, etc.) family rocks! Guess I've been sipping that koolaid, cuz according to all of you and I should resent my adoptive family for their control issues and insecurities and cleave to my bio. family with whom I have nothing in common except genetics with. And I guess this should have started when I was 18 and could liberate myself from the tyranny that was my family! Guess I missed the memo on that one!

    So you want to be called a parent? Great. You are a biological parent. But its my (adoptive) parents whom I call Mom and Dad; its them I wish to spend my holidays, free time and the special moments of my life with. Not because I have to but because I wish to. Oh and I'm way past 18!

    @adoptionvictimswithavoice< really? I found the Anon. comment you quoted to make perfect sense. Children do need boundaries and rules. That's not ownership or control ~ its parenting. Bowing to every whim is perposterous AND in case you missed it the adoptive family in QUESTION has been supportive of their daughter's visits with her birth family. Is that the control you speak of that will be so damaging?? Is that the wonton jealousy and insecurity you speak of??? Hmmm....Yes, supporting her while she explores this relationship with her bio. family; seeking advice when she makes a clearly dramatic comment and putting her emotional needs first. YES, clearly I can see the crazy that is those AP's! (insert sarcastic eye roll )

    Looks like compassionate understanding parenting from where I'm perched. Perfect? Maybe not, but then I never saw "perfect" as a requirement for being a parent.

    Suzy

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  50. Anon wrote:" You (general) placed your child because you were unable to or did not want to raise them. The aparents were able to and wanted to raise them."

    Here is where I see all the tension is coming from in this post. The great majority of these first mothers actually DID want to raise their own children and with a little help they would have been able to. They were actually either forced, coerced or manipulated to relinquish. These women did not lose their purse, they lost THEIR CHILD!! I think that those of us who have never had that experience cannot really understand it.

    It is a myth and one that is still believed today that all adoptees were unwanted by their natural parents. I am sure that I was more wanted by my n-mother despite being given up for adoption than some children who were born in wedlock and kept.

    So fast forward and whether open or closed what does the first mother find? Dagnabbit, she finds that the child has attached to the adoptive parents. This of course runs the gambit from adoptees who feel their A-family is their only family and want nothing to do with the bio-relatives, to those (like myself) who wanted a relationship with my first family but also consider my A-family to be my real family, too. All the way to those who feel absolutely no tie to the adoptive family and only consider their blood relatives as family (even if they have never met).

    In a certain way, adoption itself is a lie. It is needed for some children who have abusive parents or no family member who is willing to raise them. I don't blame any of these women for being furious at the loss of their child and I can understand how any adoptee could feel that s/he fits in better with her original family.

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  51. "maryanne said...
    I do not see where anyone, either Marguerite Kelly, FMF, or any of us can really be qualified to give clear advice to this adoptive mom without knowing a whole lot more about the situation and about the intricacies of living with open adoption as opposed to the closed system."

    But but but maryanne, when has that stopped Marguerite Kelly from offering advice since 1975 on everything from washing a child's mouth out with soap (she no longer recommends it) to attempting to come to terms with a legacy of abusive parents?

    I was slagged by Kelly on the latter issue nearly twenty years ago. Still have not forgotten the horror of picking up the newspaper and reading my story, MY STORY (though fortunately, not my name), and Kelly's advice just to suck it up, buttercup, you ungrateful, sharper-than-a-serpent's-tooth child.

    Arghhh. At least this nine-year-old's very clear desire to know her other family is out in the open. Hopefully wiser heads than Kelly's will advise this family, and some workable modus vivendi will result...

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  52. I didn't think the example of the hypothetical 9-year-old was realistic or helpful. The conversation would have been less polarized, and there might have been less hardening of readers in their own defensive postures (that appears to be what was accomplished here)with an example of a child in the 13-to-15-year age range. That one we might have debated without resorting to so many over-confident assertions about the nature of parenting, babysitting, control, "owning," insecurity, "pawns," etc., etc. etc.

    Soimetimes I think that people are just waiting to be offended. Whatever. The end result was not so instructive.

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  53. I stuck to the 9-year-old because it was the age in the initial letter, with a girl clearly already having trouble, and a birth family that was together. Would the answers be so different if the child was 13? Would adoptive parents feel so differently if the 13-year-old expressed what the 9-year old did?

    Comments do allow the use of harsh names because one can hide behind anonymity. But let's at least stop calling each other names. That accomplishes nothing.

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  54. Robin:

    Yes, adoptees run the gamut from A to Z in terms of their adoptive/bio relationships as you so eloquently expressed.

    And if we are healthy first mothers, we have to hope that our children have a good relationship with their adoptive mothers, even when, later on, it makes us feel somewhat down. The best of us are human, and hope to have a mother/daughter-son relationship that for many, perhaps most, will never be possible. When we signed the surrender papers we left that up to fate.

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  55. "So you want to be called a parent? Great. You are a biological parent. But its my (adoptive) parents whom I call Mom and Dad; its them I wish to spend my holidays, free time and the special moments of my life with. Not because I have to but because I wish to. Oh and I'm way past 18!"

    Awwww, the love between you and your adopters while you dehumanize and degrade natural families is just precious. Kudos to you! This is what so many of them hope to accomplish, the "I only call them mom and dad" and "I only spend holidays and all my free time with them" rubbish to make them feel so elevated and special. Yippee!!

    No, lady, I am not a BIO anything. I am a mother. Thanks.

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  56. Yup, 15 is not 9. If at 14 or 15 your child has made several visits to her family of origin and says he or she wants to live with them, you need to consider the possibility seriously IMO. I would let the child go if the parents were ready as you hypothesized. Some boundaries would still be helpful, such as "for a school year". It should be a long enough time so that the child is aware of the consequences and that it is not a vacation. If my child asked me for this over and over, yup, I would have no choice but to do it.

    9-year-old, no way. I also think you're reading into the note
    what you want to--that the 9-year-old was already having "trouble." To me, it sounded exactly like a kid who went to stay with one branch of the family, was feeling somewhat alienated at home (the natural state of childhood, btw) and smacked the two together for a really good deal. Good parental manipulator--they often make the smartest adults.

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  57. "Anon wrote:" You (general) placed your child because you were unable to or did not want to raise them. The aparents were able to and wanted to raise them."

    Robin:

    What I meant (and I am sure all understood) was, if a bmom was unable to raise her child-it had nothing to do with wanting to keep and raise her child BUT having the capacity/ability to raise them. If one is a teenager or young adult still living at home and the parents did not approve of the pregnancy, nor did they plan to help the mother raise her child, then it meant she was unable to raise her child without the support needed.

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  58. Anon wrote:
    "And, it is at their discretion to continue visits and what not based on what is best for their nuclear family."

    The problem is that the adoptive parents don't know what's best for their family. That's why they wrote to family advice columnist Marguerite Kelly.

    The advice she gave them was probably what they wanted to hear but seems likely to result in more conflict. Forcing the daughter to act as though she is a member of an intact nuclear family when she doesn't want this role just allows the adoptive parents to hide their heads in the sand until everything blows up.

    It's unfortunate that the adoptive parents wrote to an advice columnist rather than seeking advice from someone with expertise in adoption matters.

    Contrary to what Maryanne wrote, the AAC is a good starting place to learn about adoption issues. Members include adoptive parents, adopted persons, birth parents, and adoption practitioners. The AAC has no political agenda (as opposed to NCFA and Quad A) other than to press for openness and help people make adoption work.

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  59. "The problem is that the adoptive parents don't know what's best for their family."

    That is not true. They just don't know how to handle the situation they described and the child within it.

    If we all knew what to do all the time, we wouldn't be parents.

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  60. Bieber's Aunt responded to my comment:

    "The problem is that the adoptive parents don't know what's best for their family."

    with "That is not true. They just don't know how to handle the situation they described and the child within it."

    The problem they described was how to get the child to stop whining about living with her birth family and start liking her brother and act as though she lived in an intact nuclear family.

    Clearly the problems go much farther and the fact that they didn't see it (and thanks to Kelly, they likely still don't see it) shows that they don't know what's best.

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  61. There is no real opportunity for discussion when you start from the point of view that adoptive parents are not really parents, are all selfish and clueless, and biological parents always know best and know the child best and have only good motives. There is plenty of that point of view in this thread, and it does derail serious consideration of issues into name-calling irrelevancy.

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  62. "Clearly the problems go much farther and the fact that they didn't see it (and thanks to Kelly, they likely still don't see it) shows that they don't know what's best."

    Jane:

    As a birtmother what makes you think you know whats best?

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  63. Dear one of many Anons (or maybe not):

    Trying to keep the discussion here at a less than nasty level is impossible, as long as we keep FMF as open all sides of the adoption triangle. Please understand that the opinions expressed often come from first mothers who have been lied to during the adoption process, or who have dealt with adoptive parents who do everything from "correct" their language to act as if we first mothers have a permanent case of the hives. Many first mothers are commenting from a knot of deep pain and sorrow, as well as anger over what has been done to them.

    Jane and I both know that adoptive parents come in all shades of gray, just as do birth mothers. We are all human, and I hope, all trying to do our best.

    That said, I do wish everybody would take a second and think about name-calling, which shuts down real discussion as much as name calling does on a school yard. Ask yourself how different your comment would be if you had to add your name to it. We will continue to allow anonymous comments, and names we know are for the purpose of discussion, but folks, please take a deep breath and consider how you add to the discussion before you hit "Publish Your Comment."

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  64. Amen, to that, Lorraine! And btw, have you considered 'Dragon' voice recognition software so you can continue your work whether your arm likes it or not? Totally off-topic, but your voice needs to be heard and your body can't suffer for it :)

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  65. @ "Anonymous" who said...
    There is no real opportunity for discussion when you start from the point of view that adoptive parents are not really parents, are all selfish and clueless, and biological parents always know best and know the child best and have only good motives. There is plenty of that point of view in this thread, and it does derail serious consideration of issues into name-calling irrelevancy."

    Actually no. As an adoptee,have been called names, esp. by aparents like yourself most of my life. I have been told by people like you I don't even have the right to my life much less an opinion.

    I have also raised a child, I have also been called names by said child at times. I wasn't such a weakling, as you clearly are anon that my ego couldn't get over it. I have been called lots of names by lots of weaklings like yourself. I am doing just fine and don't have to hide anon, you poor dear. Grab your smelling salts you are on your way to failure again.

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  66. These are all interesting questions. Hypothetically speaking, what about a situation where the girl returns to live with her birth family at her request and then decides she wants to go back and live with the a-family? And possibly so on back and forth, whenever she wants to. Would there have to be a line drawn, and if so where, and who would draw it?
    And if she went to the bio-family permanently, how would the two families resolve such practical issues of responsibility as health, school, finances, etc?

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  67. Anon asks me: "As a birthmother what makes you think you know what's best?"

    I know best in this situation, because, along with my birthmother status, I have taken it upon myself to learn about adoption. I have read many adoptee memoirs and books on adoption by social service professionals. I have discussed openness and reunion with adoptees, adoptive parents, and adoption professionals at AAC, CUB, and other conferences. I have participated in local support groups of adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents. I have participated on a task of local adoption agency directors on establishing guidelines for handling adoptions. All of these folks advocate openness from the beginning unless there is risk of harm to the child.

    I have learned that the desire to connect with the birth family is innate. Reunion themes appear in religion and literature going back to the beginning. Some adoptees act on the desire; some suppress it, often to avoid hurting their adoptive parents.

    The desire for connection or as some put it "to know their origins" is not like a childish desire for a pony by a child living in Manhattan. Yet, this is how Kelly treated it. "Okay daughter, we'll take you and your brother out to the country and let you ride a pony for an hour. You'll come back saddle-sore and never want to do that again."

    People raising a child don't necessarily know the child all that well or know what is best for him. Their view of the child is conditioned by the life they want for their child and what popular culture says is appropriate.

    Kelly's column suggests an analogy with families who have a gay child. Some gay children, like the late children's author Maurice Sendak, are afraid to tell their parents they're gay, Many parents of gay children try to "cure" them, thinking it is only a passing fancy.

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  68. Excellent questions, Adoptosnark,

    First, let me clarify, FMF didn't suggest the girl go back and forth as she pleases. FMF said she should visit the birth family accompanied by one adoptive parent so the parties can get to know each other. After that, the parties need to work out these questions regarding future visitation and possible change of living arrangements.

    If they cannot agree, they should consider mediation or joint counseling.

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  69. I'm afraid I didn't make myself clear. I do understand that FMF didn't suggest the girl go back and forth as she pleases.
    I was responding hypothetically to Lorraine's hypothetical question about what needs to be done if the child, after visiting the biological family, wants to live with them permanently -- and hypothesizing from there.

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  70. I think the prevailng attitude about adoption in the U.S. still boils down to ...The adoptive parents are the kids parents... PERIOD!

    Now if we could only do something about those pesky "birth" mothers like Lorraine who *gasp* write books about how she actually gave birth to HER child and didn't want to give her up. And if we could only get every adopted "child" to parrot "My adoptive parents are my real parents. I know my "birth" mother did what she thought was best for me and I have no interest in knowing her". Then all would be well {insert sarcasm}.


    @Anon 7:49 "or did not want to raise them"

    These are your words. Perhaps this link will help you to understand more clearly the situation of the haves and the have nots.

    http://www.ucobserver.org/features/2012/05/handmaids/#.T6EkonSHSsh.blogger

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  71. I think the prevailng attitude about adoption in the U.S. still boils down to ...The adoptive parents are the kids parents... PERIOD!

    Now if we could only do something about those pesky "birth" mothers like Lorraine who *gasp* write books about how she actually gave birth to HER child and didn't want to give her up. And if we could only get every adopted "child" to parrot "My adoptive parents are my real parents. I know my "birth" mother did what she thought was best for me and I have no interest in knowing her". Then all would be well {insert sarcasm}.


    @Anon 7:49 "or did not want to raise them"

    These are your words. Perhaps this link will help you to understand more clearly the situation of the haves and the have nots.

    http://www.ucobserver.org/features/2012/05/handmaids/#.T6EkonSHSsh.blogger

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  72. Dear Adoptosnark:

    Well, let's say that the adopted child, or teen, is given the opportunity to try out living with the biologically related family for say, a summer, or a semester, and then makes the informed decision to stay with them, understanding that THIS IS PERMANENT. And then six months after that, she or he gets testy or weepy and says, I want to go back and live with Adoptosnark! I REALLY DO!

    It would seem that Adoptosnark would then have the opportunity to say, You can come for a visit, or not, or, Honey, you know, honey, we've remodeled and your old bedroom is now Daddy's home office and it's too late. We've moved on. Besides, we are going to Ethiopia to adopt [a needy child who will be much more grateful].

    Adoptosnark: My question now to you is, would there ever be a situation where the adopted individual, with knowledge of the biological family and their living situation/social class, could ever make a decision to move in with them, or, is that simply out of the question?

    Since you are unknown to us, Adopotsnark [except for your IP address and location], but you know all about Jane and me, would you mind informing us of the number and ages of your adopted children, or are you an adopted individual yourself, or just an interested bystander who is snarky about adoption and uppity first mothers?

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  73. Well, you did pose the issue: What if the child moves back in with the original parents?

    OK, so . . . what if it doesn't work out? I mean, this is kind of a practical issue with respect to two potential moves, disruption, etc. You do admit that there might be situations in which that could occur, as well as situations in which it works? No one denied that "the adopted individual, with knowledge of the biological family and their living situation/social class, could ever make a decision to move in with them". But it might not end there.

    So to pose the question you posed originally, if the child wishes (and that is what we seem to be discussing) to return to the adoptive parents, what happens then? Should he or she? Then what should happen?

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  74. After getting past the horror of reading the advice given to the aparents in this situation (who seem to think a child is an exclusive piece of property), I want to point out that there are a growing number of children and young adults who are reconnecting with extended families in their countries of origin. I have heard from families with teens originally from Russia who go back and forth, some spending a summer or six months with Grandparents, or aunts/uncles in Russia. Some after high school graduation have moved back. The same with children adopted from other countries. More and more US first families are adopting their children back upon adulthood (don't get me started on why a family would have to adopt back their child instead of just having the adoption annulled). The problem seems to be that society ,as evident in the advice given, still sees all parties in very black and white stereotypical ways without regard to complex human relationships and feelings of anyone other than the adoptive parents. Thanks for this posting because sometimes I believe the adoption community has evolved far more than it actually has--clearly we have a loooong way to go.

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  75. I hate speaking for someone else, but I do know the story. An older friend of mine (late 70's) had a very large family with biological and adopted children. One big happy family, except one child adopted at his second day of life. And he NEVER felt like he fit with his adoptive famiy. It broke my friend's heart, but at 13 (maybe 14)she allowed him to return to his biological mother. It wasn't pretty for anyone involved but it was what the original mother and the child wanted. The original mother finally died, the man (now) asks his (a)mom and (a)family for help now and then. For the rest of the "kids" adoption was fine. For him, it was a living horror. In the same house. We're all different. My friend made the only choice she could at the time, and that was to let him return to the woman he always knew was his mom.

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  76. "@Anon 7:49 "or did not want to raise them"

    These are your words. Perhaps this link will help you to understand more clearly the situation of the haves and the have nots.

    http://www.ucobserver.org/features/2012/05/handmaids/#.T6EkonSHSsh.blogger"

    Robin:

    There's a HUGE difference between yesterdays birthmother versus today's birthmother. Many of today's birthmother are ALREADY raising a child or children and find themselves faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Many of they PURPOSELY place that child for adoption. In short, many of today's birthmothers are not young, gullible women who are teenagers.

    Think about it, who would keep one child and place another when they are already mothers? You (general) know what you will be missing when you place BUT, don't mind because you (general) don't want the added stress/burden of raising another child. This is what I meant when I said “did not want to raise your child”

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  77. [At a certain age ALL children fantasize about having a “cooler life/parents”.]

    Please don't tell me I was the only one at age 9 who believed my parents were living a shitty life in a poverty-ridden shack in a Third World country.

    I never had fantasies about the "perfect parents."

    Because if they had been billionaires (eg. fantasy parent) and did everything perfectly, to my child mind, it didn't really make sense as to why such a parent would give up a child.

    Also, anon's comments have been making my brain hurt, but I don't have the energy to refute.

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  78. [Think about it, who would keep one child and place another when they are already mothers?]

    I don't know, why don't you ask them before making such judgments?

    Or do you even care to before leaping to the "well they obviously didn't give a shit" mindset?

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  79. "Would you mind informing us of the number and ages of your adopted children, or are you an adopted individual yourself, or just an interested bystander who is snarky about adoption and uppity first mothers?"
    You have already decided that I'm the sort of person who would say (your words) "You can come for a visit, or not, or, Honey, you know, honey, we've remodeled and your old bedroom is now Daddy's home office and it's too late. We've moved on. Besides, we are going to Ethiopia to adopt [a needy child who will be much more grateful]."
    Feh, I wouldn't want to prick your bubble.

    "My question now to you is, would there ever be a situation where the adopted individual, with knowledge of the biological family and their living situation/social class, could ever make a decision to move in with them, or, is that simply out of the question?"
    No, of course it's not out of the question that an adopted individual would want to go and live with their original family, just as it isn't out of the question that the same adopted person might change their mind later. There are situations where adopted individuals have gone to live with their biological parents and things haven't worked out at all well, just resulting in more pain for all parties.
    To get off the hypotheticals, we are talking about a child here. I don't think it's a very good idea for a very young adopted individual (nine years old, not yet in middle school) who has seemingly visited their biological family only once, to go and live permanently with them. Maybe after a few years and several visits, with the respective families getting to know and - one hopes - understand each other better, the possibilty could be reconsidered and explored.
    I also think that, in the meantime, it might be helpful if this child's siblings could come and visit her too.

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  80. I think the recent comments from Robin, Reformatina, and Barbara nicely sum up the problem here. While adoption is evolving on its own (openness, reunions, natural families "adopting" back their sons and daughters, international adoptees visiting or even moving back to their country of origin) the rest of society continues to see adoptive parents as the only "real" parents. To them its simple: natural family gone (check), adoptive family becomes the one and only family (double check), end of story and ain't it grand.

    Agencies (most) and APs (many) continue to promote this narrative, but many of us in the trenches are witnessing the changes taking place right in front of our internet-eyes. Unfortunately, it takes the legal system and the population at large a long time to catch up with evolving family/social conventions. They will push back on these changes but they WILL continue to occur.

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  81. Personally I believe that any woman who has all the children she can handle should have a tubal ligation or at least double up on birth control. To create a child under these circumstances just to give him or her up for adoption is cruel.

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  82. Robin: Amen to what you say. Creating children mid-family and then letting them be adopted is amazingly cruel. It's the result of all the positive adoption promotion that is constantly in the air that leads these unsuspectingly women, and their spouses, in some cases, to give up their children. And this is better than birth control?

    I personally know one case like this and the little girl has turned out to be a very difficult child for the adoptivecouple. The marriage looks doubtful.

    Jane and I touch upon this in the Response to the Adoption Option permanent page at FMF, because adoption is presented is such a glowing light in the original report.

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  83. And yes, maybe, I agree with you also.

    And as Mei-Ling said, my head hurts with this discussion that cannot be resolved, like an intractable problem in a law school seminar. It's time for the bell to ring and everyone to move on.

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  84. In other news:

    ANGIE TERROR OF LOSING PAX AS BIRTH MOM WANTS HIM BACK!

    ANGELINA JOLIE is fighting to keep her family together after the birth mother of her adopted son PAX begged to reconcile with him!

    The Vietnamese-born 8-year-old’s heroin-addicted mom has kicked her drug habit and desperately wants to reconnect with him, sources say. But Angelina believes a reunion would be too overwhelming for Pax right now.

    “Angelina is going through every adop­tive mother’s worst nightmare,” said an insider.

    “She’s stonewalling Pax’s birth mom because she thinks Pax is too young and impressionable to understand the complexities of his biological mother’s life.

    --the national enquirer...

    Note: Life is always complicated and messy. Thanks to Mrstarquinbisquitbarrel for this story.

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  85. My guess is my comments will never make it onto this board, though I feel I am in a unique position to know and comment on adoption. I am the daughter of an adopted child, was adopted by my step father at age 6 and now have a 4 yr old adopted daughter myself. For the birth mothers...I am so sorry but you gave your babies up for adoption! Meaning you could not or did not wish to raise the babies you created. Take responsibilty for these facts and your own actions and! Stop acting as if someone held a gun to your uterus and forced you to give a child over to a den of wolves! My daugher's birth mother is a very nice lady but she does not make lunches, buy clothes, kiss hurts, soothe nightmares, deal with tantrums or pay dr's bills. I absolutely do not, in any form or fashion feel I "own" my child...but am I her mother? You bet! Because of all the before mentioned...that gives me every right in the world to decide what's best for my child and who she spends time with. Those things, along with a healthy does of love, are the definition of parent! I know and see my birth father and love him a great deal, but the man did not raise me, signed papers giving me up and I hate to tell you, but the man who actually raised me feels like my father hands down. Same goes for my grandparents, whom I adored and loved with every breath in my body. They were no biological relation to me but were my grandparents every day of my life and I would never trade that for two people who never knew or loved me, just shared some dna with me. As my mother and I both say, blood means everything and it means nothing as well.

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  86. Ginger: Biology is important. That does not necessariy mean "biology trumps all."

    I think you may have gotten those two confused.

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  87. "I am the daughter of an adopted child, was adopted by my step father at age 6 and now have a 4 yr old adopted daughter myself"

    That doesn't make you an adoptee. As far as I am concerned, I am the one who decides whether biology counts, not anyone else. I have 2 real mothers and 2 real fathers. I'm not going to sell one lot of parents down the river to make the other lot or anybody else happy.

    You seem a little bit insecure, Ginger. Hopefully, that insecurity won't cause you to invalidate your children's feelings, however, judging by your attitude, I am not too sure about that. Try and educate yourself a bit more and you might become a better adoptive parent.

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  88. @ Ginger

    You said, "I am in a unique position to know and comment on adoption"

    I am always amazed how many adoptive parents tell me this. Pretty much 95%.

    I feel ya though, making lunch is super hard. Esp. for kids, although I think maybe not as hard as dinner. When my son was little I would always wait until the last minute because even though I always made nutritious and creative meals he would claim they were disgusting and say not that again! He was not easily pleased.

    Lunch though, I have some recipes I could share. One is called PBJ which is an acronym for Peanut Butter and Jelly, clever, no? With sour apple, which is a cut up apple with a shit-ton of fresh lemon juice squeezed on it, better than candy and healthy.

    My son has about 150 mothers because I am not the only person who has ever made him a meal and that makes you a mother. All the preschool teachers who poured him an apple juice we honor every year on Mother's day with obnoxious prank phone calls. It is exhausting.

    Thanks for you unique perspective, it is fascinating and! I also like your inventive use of the exclamation mark! It is very exciting!!!!!!! I love to over punctuate, I think it is a real sign of intelligence. I am surprised you didn't bust out the CAPS LOCK ON US!!!!!!!!!! Maybe next time.

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  89. C beat me to the punch.

    @Ginger,
    It is unfair for you to speak for adoptees as you did when you are not one. If you were adopted by a step-parent at the age of 6...

    a)you know who your biological father is and your extended paternal family
    b)you most likely have your original birth certificate even if you also have an amended one.
    c)You have memories of having a relationship with your natural father and his (your) family.

    While I agree with you that making lunches, buying clothes, going to dance recitals, sport events, taking the child to the doctor, etc. most certainly is parenting and makes you a parent, biology also matters. And you as an adoptee-lite are not in a position to tell those of us from closed or open adoption that biology is insignificant.

    Also, as for your comment that first mothers could not or did not wish to parent, you are ignoring the fact that most of these mothers did want to parent but were either FORCED or COERCED out of their own child.

    And it does surprise me that you refer to yourself as the daughter of an adopted CHILD. Don't you mean that you are the daughter of an adult adoptee?

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  90. "My daugher's birth mother is a very nice lady but she does not make lunches, buy clothes, kiss hurts, soothe nightmares, deal with tantrums or pay dr's bills."

    I know of first moms who would give their right arm to be doing the above for their child.

    Many of the first moms on here relinquished their child due to a mixture of lack of resources, lack of support combined with counselling along the lines that if they did try to raise their child they would be doing their children a serious disfavour. They believed the experts who told them that their child would be better off in a married home and they wanted to do what was best for their child even if it broke their heart.

    It sounds to me, Ginger, like you think that taking advantage of vulnerable women is OK.

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  91. Oh Ginder, aren't we all so happy for you? You have it all figured out, being as you are, the daughter of an "adopted child."

    The women who run this blog are very forgiving of lots of points of view, yours included. Too bad you are not gifted enough to understand theirs.

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  92. Responses to my comments ran just as I figured they would. I may be an "adoptee lite", that is true. I did not have a relationship with my birth father growing up, I searched for and found him in my early twenties. It was actually very important to me to discover my biological roots...he still doesn't feel like my father! My mother searched for and found her biological mother last year. They had a brief, rather distant coversation and though, my mother doesn't admit it, the rejection hurt her greatly. As for the relationship I have with my daughter's birth mother? She and I are facebook friends, speak regularly on the phone and get together a few times a year for dinner so she can see my daughter. Considering the fact that none of you know me, let me avail you of this information....I am a woman filled with an enormous amount of integrity and heart....I would never take advantage of a vulnerable woman to "steal" her child away. I insisted and paid for counseling for my daughter's birth mother while she was pregnant, so that she could feel as good about her decision as possible. And gee, yes, I understand that making lunches is not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination, lol! But please try ADHD, OCD, and ODD and possible bipolar on for size as issues that my little one is already struggling with at the age of 4. My future with this sweet girl won't be filled with just learning to slice apples...and through all of this I will stand up and be her mother every single day....

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  93. Ginger,
    I appreciate your sincerity and understand you are trying--and have tried--to do the right thing but some of your post gives me pause. You said you paid for your daughter's birth mother's counseling so she could feel as good about her decision as possible. That was backwards. If the birth mother didn't feel good about the decision, perhaps it was the wrong decision or perhaps she hadn't really made a decision but just parroted what she thought she should say. A good counselor should have begun by exploring with her all the options for keeping her daughter and made sure that she had sufficient information to make an informed decision rather than just re-enforcing what the counselor assumed to be her decision.

    You say you and the birth mother get together a few times a year for dinner (at a restaurant?)so she can SEE YOUR daughter. The girl is the birth mother's daughter as well. Birth mother visits should be far more than seeing the child. They should include allowing her to interact with her daughter.

    The ADHD, etc. may well be related to the fact that the girl doesn't feel she belongs. Her interests and talents may be far different from yours. The girl may have a lot of anxiety over not seeing and interacting with her birth mother more frequently. She may feel rejected like your mother did when her birth mother remained distant. It may be helpful for your daughter to have more contact with her birth mother. It may also be helpful for you to demonstrate less ownership on your part. This child can never be yours exclusively the way a child born to you can be.

    Unfortunately adoption agencies often give adoptive parents the impression that open adoption is for the birth mother's benefit (necessary to get her to surrender) rather than telling them it is important to the child's well-being. I believe that the more collaboration between birth and adoptive parents the better for the child.

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  94. Re: Ginger who "insisted and paid for counseling for my daughter's birth mother while she was pregnant, so that she could feel as good about her decision as possible."

    That is exactly what is wrong with adoption. No one should be talking a mother into adoption and making her believe she has to feel good about it.

    This type of counseling would be unacceptable in anything except the adoption world. I guess I could cheat on my husband and when I start to feel bad about it and reconsider my decision to cheat I could just find a nice counselor who will make me good about it.

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  95. @Ginger,
    The reason you get responses like you do is because of lines like " I insisted and paid for counseling for my daughter's birth mother while she was pregnant, so that she could feel as good about her decision as possible."

    You meant to that to show how caring and sensitive you are to the first mother but I read that as...I used my superior financial resources to get the outcome I wanted. If this expectant mother was so sure that she wanted to go with adoption then why did she need counseling to feel good about it? And who might I ask provided this counseling? The adoption agency? Or someone else who had a vested interest in getting her to relinquish?

    In many of the stories I read I sense a hard sell being used with adoption. But if adoption is so wunnerful and what the e-mom truly wants why does it have to be 'sold' at all?

    Yes, Ginger, I do believe your are your daughter's mother. I can't say if her various health and behavioral problems are caused by adoption or not. Nor can I say that more frequent visits with her first mother would help them. For too many children being given up for adoption hurts, it is very painful. I do agree with Jane, that you can never be your child's mother the way a bio-mother can. It's impossible. Your daughter has two other families.

    As a side note, I suspect that the girl in the Marguerite Kelly article wants to be with her original family because sees that her siblings were kept. I cannot imagine the pain of being in an open adoption when I have siblings who were kept. Children do not understand the adult reasoning for this and in many cases must find it to be so hurtful.

    @Maybe,
    Good analogy.

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  96. Ginger said: "I insisted and paid for counseling for my daughter's birth mother while she was pregnant,"

    So you involved yourself in an expectant mother's pregnancy, that is highly coercive. Counseling while she was pg?? Were you trying to make sure the expectant mom wouldn't change her mind, make sure you got the result you desired? Sorry, Hon, but you are slightly more than disingenuous.

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  97. Ahh another faux mom preaching to the choir. Tell me I work in a school doing many of the same things you claim tmakes you a mom. In that case I would have over 900 plus kids.
    That doesn't make me a mother. A mother is one who gives birth and nowadays even that has to be clarified as it may not be the woman who gave birth's egg. So technically not a mother. Thanks to no regulations in obtaining an egg, implanting it in a woman.
    Thanks to Hollywood stars who can't or don't want to carry a baby but need a prop.

    Ps you do not know what you are talking about my suggestion go listen to adopters searching for their moms you might gain some insight.

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  98. Oh, how this story hurts my heart! And angers me so deeply, too.

    I'm the mom to a wonderful baby girl who is adopted. We are incredibly blessed to have her first parents involved in her life, and as such, part of our lives. We view them as family. They are as permanent in our lives as our daughter is. When we welcomed her into our hearts and lives, we completely accepted and understood she already had another set of parents.

    My love for my daughters extends so far beyond myself. I would die a thousand deaths for them. I would make any sacrifice for their health and happiness. So, for our daughter who is adopted, we have forged (and continue to do so) a relationship with her first parents. I do this BECAUSE I love her. BECAUSE I am her mom. BECAUSE I love her.

    My daughter is who she is, and if my love was so selfish as to seek to contain and squash the very roots of her identity, what a shallow and callous mother would I be. It's shameful to me that another adoptive mother would do this. Shameful.

    We gave our daughter's first mom a necklace and bought the same one for our daughter to have someday. When I gave it to her, I told her that she is and always will be Livie's mom. Always. Nothing will ever change that.

    As our daughter grows, she will determine the relationship she wishes to have with her first parents. I cannot imagine denying my daughter time with her first parents. There are the cases when the first parents are truly toxic people, but I think that is more unusual than people want to think. Mostly, I view it as the same as in step-families. You may have small differences of opinion, but you need to learn how to work together to benefit the child and ensure her health and well-being. For this child, like so many adopted children, this includes a relationship with her first parents. I cannot believe that there is not some way for the parents to meet in the middle for the good of the child.

    Of course, if the adoptive parents are simply threatened by the love their child has for her first parents, then that's really sad. All children go through phases. My older daughter, who I gave birth to, recently told me she hated me and wanted another mom. It hurt, yes, but I also know she was expressing her pain and anger. As her parent, I must remove myself from my own emotions and grant her unconditional love and understanding. Such is the same with my adopted child- I anticipate we may have tense times regarding her adoption, but I must put aside my own feelings and grant her unconditional love.

    I believe when love is given freely to our children, asking nothing in return, only then will we as parents be the recipients of their freely given love. Love that is demanded or coerced is not worth having, IMO.

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  99. I am adopted; I have one set of parents: my mother and father. I knew my "birth mom" and "birth dad' from a fairly early age. However, there is one set of individuals who cared for me, fed me, taught me, encouraged me, punished me when I did wrong; challenged me to do better; i.e., they were my mom and dad. There were another set of individuals who happened to give me their DNA.

    Now, my parents gave me the opportunity to know my birth parents at an early age. And it was pretty positive. In fact, I hold very high opinions of all those involved with my birthing and rearing. But the fact remains, there were one set of adults present and one set not. The DNA aspect was (is) inconsequential.

    Finally, I love my birth parents even more for recognizing their inability to raise me when I was born and giving me up. That shows great courage and love. The regrets that happen after-the-fact are a trick of time and memory. My 16 year-old mother was not fit to raise me; her immediate family did not have resources (she had 6 siblings).

    Now let's fast-forward our relationship to the present day. I'm 40; I am married; I have two kids; I have a good job. My relationship with my birth mother has been on-again and off-again since I was 18. She speaks ill of my parents; she accuses me of hurting her (with words) because I refuse to call her "mom."

    She is and was the child.

    Thank god, I was adopted.

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  100. I'm so happy I found your site. I was contemplating giving my child up for adoption because I thought I couldn't could handle it on my own. I already had an adoption plan and parents picked out. They said we would do an open adoption, but I know they are not legally enforceable. They drove 15 hours to get my baby and I changed my mind at the hospital. I'm glad I changed my mind, because I see how adoptive parents see their children as property. Open adoption needs to be legally enforceable. That is the only way adoption benefits the child.

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  101. Lauren: thanks so much for posting your story here. Perhaps other women contemplating adoption will not go through with it. Good luck!

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