' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Hoping to adopt: How to talk to the mother of his child....

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hoping to adopt: How to talk to the mother of his child....

Lorraine
Dear First Mother Forum:
We are in the middle of a private adoption process. Since we've been chosen by the birth parents back in January, we've struggled to find out if we are "saying the right things" to her and making her feel comfortable with us. After reading your blog my mind is somewhat put to rest on the idea that we have not done an adequate job, because we have.

We truly feel for this 19-year-old girl.  Our heart truly goes out to her. She comes from a very broken home, she and the father (who is 30) do not have a place to live, they don't work. When we first made contact with them, they were well aware of what it is we can offer their baby so we don't bring that up anymore because we certainly don't want to have to convince them. As difficult as it was, we suggested all
her other options that she could have chosen and urged her to look into them, etc.  Yet, she still states that she would like to proceed with placing her baby with us. We will maintain a "semi-open" adoption with her. We wouldn't have it any other way.

The birth mother is due in late July. We are beyond excited, yet remain cautiously optimistic that she will place her baby with us. This may be a tough question to answer, but in your opinion, how ofter do birth mothers change their mind at the hospital after giving birth? I know that may be difficult to answer.  I was simply curious to know your opinion.

While the hospital experience will certainly be a difficult one, we also wish for it to be a beautiful one that is filled with the love we have for the birth parents and their child. Do you have any suggestions for the hospital part? Needless-to-say, we have spent a lot of time, money and emotions on this process and want the outcome to be that we go home with a child.  However, if we don't, we of course would never hold a grudge to them or be mad.

This has been a very...anxious/fearful process filled with ups and downs and It gave me the opportunity to get it out!--Hoping to Adopt (He signed his name but of course we are not revealing it here.)

Dear Prospective Adoptive Father: 
It is difficult for me to write this letter because I find it hard to accept that a 19-year-old women and a 30-year-old man should be giving up a child. Poverty seems to be the reason they are considering adoption, which is pathetic. But considering that this may proceed, and it does appear that you do not want to coerce her, which we are very glad to read.

For starters, since she is a pregnant and not yet surrendered her baby, please refrain from referring to her as a "birth mother." She is carrying a baby, she is not mother yet, and she may keep her baby. So try to remove that phrase from your thinking and speaking. It is common for prospective adopters to refer to "our birth mother," but that puts her immediately in the category of someone who is working for you to produce your desired baby. "Our nanny, our cleaning girl, our birth mother..." Incidentally, many mothers today who have relinquished use the term "first mother," as she is because without her...there is no baby, and "birth mother" can be an offensive term, just as constantly calling your wife "adoptive mother" for the rest of her life. That is why the [Birth Mother] in the blog's name is in parenthesis, and the URL is www.firstmotherforum.com. (Link below will take you to a blog about "preferred adoption language."

Second, is it possible that she have her own legal representation or counselor, or is her only "representation" an agency worker, an employee of an agency whose job it is to facilitate adoptions? That person is probably not someone talking to her about options that might allow her to keep her baby, even though you say you have and I believe you. That is certainly the right thing to do, and we commend your for that.

Third, the moments of labor and immediately after are, for the vast majority of women, highly charged and emotional. I fear from your letter that it sounds as if you are planning a "beautiful' experience for yourself, but trust me, birth will not be a beautiful experience for a woman in labor producing a baby for someone else if they are there holding her hand and want to see the baby immediately after he is born. She will feel as if she is there working for you and the agency to produce the "product." We find that the prospective parents in the hospital during labor, birth and immediately after is one of the most noxious elements of modern adoption.

BEING AT THE HOSPITAL DURING DELIVERY IS A FORM OF COERCION
Consider how you might feel if you and your wife were to have a baby you could not keep. You sound quite sensitive to all the issues involved and so I think it is unlikely you would want the genetic strangers who are taking the baby there in those most private of moments. Agency workers have pushed this arrangement for it increases the chances that the mother--now she is the mother--will not change her mind and the "successful" adoption will proceed. Adoption agencies, even non-profit agencies--are in business to facilitate adoptions, not have women keep their babies. The often poor and young women who cannot keep their babies may not be getting advice that makes then fully aware that they can control the situation. They feel vulnerable, scared, and do not speak up. They go along to get along.

If you truly want her to feel that you are not coercing her, do not go to the hospital during delivery or immediately after to see "your" baby. Do not cut the cord. The mere presence of adoptive parents at the hospital (who are of course eager that the mother not keep the baby) exert enormous emotional pressure--even if they say nothing--on the woman because she then is in the position of not wanting to disappoint such a nice couple, which is quite likely how she thinks of you. Leave her alone for a while so that she can think this through on her own. If she does proceed with the adoption, you will have the knowledge and assurance that there were no bedside talks that may have pushed her into giving you her baby when she really wants to keep him or her. Do not let any agency worker have her sign the relinquishment papers while she is still in the hospital. There is plenty of time to do that days later.

Women do change their minds because of the intense bonding that can occur at birth, and we hear from young women who felt they had no right to say, I want to keep my baby, and so are incredibly crushed when later they feel that they merely caved into pressure from the social worker and that nice couple who desperately do not want her to change her mind. This also may have legal implications in your state if she claims she was unduly pressured. You don't sound like you are doing this, but we add this here as a caution. We have no idea how many women change their minds and keep their babies; no one is keeping this statistic.

'SEMI-OPEN' USUALLY MEANS MOSTLY CLOSED
Fourth, what do you mean by "semi-open"? This is usually adoption agency lingo that actually means "mostly closed." A great many women relinquishing do not understand the full implications of "semi-open," and are incredibly upset and destroyed later when they figure out exactly what it means, several weeks or months later. It usually means that you have a loose agreement with the agency to exchange pictures and letters through the agency, an agreement that in most states is not legally binding but based on your willingness to comply, but without sharing full information on your name, residence etc. To us, that is a closed adoption, the only difference being that she picked you out and has met you, from what I understand in your letter, and she may get some updates from you.

Agencies have pushed this language as a marketing tool on women because it makes it seem much easier to give up a child if it is a "semi-open" adoption, for the connection is not truly severed. To most young women, it sounds a whole lot better than reality. Unless you and the woman exchange names, addresses, phone numbers and you communicate directly with her, this is a closed adoption. Agencies go out of business; you don't have to comply, or may feel differently about doing so after you have the baby. You or your wife may feel threatened by her presence. You may feel secure, but you have hoodwinked a mother and cheated the child.

I heard of one adoptive father, a magazine editor, who refused to do television for the magazine because "the mother might recognize him." I think he is talking about a "semi-open" adoption. I am playing out the worst case scenario here but we hear from women who were lied to in order to get their babies. Afterwards they are devastated.

FINDING THE BEST OPTION FOR THE CHILD
I am not saying you plan to do this, but I would rethink the kind of relationship you have with this woman, and the child, should the adoption proceed. We do hear from adoptive parents who maintain a good and healthy relationship with the first mother of their child, which is certainly the best situation for him, and do not feel any the less the mother of the child. Adoption is some sense involves a shared parentage, even though the adoptive parents will be Mom and Dad. Since you are reaching out to us, we are assuming that is what you and your wife desire: the best possible situation for the child, should the adoption proceed. And in some cases, contact with the child is too hard on the mother, or the woman really does not want to be involved, and disappear themselves. The world is a complex place.

Fifth, never forget that adoption is hard on the emotional life of the child/adolescent/teen/adult involved, even though you may not hear about it much because he or she may not want to bring it up as she grows up. The more open you can be about his or her natural parents--no, that term does not make you "unnatural" but you are different from the way nature intended--the healthier the child will be, and the more willing he will be to share his feelings with you. Don't be afraid to bring it up even if she never says anything about being adopted; trust me, it is on her mind. In your advance reading, you may want to read some of the blogs of adoptees, for they are a fount of information about how they feel. In my own case, after I reconnected with my daughter (it was a closed adoption) when she was fifteen, her adoptive mother referred to my daughter as "our" daughter, and we each became "the other mother." It worked for us.

Though I am may be giving you advice that you did not expect, I admire you for reaching out to other mothers who relinquished, and feel that if you and your wife do become adoptive parents, you will do it with a good heart. In addition to first parents and adoptees, we do hear from adoptive parents quite frequently in the comments, and I sincerely hope that some will be reading and leave comments. If you do adopt, there are several books worth reading that will give you insight into what adoptees feel and think. One of my favorites is Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self.--lorraine
______________________________ 

 

From FMF
Birth Mother? First Mother? Both names are belittling 
No Matter How Adoption is Done, Grief Remains for Mothers
When an agency promises 'semi-open' adoption, look elsewhere
Are Open Adoptions a Boon for Birth Mothers or a Scam?
 RECOMMENDED READING
Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self   " Using Erik Erikson's stages of life as a framework, adoptive father Dr. Brodzinsky (Psychology/Rutgers) and the late Dr. Schechter (Psychiatry/Univ. of Pennsylvania, and married to an adoptee), here writing with Henig (Your Premature Baby, 1983, etc.), call upon years of experience as researchers and counselors in the field of adoption to describe the continual adjustments that adoptees make as they grow from infancy to old age. Most moving is the litany of losses that move adoptees to grieve, often unknowingly. Even infants only a few months old show signs of mourning their first caretakers. Later, the authors say, adoptees may confront the loss not only of a birth family but of a personal and genetic history. The latter is particularly painful when it is time for young adults to begin their own families."--Kirkus. Lorraine here: I found the book incredibly interesting and illuminating about my own daughter. 

38 comments :

  1. I think I am going to be sick... my god stop the madness.

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  2. Our son's first mother demanded that I be in the delivery room. DEMANDED. She told me that she would not let us adopt her son unless I was there with her. And how is that coercion? Just saying, not every first mother feels the same.

    Oh yeah, and she's older than I am, with a medical degree, and makes more than I do! So, let's not assume that all first mothers make the choice to relinquish for the same reason.

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  3. I (of my own free will) asked my daughter's adoptive parents to be in the delivery room. It was a wonderful thing. I wanted to see their faces when my daughter was born. Her adoptive father cut the cord, and her adoptive mom took video while holding my hand. I wanted it that way. I wanted my daughter to know the story of her birth (all 42 hours of labor).

    I relinquished for my own reasons and was not coerced by anyone. And this was 17 years ago. We still have an open adoption and I made the right choice. Sometimes I wish things would have been different, but I am certainly glad to have such a great relationship with the whole family. I feel like one of them. We celebrate holidays together, have at least one "family night" every month, and she stays with me occasionally (which we both love).

    I made my own choice. I did what I could in a hard situation. And I hope other women know that adoption can lead to a great relationship.

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  4. Poverty is not a pathetic reason to give a child up for adoption. Really, Lorraine! I was homeless, penniless and had just been date raped by my so-called boyfriend. Yes, I needed to focus on myself and get my life together. My "family" had long since abandoned me, my "friends" were heavily into drugs and partying. So, yes, I relinquished. I'm not proud of where I was, but I had no other options. There was no way I was going to bring a child into a life on the streets.

    And thankfully I did. I was able to get into a good rehab program who didn't accept children, my child wasn't put into foster care, and now I have a decent job and stability.

    I assume that you have never been truly poor, otherwise you would never say such a demeaning thing to first mothers.

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  5. Wow, it looks like the rainnbows n sunshine adoption is so wunnerful crowd is out in full force on this post.

    I am grateful every day that the people who adopted my son (I mean stold him via fraud) were nowhere near me or the hospital when my son was ripped from my abdomen (literally). I was told I needed a c section because he was breech. I question this a lot and wonder if the baby broker didn't have her slimy hand in my having a c section instead of a natural birth, so to minimize the delivery time and get my child from me faster.

    I was certain I did not want my child's pap's in the room with me and I did not waver from that. How glad I am that I stuck to my guns, as the people turned out to be con artist liars. To have that anywhere near me when I gave birth to my first born son would have made the experience even more horrific than it already was. There were enough vultures floating around in the form of the baby brokers and their cohorts. I sure didn't the pap's there. I am sure they felt so "cheated" and I am sure I don't care. That was my experience, not theirs.

    They need to stay away from a vulnerable woman during such a personal time. If anyone would have tried to get my second son from me I would have felt sorry for them.

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  6. In the CUB pamplet, one of the appropriate reasons for relinquishment is homelessness. Unfortunately, I have to agree. I am certainly not advocating for a classist system of adoption whereby those with less resources are forced/encouraged/coerced into giving their babies to those with more resources. But I do know that homelessness is no life for a baby.

    I wonder if those who advocate for the PAPs being in the delivery room believe that this will somehow reduce or eliminate the pain and trauma for the child being adopted. And that it will make it easier for the child to bond with the APs. If so, you are sorely mistaken. It will not make a difference if the child is placed at 1 hour, 1 day or 10 days. The pain from being given up for adoption will, in most cases, still be there. I believe that any new mother should, whenever possible, keep her baby for at least 6 weeks before she commits to an adoption. The child should certainly not be abandoned, but do not fool yourselves that by having the PAPs there when the baby is born that it will make it any easier for the child to go from her original, biological family to a family of strangers.

    Excellent post, btw.

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  7. Lorraine - wonderful response to a very sincere letter. Kudo's to the prospective adoptive father for writing to you because he would have done so knowing you would provide an honest opinion.

    The hospital experience is indeed tricky because regardless if you have the best intentions possible unintended consequences can and have happened.

    I do think that regardless if the prospective parents attend the birth - holding the babe first or cutting the cord is what makes me most uncomfortable - as an adoptee. Those firsts for the babe (regardless of the fact we don't remember it) and the mother are special - especially if the adoption goes through - you will have so many more firsts - don't take that away from the mother and child. Everything I have been able to find out is that my mother never saw me or had the chance to say hello - breaks my heart.

    As to the semi-open - openness should benefit the child and honestly other than the ability to reach out and possibly make contact down the road - the only thing I can see of benefit to the child in semi-open is knowing their mother cared enough to ask for updates. It doesn't provide the ability to ask the questions of why (and many others) - directly to the mother. It doesn't provide the genetic mirroring that is so valuable to some of us - it doesn't provide an understanding of why their temperment is like it is, their sense of humor, the mannerisms they do unconsiously, their interests in arts or whatever. The first picture I received in my middle age - provided me answers as to why my hands look and work the way they do, such a minor detail you may be thinking - but it wasn't. The first adult relative I saw - I knew I was related to her before I knew we were related - she walked like me, she held herself like me, I could see myself in every facet of her. Those were things mom and dad could not provide me through no fault of their own, and indeed you sound a lot like they were - not scared of opinions they may not like to hear. Honest, open, kind hearted and wanted the best for us kids, whether or not it was the best for them.

    Just make sure if the adoption does happen that you honor every commitment and be open to whatever it is the child needs and do bring up adoption at every cognitive level change - Brodzinsky defines it out in the book recommended above. Also, talk about adoption from day one so you get the uncomfortableness out of the way before the child can sense that in you.

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  8. Hello Lorraine:

    Thank you for your response.

    Firstly, let me clarify by what I mean by semi-open. We have met the birth parents several times. We intend AND WANT to have them in our lives. This includes letter/pictures/cards/visitations, etc. If the child is placed with us, the child will ALWAYS know that they were adopted. Why would we keep that a secret?

    Secondly, we are paying for legal counseling as well as social counseling for the birth parents.

    Thirdly, I call her the "Birth Mother" (I detest that title as well as a matter of fact) because I obviously am not going to use her name when I talk about her in a private letter)

    Finally, we were invited to be in the hospital by the birth parents. We were also invited into the delivery room but that is something we do not feel comfortable with because we do feel that is the birth parents time....not ours. Nonetheless, she is indeed pushing us to be there so I am not sure yet how that is going to play out.

    Your response, while in good nature, seems to have this underlying indication that we are in this for ourselves and not thinking of the other party. When in fact, we have been thinking nothing but the other party. Adoptive parents seem to come across as so selfish and cruel. In fact, I do know of some! However, we have REFUSED to have come across like that or be like that because we are NOT like that. We absolutely adore these people. Even if they didn't place their child with us, we would STILL respect and love them and feel for what they are going through.

    I disagree STRONGLY on 1 point that you made. I feel that a young girl and an older man who do not have the means to raise a child, who have nothing (no car/do not work because they simply dont want to/no education/no family) should raise a child if they choose not to. I praise her decision for not choosing abortion. By choosing adoption this will give "the mother" an opportunity to go to school, better her life. If she chose to keep the child, can she still do that? YES! It would be a much more difficult road, but it can certainly be done. And we would respect that if she chose that.

    My letter to you was purely out of....worry to the birth parents that we were coercing them. And again, I am more convinced than ever that we are not at all. We have been their rock, their support, their friends. We have been nothing but open and honest with them with an open invitation to get out whenever it is they feel they want to (as heart breaking as that has been for us to say out loud). But we've done it. And something tells me that is a TON more than what many other adoptive parents do. I am pretty proud of my wife and I.

    Thank you for your time and advice.

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  9. Adoptive father, I wish you well and the most important thing is to be honest with the expectant mother. I think Lorraine has give some good advice.

    "Poverty is not a pathetic reason to give a child up for adoption."

    Anonymous,I don't think Lorraine is judging you. I think she is just trying to say what sort of society is it that poverty is a reason for adoption rather than something to be overcome. I hope you and Coco did have people doing their best for both you and baby. I hope that you did have people doing their best to help you find help to improve your personal situation while you were pregnant or did you have to do all this on your own?

    Coco, I'm glad you have a great relationship with your child's family. I am an adoptee who has good APs. However, I am sort of relieved that my story doesn't involve my APs cutting the cord and videoing my birth and am glad there was some sort of separation between relinquishment and adoption. I think the reason I feel uncomfortable is that I wonder whether you might have started thinking of your child as the adoptive parents child while still pregnant? It is just that when that happens, one can inadvertantly be making their decision "in the best interest of the adoptive parents" rather than "the best interest of the child".

    Another thing that worries me is that there does seem to be an assumption that adoption is just a "trade up" which isn't entirely true. Even the most content of adopted children will face certain situations that are different to those that are biologically raised because of the fact that their nurture and nature will be separated. They will have to learn to either integrate both nurture and nature or else "put a veil" over those parts that they don't want to deal with. I am not saying that the aforementioned should mean one should never relinquish their child but am just saying it is a factor to take into consideration when considering one's options and weigh it up against other factors.

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  10. Get a copy of the childs OBC, write down every bit of info regarding biofamily...both sides. Their ethnicities, what they did for a living, personity types. names..maiden , actually a good family tree would be great. Probaly more but can't think of it now.

    I don't believe in paps in delivary rooms. To the poster whose medical student mother gave her away all I can say is that poor child. It sucks to be brought into the world and know you jsut a big ole inconvience to our naterul familis. that is what is interized...not the joy we brought to our adoptive famlies. The hurt comes first.

    Adp[ted ones...I kinda agree that if the child is unable to be fed our housed they need to be placed with someone who can BUT they need to maintain who they were before being placed.

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  11. Dear Hoping to Adopt:

    It sounds to me like you will have an "open" adoption with this couple and and their baby, and that is good.

    I do have a question, actually two: You say you praise her for not having an abortion; and that you are not in this for yourselves and have been "thinking only of the other party." Since you want to adopt, I do hope you are thinking somewhat about yourself, because we all need to take care of ourselves, which is advice I often give first parents who are hurt and upset by actions of the reunited children. Begin generous with your time and love will certainly give you as much as you give. I think, however, in your letter to me you were thinking about how best to treat the mother of (you hope) your child, and that is a generous and good impulse.

    Re the abortion: Unless you are adamantly opposed to all and every abortion because of a religious belief (which you have not stated), your "praise" for her is at least on the face of it, self-serving. I don't mean to jump on you for that comment--I suppose I am, or at least questioning it--but I am asking you to be truthful with her and yourself. It does sound as if the adoption will proceed, and again, I think you are taking a step in the right direction by reaching out to us here.

    By "pathetic," I mean, it is sad that this country, which prides itself on so many attributes, has a couple who are 19 and 30 but are uneducated and homeless and obviously poor with few to no prospects. That is sad. That is pathetic. And that is why they are considering adoption. Since you will have a completely open adoption, with visits, you may find that in some sense, you are adopting your child's other parents too.

    I understand about the difficulties of language to make clear who is who but do remember she is not a "birth" mother or a "first" mother until she gives birth and relinquishes her or him.

    Again, I sign off with positive feelings about you and this adoption.

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  12. In order not to put the cart before the horse, why not refer to the pregnant 19 y.o. woman as the expectant mother? After all, that is what she is.

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  13. Dear Anonymous,

    have you considered offering to take care of the baby without adoption? Just a transfer of custody? You know, letting her keep a strong legal position, avoiding that sealing and amending of birth cerificates, keeping incest prohibitions so much easier to observe?

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  14. It is great that you have come to this forum seeking answers and I think you will find it a great source of information. As an Adoptive Mom in a very open adoption I wanted to share a few things about my experience that came as a surprise to me. Hopefully they will help you as you move forward.

    1). One thing I didn't realize going into the adoption process is that I wasn't only adopting a baby, I was essentially marrying the babies parents and their extended families as well. It is a life long commitment, not a one time only event. Right now you want so badly to become this child's parents. Really take the time to consider that his/her parents/families will always be in your life. In your heart you need to be completely committed to making that relationship work. Like any family members, you won't always agree or get along. And like any other family members, you are tied together for the remainder of your lives.

    2). Take the time to really get to know the parents, their stories, their personalities, their family heritage and background, what brought them to the decision not to parent their child, . These are ALL things that you will want to share with the child as he/she grows up. This information is who your child is! It's crucial that they grow up knowing where they came from and who they were born to be. Adoption doesn't change dna.

    3). As much as you would love for the hospital experience or the placement to be a beautiful thing, prepare yourself for the most painful and heartbreaking experience you will ever be a part of. Watching someone struggle with their choice to raise their own child or give them to someone else is excruciating. However good your intentions, this moment isn't about you and your wife becoming parents. This moment is about someone else handing you their own heart and soul wrapped in a baby blanket. This moment will haunt you for the rest of your life.

    4). One thing I wasn't prepared for was the guilt I felt after placement. As much as I wanted to be that baby's mother, it was very clear to me that she HAD a mother! And who was I to be taking this baby home? This wasn't a fleeting emotion. I was haunted by it for years.

    5). Going into the adoption process I thought that we would adopt the baby, take her home like normal parents, and just live happily ever after. At first I was surprised that I thought about adoption every day. I believed it was because it was so new and eventually we would just be "normal" parents and not think every day how she became our daughter. Almost 12 years later I *still* think of it every day! Now it's just part of who I am (as well as who our daughter is).

    6). Little things! This may sound ridiculous but you might not have considered the Nature vs Nurture aspect in raising an adopted child. It won't be a 50/50 split. You will see your child's parents every day through your child. Of course he or she will look like them...but dna does a funny thing. This child will also share their mannerisms, their voices, much of their personalities, etc. It's fascinating that you are raising this child...but they will remain very much who they were born to be.

    7). Last but not least: This child's parents need to obtain his/her Original Birth Certificate immediately! It will be sealed once the adoption is finalized and you may NEVER be able to get it.

    Hopefully some of this will help you on your journey. I wish you the best of luck. Please continue to read, research, educate yourself and reach out to others who have experienced this same journey...from ALL perspectives.

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  15. @ Prospective adoptive father:

    I think you probably are doing the best you can in this situation.

    But, I would like to point out that right now that young woman is the baby's mother. Instead of referring to her on this site as a "birth mother," you could have just said mother.

    I don't think you are ill-intentioned by using that term. I know you were just trying to find a word to use. But, she is now and will always be one of the baby's mothers.

    I agree with Dpen that you should get a copy of your child's OBC before it becomes the amended OBC. For many of us adoptees, it is an important document to have in hand. Also, as suggested, you should try to get a complete family tree and learn about the family's interests, talents, etc. Pictures of his or her parents and extended family members are also so precious to many of us. Also, get a complete family medical history now and update it periodically throughout your child's life.... Do all of this soon. Don't wait. You especially cannot wait on the OBC. Once the adoption becomes finalized, it's sealed away. But, you never know what will happen with the relationship between you and your child's biological family. So, get as much information upfront as you can, and then update periodically.

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  16. I am an adoptee
    You state that you care about the expectant couple. You mention the amount of money involved.
    I wonder why you don't spend some of that money to help the 'poor parents' to get on their feet and help them keep their baby.
    That would be the best thing for the baby, to be with its parents.
    The baby should be the most important person here.
    You could still be involved as friends in the baby's life.

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  17. 2nd Mom: Well said, I was hoping you would comment.

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  18. My comments turned into a blog! http://texassearchangel.blogspot.com/

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  19. "We have been their rock, their support, their friends"

    Just a thought. It is not really best for YOU to be their support, friend, rock because it could compromise their decision. They do need other people to be doing that.

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  20. I agree that homelessness is a reason to give up a baby but I wonder why the couple has to be homeless. A family with no income qualifies for welfare (TANF), food stamps, WIC, subsidized housing, and medicaid. Of course the couple may have to waiting for subsidized housing and live in an undesirable place in the meantime. States, particularly southern states, are stingy and may make them go through a few hoops to get benefits. But government help is there.

    There's also temporary assistance from the Salvation Army and other non-profits. Relatives may be willing to take them in.

    Most couples are able to piece together benefits and keep their baby. I have to think the couple either doesn't know about these safety net programs or prefers the vagabond life, even if it means giving up their baby.

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  21. Hopeful Adoptive Dad wrote:
    "My letter to you was purely out of....worry to the birth parents that we were coercing them. And again, I am more convinced than ever that we are not at all. We have been their rock, their support, their friends. We have been nothing but open and honest with them with an open invitation to get out whenever it is they feel they want to (as heart breaking as that has been for us to say out loud)."

    This is a situation that requires an extreme amount of grace. As much as you have be-friended, bonded and empathize with this couple now, you owe it to them to be the same people AFTER the adoption. Otherwise your pre-adoption relationship COULD be considered coercive. If they can't bring themselves to go through with the adoption, you have to have the same grace in understanding and accepting that decision as they have extended to you by sharing this experience and considering you as their child's potential adoptive parents. Your pain in losing this placement will never equal the pain they will feel by following through with it. These emotions are extremely difficult to reconcile.

    Hopeful Adoptive Dad wrote:
    "Something tells me that is a TON more than what many other adoptive parents do. I am pretty proud of my wife and I."

    I'm saying this very gently. You have to search your own heart and soul to uncover your own personal grace, ethics, and compassion. It can't be compared to how someone else may or may not have handled a similar situation. It isn't about pride. You have to be able to look into this child's face every day for the rest of their life knowing that YOU did the best you could for him/her as well as his first parents. And even if your answer is "YES! I did EVERYTHING the best I could!", it will still weigh on your heart wondering, at times, if you could have handled it better. You don't get a blue ribbon for being a good and decent human being. ;)

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  22. Thank you 2nd mom for caring about your adopted child as they should be... they are who they are as a result of DNA and adoption and your right its NOT v50/50. It is where ever the child/person is at in there lives. the BEST thing for a child is to have all parents and in adotption there ARE 4...No getting around it, not trying to brainwash yourselves and the child that ther are only 2, no trying to kick it under the carpet. ITS A FACT...an adopted child/person as 4 parents no matter who or what they are. Respect that and you respect the person adopted. Its really not all that hard.

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  23. Great post, great discussion here.

    Having relinquished my son in 1970, I can't relate to open adoption. Mine was closed, slammed shut. In fact, the judge who oversaw the adoption (it was private, not through social services) made me feel as if I would be arrested if I ever tried to contact my child. I worried even when I registered with Soundex (which eventually reunited us). Since it was closed, no one meeting or knowing who the other party was, I didn't have to deal with a-parents in the delivery room or any of that. My gut reaction is that I would have been totally freaked out if they would have been there, even though I believed it was a done deal, that I could not change my mind. I can't imagine having a choice. That said, I think the potential a-parents, if they respect the mother, should stay away until after the baby is born, give her time with her child, and realize that she may change her mind, and realize if that happens it is in the best interest of the child. Ideally, children stay with their mother or at least in their biological family. Only if that can't or won't happen, should the child be put up for adoption. The industry is so lopsided these days (not like it wasn't before), seeking babies for couples who want one, instead of finding families for children who would not otherwise have one. Witness all the kids in foster care. No one wants them. They want fresh babies. And yet they think this is helping those in need. Not so much. I'll stop now because I'm getting sick to my stomach. Why is this still happening?

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  24. This prospective father seems to be sensitive enough to ask the questions that needs to be asked but what he doesn't realize is the damage that will be done to the adoptee by separating the child from his/her natural parents and "playing parent" because he takes advantage of a woman with no options. Real big, caring people. No, I seem to sense a person that really, truly wants it to work and thinks that if he finds out how to outsmart the game, he's in. How about this: has he ever gotten counseling for his infertility? What about actually helping this woman for 2 years while she cares for this child and help her on her feet and after two years if she still wants to adopt to you and your wife, do an open adoption.. one in which you set up with the mother/father having an attorney look over that actually looks out for her/his rights and is enforceable in court. Then and only then, would I believe that you have the best interests of the CHILD in mind in addition to everything mentioned in this blog post.

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  25. In 1968 as a 17 year old pregnant child that was not given a choice, this blog has made me rethink. What if I had had a choice? What if I was encourage to have my baby and raise her? Of course, my life would have been different and so would hers. I would have loved and protected her. Maybe she would have finished school? Maybe she would not have had an abortion at the age of 12? Maybe she would never have felt thrown away? Maybe she would not have felt unloved or unlovable? Maybe????

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  26. Dear Parent to Be:

    I too wish to add something and will couch this will all due respect....

    It is interesting that you are so busy patting your own selves on the back while generalizing all other adoptive parents. May I offer to you that many of us have been on this journey for considerably longer, have seen firsthand both the blessings and heartache involved in adoption and come with our own wealth of knowledge. To summarily dismiss other AP's while you laud your own "theoretical" efforst seems self serving and immature. Two of the qualities you seem to casually cast off to others.

    I believe that you have been treated very fairly on this forum and I respect that you are seeking voices from First Families. I urge you to read their comments over & again and free yourself from formulating your own rebuttal as you do. Please read all the insights: adult adoptees, First Families and Adoptive Parents as well. We may not always agree, but collectively there is much to gain when you truly take in the advice without framing it for your own purposes.

    In some ways you seem to be wanting praise from this group. So okay, good job so far. Guess what? The work continues and never stops. This is a truth for any family regardless of their origins. It is even more complicated when you add in adoption. It just is.

    We have been beyond blessed by our 2 through adoption and are fortunate to maintain open communication with both First Families. Please know it is not easy; your feelings and their own may change a thousand times as time goes by. You will be tested and the temptation to see this family in another light might be tremendous. Imagine how you might feel if one year from now this "friend and ally" (First Mother) comes to you emotionally distraught and shares with you that she has made a tremendous mistake. Ask yourself how your "semi open" adoption might look then? How will you and your wife handle that? What if one day your child asks to live with his/her First Family? Will you react in anger, fear, understanding?

    Simply put, go into this with eyes wide open and never EVER consider changing the nature of your agreement should this adoption go foward. I can tell you that both my husband are not the same people we were 7 years ago, nor are the first parents of our children. Respect that as much as things stay the same, they will change too.

    In all the important ways you are adopting not just a baby but a rich heritage, familial background and more that will be lost to them if you don't do your part to safe guard their past. That is a BIG job; every bit as important as loving and caring in the day to day of this child.

    So that is my 2 cents.

    Jenn

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  27. Denise,

    My abrother went before a judge to open his records about 25 years ago. The judge gave him "permission" to see his OWN records but was told that if he ever tried to contact his bmother he would be "thrown in jail". Hmmm..so now we adoptees are criminals for being born and adopted. He took it seriously no matter how much i told him there is no legal basis for this. Tell me he is not adopted much.

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  28. Hoping to Adopt: You sure are invested in thinking of yourself as a good person, aren't you? Unfortunately, good people do not take advantage of people who are utterly helpless, like the homeless pregnant woman whose baby you want to take. At some point you may grasp how grotesque and cruel this situation is.

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  29. Could you sit down with this expectant mother and ask her to read "The Primal Wound" and adoptee blog postings about the detrimental effects of adoption? Maybe if she understands that just because you are a great couple and would be great parents to a child, her child actually needs HER! If I was an adopted child I would respect my adoptive parents so much if I knew they did everything possible to keep me with my mother. If the mother goes into this knowing that what she is doing WILL harm her child, maybe she will make plans to get the support she needs to be a great parent. If she just doesn't WANT to parent than you sound like lovely adoptive parents. But if she can be given information to see that she is truly NEEDED by her child, maybe she will get her act together.

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  30. Barbara, your comment actually made me a little sick to my stomach. Honestly, I had to stop eating my dinner and take a sip of water. Why? Why would you suggest doing that to a first mother?

    You want these PAPs to give her a controversial book to read? And send her to angry adoptee blogs? In essence saying that she's harming her child, by doing what's best for her? What if she has NO other options? Do you want her to feel worse? How will that help anything?

    I'm a first mother who relinquished 10 years ago. If someone had given me Primal Wound to read during pregnancy and during a VERY rough time in my life, I probably would have committed suicide. I was already depressed enough about not being able to care for my child.

    And, as a first mother I can safely say (for me) that relinquishing my daughter was the ONLY option I had at the time, for a whole host of reasons. I did what I did for ME...not my child.

    Please, PAPs, NEVER, EVER, EVER suggest that a pregnant woman read the Primal Wound or angry websites. That is possibly the most damaging thing you could do.

    Yet again, adoptees think adoption is just about them. No, it's not. Sorry.

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  31. Christa wrote: I did what I did for ME...not my child."

    Your comment made me a little sick to my stomach, too. You may have made your choices for your own benefit, but your child will have to live with the consequences of your choices that s/he had no say in.

    And then to further insult adoptees with a line like "Yet again, adoptees think adoption is just about them. No, it's not. Sorry." You are a real piece of work, lady.

    I thought Barbara's comment was quite thoughtful. Given all the pro-adoption misinformation that is spewed in this country, the e-mom may have no idea that adoption can be harmful to the child or even to herself over the long haul.

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  32. If adoption isn't for adoptee's well being, who is it for? How horrible is it to suggest baby roulette is for the parent's well being, babies be damned. Wow. We are in a new age.

    Adoption was developed, I thought, so that the child's welfare could be protected.

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  33. Christa,

    I'm not interested in being combative. I'm attempting to understand what you're trying to say.

    You say that you did not have any options, but then you later stated, " I did what I did for ME...not my child."

    If you had absolutely no options other than adoption, I don't see that you made a choice to put yourself above your child.

    "Yet again, adoptees think adoption is just about them. No, it's not."
    --This was a little harsh.... Broad, sweeping statements of an entire group are rarely helpful and tend to discredit an otherwise useful argument.

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  34. Christa,
    I bet as your child ages your tune may change. It's a good thing you don't use your entire name on blog posts;I shutter to think of your poor child having to read about her mother not putting her child's needs first.
    Expectant mothers need to be informed that adoption hurts their children. The stinking truth hurts. If they know that and simply don't want to parent so be it. But if something can be done to keep mother and child together I believe it should be done.
    When I met my daughter again when she was 29 she told me she cried at night for me. I was flabbergasted. I never thought she would miss me with her new and improved married parents. How stupid was I?????

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  35. anon 6:54 asks:
    If adoption isn't for adoptee's well being, who is it for?
    ---------
    All too often is is for brokenhearted couples who after years of trying just can't conceive a child on their own. So they solicit young vulnerable women to give them her child so they can be parents. It's for those couples, not for the child. Often times with just the smallest bit of support those mothers would be excellent parents. It's a crying shame.

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  36. That 19 year old mother doesn't stand a chance in this situation. She will feel obligated to give her child to the only people who have shown her compassion and support - the people who want to adopt her baby. At 19 you are young enough to learn life skills and turn things around. Rather than her getting support to survive adoption she needs support and a chance to be a good parent. Unless she is mentally deficient, in active addiction and refusing to go into recovery or is a physical threat to her child there is no real good reason for these people to take her baby. The man who wants to adopt (do not use the word FATHER for him and do not use the words BIRTH MOTHER for her!!!!!) seems to think he is in a superior position for this child but he is not. The mother at all times should be FIRST PRIORITY for this baby. Seriously disturbed that adoption is still regarded as a first choice solution for a temporary problem. Poor young mother doesn't stand a chance....

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  37. Hoping to Adopt, have you given her a link to this site already?

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  38. @Barbara - Like you, I can look back and ask myself how could I have been so stupid?? The reality is that those of us who lost our children to adoption were young, gullible, and terribly misinformed, and most likely not stupid. We thought that by allowing our precious children to be adopted we were putting our children first and giving them an opportunity for the good life! I desperately wanted to parent and the social worker knew this. So I think that this 19 year old girl needs to be asked the following: Do you want to parent your child? If she answers yes, then the paps should work with her to get the resources she needs. If, and only if, she does NOT want to parent her child should adoption be an option.

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