The adoptive mother writes that at the onset of the adoption, the first mother was out of the picture even though there was an open-adoption agreement. A few years ago she phoned, saying she had changed her life, and "wanted to re-establish contact with 'her' son." Phone calls led to visits, led to overnights, and apparently eventually the teenager wanted to go on vacation with her last summer. Whether or not he went is not included in the column. The teens grades have taken a nose-dive, he's become difficult to live with and now, the column question is framed: "He’s told us he doesn’t want to live with us anymore. I think he believes there will be no rules with her and he’ll be able to eat ice cream all day long, figuratively speaking. What should we do?"
|Lorraine and daughter Jane, who is 16 here,|
on our front steps.
He goes on to rail against modern society, judges who sometimes fail to understand the emotional investment parents have put into adoption and says that their son doesn't know what is best for himself, and neither does his birth mother either. "If she did, she wouldn’t be engineering this from behind the curtain. Of the players, only the two of you truly know him and have his best interests in mind." He advises the adoptive parents to get a good family lawyer, adding that their son is "captive to his feelings." Rosemond ends with: "That's not a good thing at any age."
Rosemond sounds like he would have been a good Nazi, not "captive to his feelings" at any point. One could go off in a fugue about how the man must live his own life, but I'll leave that there.
I am going to start off by saying that adoptive parents facing this situation must be gobsmacked and extremely hurt and upset, and all that is understandable. No one prepared them for this. When they signed an open adoption agreement, they never imagined it would lead to this. For the sake of levity here, let's assume that they were generally good parents, and had hoped to have a long and loving relationship with their son.
|Still great insight here|
However none of this apparently reaches more than a very small percentage of adoptive parents. For some, it is as if none of the noise that we first mothers and adoptees have been making over the last half century has reached the greater adoptive world. When I meet adoptive parents who deal with adoption as it is for the child, or hear from parents like our commentator Tiffany, or 2nd Mom, or Jay Iyer, or the adoptive mother I met at the kinship conference I attended last fall, or the head librarian in my village, I want to applaud. I know they are rare.
Those of you who have read my memoir, Hole In My Heart, know that after I found my daughter at 15--close to the age being written about here--she began spending whole summers with us, with her parents's blessing. Later her daughter did the same, starting when she was seven. In her twenties, my daughter lived with us briefly and went to a nearby community college. Our relationship was often rocky, but so was mine with my mother, and I wasn't adopted. My daughter and I continued on until she died, 26 years after we were reunited. Her absences would be countered by periods of warmth and closeness. Her adoptive parents dealt with our situation as it was for years with feeling and understanding (yes, there were difficult moments), the opposite of what Rosemond suggests these people do. My daughter's adoptive parents understood that our daughter--that is what her other mother referred to her as--had two sets of parents, and it was good for her to know both.
We don't know how this particular situation will turn out, nor do I know how common it is. But I do know that Rosemond's cold as ice answer of opposition to open adoptions, and to this particular teenage boy, is unthinking and unfeeling about the person who is the adopted one.--lorraine
Thanks to Cindy for alerting us to John Rosemond's column. Though it says somewhere that he is "the nation’s leading parenting expert and provides common-sense advice for raising your children," we fear for our future if that is true.
John Rosemond: Teen spurns adoptive parents for birth mother
The title alone ought to turn off some prospective adoptive parents.
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