' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: How to make an Open Adoption work

Friday, October 14, 2011

How to make an Open Adoption work

Linda Schellentrager is a remarkable adoptive mother I met at the Coordinators2 Symposium in September in Richmond, Virginia. Remarkable because she accepts that she’s a second mother. A second mother not in the sense that she is subordinate--she has been the fulltime mother in every sense of the word--but that she is another mother, an additional mother to the one that her son was born to.

This was not the case in 1992 when Linda and her husband, Marty, adopted  a newborn boy they named Eric. While they met Eric’s first/birth parents, sixteen-year old Laura and eighteen-year old Justin, shortly before they took Eric home, they did not have an open-adoption agreement.
Before the adoption, the parties connected through an 800 number supplied the adoption agency.(Anonymity was still the name of the game then.)  During the phone call, Laura asked if she could meet Linda and Marty. Until that time, Laura was an abstraction to the Schellentragers and they had not seriously considered openness. Linda hesitated but Marty, listening in on the conversation, shouted, “Why not?” They met Laura at a hotel and she gave Linda a coffee mug, imprinted with “New Mom,” a gesture I would guess smoothed the way for Linda to feel less threatened as it acknowledged her role in "their" son's life. At that meeting, Laura asked if she could visit after the adoption and the Schellentragers agreed. 

And so the relationship began with neither side having a playbook. Fortunately, Linda and Marty didn’t hear or ignored the adoption industry’s mantra to adoptive parents: You are the parent with the ultimate and final say over the childrearing and that this [open adoption] is not a co-parenting arrangement” (Chris Adamec, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Adoption, 1998).

Soon Justin’s parents--the baby's natural grandparents--Ned and Sharon, contacted Linda and Marty, about staying in contact with their grandson. The new adoptive parents, Linda and Marty, agreed to letters and pictures only. One day after church services as Linda was showing Eric off, passing him around to fellow parishioners, it hit her: If strangers can hold Eric, why not his own grandparents? She invited Ned and Sharon to her home, and they became members of Eric’s circle. Within a couple of years, Laura married and had a second son, Kenneth. Half-brothers Eric and Kenneth became close and saw each other often when Laura, Eric's first mom, brought Kenneth with her when she visited Eric at Linda's home or took Eric on outings with his biological family.

When Laura and her husband divorced, she and Eric's birth father Justin resumed their relationship, and he became involved in his son’s life as well. 

With no legal agreement to guide them, the parties worked things out as they went along. As is often the case in divorce, the non-custodial parties, in this case the birth family--Laura, Justin, Ned, and Sharon--became the “good time family,” indulging Eric at Chuck E. Cheese, trips to movies, fun stuff. The adoptive parents, Linda and Marty, were the unglamorous parents, distracted by their jobs and household chores, enforcing rules about homework, making the necessary decisions. While Linda noted this in her presentation, she seemed to have accepted it. The alternative--restricting Eric's visits with his biological family or limiting Eric's activities while he was with natural family--would have damaged their relationships. I think, too, that Linda recognized that Eric knew that he belonged in both families and that the families complemented each other. The parties differed on some things. Linda and Marty prohibited guns in their home; Ned and Justin enjoyed hunting and took Eric along on hunting trips. In time, however, all family members adjusted to the realities and put Eric's interests first.

There were painful moments for Linda. Once when Linda was driving home with Eric after a visit with Laura at Ned and Sharon’s home, Eric saw Laura’s car behind them. He watched his (first ) mother from the back window until she turned off towards her home. He broke into tears, sobbing that his mother left him, fearful she would not return.

At times, they were one big family--Linda, Eric's adoptive mother became a sort of big sister to Laura, Eric's birth mother. At other times, the parties regrouped into their separate spheres. When Laura and Justin finally did get married--Eric was already a teenager, they did not invite Linda and Marty to the wedding. Linda was hurt disappointed but she recognized that they wanted a small intimate wedding.

What struck me about Linda as she told her story was how she had cast her ego aside. She was not an overtly confident adoptive mother, brimming with the latest adoption buzz words, implying her superiority over the natural mother. She was unpretentious, sincere, honest.

Linda credits Adoption Network Cleveland, “a non-profit educational, support, and advocacy organization for all those touched by adoption” with helping them wend their way through the thicket. The adoption agency didn't have the experience or resources to help.

As I listened to Linda, I wondered if adoption had been necessary in the first place. Yes, Laura and Justin were young, but not irresponsible. And Justin's parents, Ned and Sharon, were there to help out. Still Eric seems to have benefited by having two sets of parents. The pictures Linda brought showed a happy, healthy, confident young man. Eric, now 19, graduated from high school with all four proud parents at the ceremony. He joined the Marine Corps and will be going to boot camp next month.

Let’s hope that more second mothers disregard the ego-boosting but false premise that open adoption should not be shared parenting. That they take the same path as Linda and Marty. Dawn Friedman, another adoptive mother who seems to “get it,” also spoke at the Symposium. Dawn described her journey to shared mothering in a recent essay.
"I … talked myself into giving Jessica a Birth Mother’s Day celebration so I could save Mother’s Day for myself. However, I did not frame my thought process this way. Instead I told myself it was a more profound way to honor Jessica’s experience and to acknowledge the uniqueness of her role as Madison’s birth mother.
“I am not proud of this now. … We were told that for the sake of our daughter, of Jessica, and of ourselves, we all needed to delineate clear roles and firm boundaries. Celebrating Birth Mother’s Day seemed like a good way to do this, and being able to keep Mother’s Day to myself, well, that was just a bonus. ….
“It was the first and only time we celebrated "Birth" Mother’s Day.
“When Madison thinks of Mother’s Day she thinks of both of her mothers. …Mother’s Day is a holiday I am honored to be able to share.” (“Mother’s Day,” The Adoption Constellation, Spring 2011).


  1. Profound.... Real women, real life, real heart. Rare, warm, hopeful.

  2. Thank you for posting this positive story. It's very hopeful. And while I agree that infant adoption should be avoided, the facts on the ground NOW are that they just aren't (and more often than not, the adoptive parents are not trying to hurt anyone -- are simply ignorant). So how does one proceed once the deed is done? This is how. E.D.

  3. A lovely story, Jane, of a courageous and wise woman. Thank you so much for sharing it. I wish there were more women out there who were willing to set aside their ego and do what is right for and by the child at the center of the adoption experience. Isn't that what we natural mothers are told to do all the time? If it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander...or something like that.

  4. They sound a lot like my parents. They didn't need ego's or pretense - reality worked just fine - we had another mother, father and family. Labels not required.

  5. Interesting. I find it curious that you posted it a few days after the post in which you say that adoptive parents make you uncomfortable and wonder if adoptive parents are uncomfortable around first parents.

    It sounds like these adoptive parents were very comfortable and that is what enabled them to put aside their egos and make this arrangement work. I wonder if anything can be done to make triad members more comfortable around each other.

  6. Nice, warm and fuzzy...I've heard several such stories. it is not that rare. BUT... no matter how warm and fuzzy, they still are all based on a falsified birth certificate. And let us not think that there is still not pain nor without confusion for a child who needs to understand why a mother who is able to maintain contact was not able to keep him...some kids in open adoptions have to deal with watching their mothers mother subsequent children and it's painful.

  7. The chance of this type of co-parenting arrangement becoming widespread seems pretty slim to me. Most people just don't have the type of emotional fortitude needed for this type of relationship. And I can see some problems for the child, too. This sounds like a divorce situation with the child having some bio-relatives, some non-bio relatives and various adults moving in and out of his life. The boy's first mother married so I'm assuming Eric had a relationship with his stepfather. Then they got divorced and I'm presuming that Eric's relationship with his stepfather ended then. Then by a fluke Laura the fmother gets back together with Eric's nfather and then he is back in Eric's life. I presume from this that Justin had abandoned Eric after his birth.

    Also, this whole arrangement only works because the 2 sets of parents and extended family must live near one another. If Laura had married and moved away it would have changed the dynamic considerably. While I commend the bio-grandparents for wanting a relationship with their grandson, I do wonder why they didn't really step up to the plate and help Laura to keep her son.

    I have to agree strongly with Mirah's comment. What many (most?) adoptees really want is to be raised by their natural mother. It would be quite hurtful to see that one's n-mother has kept children that she is raising. Also, there is the possibility of multiple adopted children in a family with each one having different amounts of contact with their first families. This could cause jealousy, sadness, pain, etc.

    I still say pox on those who encouraged the young parents to relinquish in the first place.


  8. The adoptive parents sound like sincere and honest people who really tried to make it work for everyone. I applaud them for, once the idea was presented to them, making the open adoption truly open.

    But I also wonder about why the baby had to be adopted in the first place. I found it interesting that once the baby was a fact, and the mother showed her determination to be in his life, the grandparents wanted to get involved too. Where were they earlier?

  9. Women like these are shining examples of what it means to truly place love at the center of relationships.

    The dignity and grace these women -- this mother and Dawn -- exhibit is heartening to those of us who have been on the receiving end of quite the opposite.

    Upon discovering my child had been abused by the adoptive father (whose commitment to fatherhood was pushed by my counselor as I laid in my hospital bed, post delivery), I was expected to express no pain, no sense of betrayal and no concern for my child's safety and well being.

    No equality. No humanity. Certainly no natural maternal feelings.

    That was long ago now. I hope women like those in your post become the rule rather than the exception.

  10. This isn't a comment, it's just an essay. It's written from my mother's point of view. I am the baby. We have been reunited for less than 1 year, but have broken off contact for awhile. I'm 48, mom is 68. I was born in 1962

    Ok, so I did it. The most reprehensible, horrifying thing a woman can do. I gave up my baby girl. My first born child. I drove her into Manhattan, at 5 days old and left her alone at an adoption agency. Then I went back 2 weeks later and signed the papers making her a ward of the state. My own precious baby. I let her go.

    What can I say? My husband made me do it? I could have said no at any time, but I didn’t. She was mine for 9 months, and then she wasn’t anymore. I didn’t think I was worthy to be her mother. My husband told me I wasn’t. And I believed him. I thought I was doing her a favor, exiling her from her entire family. I thought I was doing the right thing, the best thing for my baby girl.

    How could I have been so blind? How could I not understand the terrible damage I was doing to both of us? What kind of woman does that? I have to live with the fact that I am the kind of woman who does that. Yes, I had a terrible childhood, yes I was damaged, but still, how did it go so wrong? Why didn’t I try harder? I was married to the SOB, I could’ve gone after him for child support and alimony. How did I let him convince me that I was so wrong for my own child?

    I never for one minute thought that I was hurting her. I thought I was saving her from a terrible life. My god, she loved me. She loved me with all her infant heart and soul, and I rejected her. My god, what have I done. Nothing I can do will ever make up for what I did to her.

    I created another sad, damaged child, who grew into another sad damaged woman. I can’t let the pain overwhelm me, I may never recover. I have to stay strong, for the other child and grandchild I have. I was able to keep him, and he helped me heal so much. But what did my baby girl get? She was raised in a loving family, but she never felt part of them, because she wasn’t. She wanted me all her life, but it’s much too late now. She will never forgive me, I only make her feel her horrifying loss more sharply.

    How I loved that sweet baby. The soft feel of her in my arms, the way she looked into my eyes. How did I find the strength to say goodbye forever? Why was I strong enough to do that, but not strong enough to keep her.? I can’t stand her now, coming back to remind me of the darkest times in my life.

    I never thought that her whole life was loss. I thought one family was as good as another. How could I have believed such utter bullshit? I guess it was what I wanted to believe. I wished for her to come back, but she’s not my sweet baby anymore. She’s an angry bitter woman who has learned to hate. And she learned to hate me, the one who made her this way.

    There is no peace in this, and no justice. Our story is one of heartbreak and loss that can never be repaired, god help us both.

  11. Robin said, "Also, there is the possibility of multiple adopted children in a family with each one having different amounts of contact with their first families. This could cause jealousy, sadness, pain, etc."

    This is *exactly* what happened in my situation. I am the only natural parent who has maintained any contact over the past 19 years. According to my daughter's adoptive mother, whenever the family would receive a letter from me every year (which is all they had agreed to let me send), it would send the rest of the children into a tailspin because *their* first mothers weren't sending letters. From what her adoptive mother told me, their was a lot of crying and acting out by the other kids when my yearly letter arrived in the mail. Eventually, her adoptive parents cut off contact with me. This has continued on through the years, even to the extent that they have refused to give her the letter & hand made card I sent when she turned 18. (I know this to be true because her adoptive mother called me and told me they were not going to give it to her.)

    Sometimes I think they wish I would just disappear, or better yet die, so they would never have to hear from me again., just like the other first mothers (not) in their lives. It doesn't stop me from sending them letters, though. They can bear the burden of answering my daughter's questions of what they did with them through the years. That's not my responsibility.

  12. I always play devil's advocate when the topic of OA comes up. It has always struck me as being more advantageous to the first mother than to the child. OA is being held out as the new solution to adoption but I see it as another social experiment that we will not know how successful it is until large numbers of OA adoptees start speaking out.

    For any expectant mother considering adoption know that there is a distinct possibility that being adopted will cause your child great pain and trauma. Is this always the case? Absolutely not. As several adoptees have commented here regularly, they are perfectly fine with having been adopted and found it to be a positive experience in their lives. However, it is not possible to know in advance which camp your child will eventually fall into.

    For those who are offended by my less than enthusiastic endorsement of OA, please read between the lines. What most children want is to be raised by their natural mothers. You are most important, you come first and are irreplaceable.

  13. Mrs. Feverfew: My own situation was somewhat similar in that my daughter had an older adopted brother whose birth mother did not reappear in his life. Because of the special circumstances of my daughter Jane's life--epilepsy--and the resultant lack of self-esteem, the parents initially welcomed me. When I visited, he pretty much disappeared.

    But the adoptive mother never liked me, and this became more evident as the years passed, especially when my daughter had a perfect daughter, one without epilepsy, one who was pretty and blonde and smart.

    By the time she was two Jane was raising her alone, and eventually that overwhelmed her and without my knowing it, Jane's adoptive parents had the perfect granddaughter come and live with them. I saw her become ingrained with some of the adoptee markers that I've noticed, such as a desire to be good and not make a fuss when she was with them (she saved that for the summers she spent with me and my husband :).

    What happened is that as I continued to be a part of perfect granddaughter's life, as Jane continued to call me during periods of crisis (frequent in her life)...the adoptive mother became more and more unfriendly. She made it plain how much she hated when I phoned; if she happened to answer the phone she would hand the phoned to her husband so she would not have to talk to me. Jane said she couldn't bring up my name without the woman saying something nasty or walking out of the room. When Jane and her daughter visited the last time, they both spoke of how much the AM hated me.

    Did she wish me dead? She is too "Christian" to admit to that, but it sure felt that was on this end.

  14. But you see, if we are dead...they don't have to think about us.

    And think of all the adoptees who do not start a search until both of their adoptive parents are actually dead. Yes it is a horrible burden to the adoptee, which is why adoption is so delightful.

  15. "My son's amom is in the front row at church every Sunday but she is selfish to the point of hurting my child she raised. Christian? I think not!"


    My son's adopters and he himself sit in church every Sunday, claiming to be such good, loving Christians; yet have treated me and his younger brother with nothing but malice since I found him. We are unwelcome and uninvited intruders.

    My son's adopters claimed to be such good Christians, who would honor our open adoption until my son turned 18, but cut me out of the picture when he was 7, leaving me now knowing if my child was dead or alive for 11 long years. Yeah, such good 'Christians'. After I found him when he turned 18, they said not one word to me. No acknowledgement, nothing. These were people I met and spent time with before my son was born.

    There is no doubt in my mind they wish me dead, so they can continue to live in fantasy land with my child. Not having my presence on this earth would enable them to erase me even further than they already have. They have convinced (brainwashed) my child that their "god" willed his procurement for adoption so they could gain and I could suffer for the rest of my life.

    There is no god whom allows one to suffer so others can gain from that suffering. If there is, he is one convoluted supernatural being.

  16. Dear Anon: I know you want to see it the way you see it, and since you have not identified yourself we can only assume you are not a natural parent (by having given birth to the child in question) OR and adoptee. Just guessing here, so please correct me if I am wrong.

    You assume way too much, and you have not been around surrendered children--of any age--and their parents when they have a good relationship--AND THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS ARE NOT PRESENT. I had two relationships with my daughter--one more formal and distant when her adoptive parents were present, and the other quite different and much more relaxed and normal mother/daughter when they were not. My daughter would sign her cards, "Your daughter" and then say, PS, don't tell Mom I wrote it like this--as if I would. In fact, this deserves a whole new post. Thanks for writing here.

  17. Annon,

    You are transefering your own hopes and dreams on to everyone in adoption. I assume you are an adoptive parent so come only from that viewpoint. If you are an adoptee then you come from your view point only.

    What it sounds to me is that you are trying to erase any sign of biology from the "child"...whom grows up to be an indepenednt adult BTW....when apps try to do that the "child" is absorbing some very negative messages about themseves. Yes, the "mom and dad" are rasing them and that mom and dad chose to raise them as an adoptee..But you can NEVER erase biology because that who the child is physically, emotionally, medically, and yes psychologically. you can pretend to, you can pretend that biology does't matter but really who does that benifit..the aparents. If in fact you want to parent an adoptee, an adopted child you need to understand that you can't morph their biology away. If in fact you love them unconditionally you need to understand that otherwise as many adoptees will tell you(even those brought up by loving, well off aparents) its all a farse and big lie. Most of us adoptees get that at an early age..we may not adimt it, may not want to see it as it hurts horribly to know that all the parents in our lives want us to live a lie., but we know it on some level. Try to negate who we were born as, try to wipe it away so we fit better in your family, negates us to the core. Again, young children pick up on that very fast...no matter how much the mothers profess to love us.

  18. Just wanted to add that all adoptees have 2 mothers. Its a fact, its reality. the realtionships with the child and two mothers are indivual.

    also forgot to mention that as an adoptee I will decide who my mothers are. Not society, not either one of my mothers, not either family...I am quite competant to decide who i will call mom and who i won't. I will not negate either mother and i would hope both mothers would respect thechild enough to allow that.

  19. Dear Anon:

    Are you perhaps a tad sensitive?

    Are you perhaps appalled and horrified by what you read here?

    This is First Mother Forum. Many adoptees also read us and post comments. As do some adoptive parents, which we, in the absence of any identifying information, have come to assume your are. Welcome! Stay and learn.

    We write out of our experience. If you want to read more about how we feel, how many of us have been treated by adoptive parents-sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad--stay tuned and look among the back posts. Yes, I was writing about my own experience. This is my blog. This is about being a natural/birth/biological mother.

    We clearly upset your applecart of harmony that you feel towards--god only knows because you won't say anything about your own situation. Why is that? I for one do not go to adoptive parent blogs and tell they they don't know !@#$, as you certainly are trying to do here.

  20. "It is cruel to adopted people to encourage them into believing that their a-parents harbor such hatred towards their natural parents that they wish them dead, especially when it's rarely likely to be true."

    So if they don't wish us dead, which I believe many do, why do they act as if we don't exist by ignoring us, not inviting us to events (if it is SUPPOSED to be an open adoption) and treating us as unwelcome and uninvited intruders? I would suffice to say that that is quite "CRUEL" in itself.

    Adopters DO harbor hatred for natural parents out of jealousy and possessiveness of our children, that they have the fortune of coveting. That is not enough, though, and for us to not exist at all would make them happiest, so they would not have to worry about "sharing" the children they covet. Sick, selfish and greedy is what it is and I am disgusted by it.

    I am not saying this is the consensus of all adoptive parents, but I know for a fact it does for a great many; including the people who adopted my child.

  21. anon

    I totally got what you meant.

    If open adoption is done right and that means BOTH SETS of parents need to be mature and truly open for the sake of the child. If an adoptive parent sighns up for an adoption...especially an open adoption the burden of keeping it open in spite of the whose the real mommy fears then the attidues and minsets needs to be completly open. Your child will pick up on it in a second if there is any stress noted around his/her birth parents.

    We are human beings, not possesions and if you feel the need to correct and try to educate the masses on "how it really is" then i question your ability to particapte in an open adoption effectly. To truly help a child feel totally connected with themselves and not cut down the middle.

    I do agree that open adoption is not co-parenting..far to confusing for the child. I have heard about a few open adoptions where the child truly is front and center. But not many. There is so much education needed in terms of adoption reform and its not the adoptees that need it. Its the adoption agency's, adoption "professional" and general society that needs to understand what is happening...the nmothers need education in terms of what is actually happening. That they are REALLY losing their child and its NOT co-parenting. Instead of being lied to and told they can particpate in their child growing up...just so the agnecy can score a baby.

    You wonder why the nmothers are angry?

  22. Anon 4:48...

    As a chld:

    When I was with grandma she parented me, my aunt the same, uncle too, older cousins - you bet - long time family friends - they did too. None "asked" mom and dad for permission - they just parented. That's what family do. I have two families.

    Perhaps that is too simplified for some but as an adoptee - it makes perfect sense to me.

    It is the relationship you have with the child - not the title you claim. It really is that simple and if you have a good relationship that is all you need.

    Like Dpen said: The adoptee determines who someone is to them - no one else.

  23. "There is a blog that a bmother writes on. She is, by appearances, successful, independent and raising her other older children. She just didn't (it seems) want to parent again so she placed her last one. The OA isn't what she envisioned and now has sadness/regret about the whole incident."

    I'm not aware of this blog, so I've no idea what her impetus was and/or what her expectations were. I would suspect one would have to ask her. If her case is similar to many, I would suspect she was intentionally lead to believe certain things by her pregnancy counselor (and even perhaps by those hoping to adopt her child) in order to secure relinquishment. Again, one would have to ask.

    In over two decades of communication with many, many first mothers of open adoption,I can assure you that placing a child simply because one does not "want to parent again is certainly not the norm.

    I find it interesting that Anonymous began her commentary in stating that it had nothing to do with the signing of a legal document, but has since repeatedly referred to said legal document.

    There is a particular adoptive parent who has been making this same argument on birthparent blogs for years.

    "it [is not] similar to a child of divorce where the said parents still maintain custodial and legal rights to the child and has, in most cases, a parent/child relationship."

    Again, anonymous states it's not about legal rights but is again stating it is about legal rights. Which is it?

    In many cases, post divorce, one parent ceases any relating or actions that would traditionally be deemed parental.

    Again, I will refer to repeated instances with which I have more than passing familiarity.

    For example, instances where an adoptive parent abandoned all parenting duties and child support, yet his legal role of "parent" did not cease.

    Same with the above-cited instances of abuse, family abandonment, etc.

    The fact that these individuals did not sign a document falls flat when it comes to the "what makes a parent" argument.

    Per the mother anonymous has cited whom she believes simply didn't want to parent, again, neither I nor many I know who have been involved in the open adoption first-parent community for decades, have seen this as the norm.

    On the contrary. What is seen most often is overt coercion by unscrupulous counselors who are, in actuality, primarily adoption facilitators with a vested interest in the mother's relinquishment. Too often, parentally fit mothers, mothers with an expressed desire to parent, become convinced by people they trust at the most vulnerable period in their lives.

    All one has to do is look around the internet to see how mothers are lured and groomed toward relinquishment. I would imagine you, anonymous, have seen this.

    Even open adoptions that have managed to work well, it often turns out, were begun under less than ethical conditions exacted upon the pregnant mother.

    "Sociopathic" seems quite a strong word to use when a mother wonders aloud (on a birthparent forum,no less) if her child's adoptive parents wished her dead based on actions that have indeed been cruel, even eradicating, in many cases.

    Conversely, it does seem somewhat pathological for a particular adoptive parent(which I more than suspect Anonymous to be)to haunt birthparent forums for years ... for what has appeared the sole purpose of assuring them of their place, rather than simply enjoying the company of like-minded adoptive parents in the many such forums that are available.

    This began as a lovely post quoting a mother who appears to be extremely secure in her role. As such, I would imagine her children will have grown up also secure in themselves... with no feelings that they have to somehow choose between mothers or parents or whatever title Anonymous feels isn't broad enough to encompass two women who love a child more than life.

  24. I'm not even going to try to sort out all the "Anonymous" adoptive parents who are commenting on this topic. It's too damn confusing, and I need some new eyeglasses anyway.

    To the AP who stated that adoptive parents are the "physical" parents: BULLSHIT. I know that some of you live in LaLa Land, but come on...surely you know that you didn't conceive, gestate, and deliver your child, right? You do realize that the only reason you have a child in your arms is because another woman gave birth to the baby, right? Why are some AP's chomping at the bit to be in control all the time? Are you really that insecure that you stalk natural mothers' blogs and leave hateful comments? Jeez, I read adoptive parents' blogs from time to time, and I've never left any comments under an "Anonymous" screen name, even if I disagree vehemently with them.

    Death rays, lol? Pleeeease. If you don't believe that some APs wish their children's natural mothers would just die and disappear off the face of the earth, think again. I've been around the adoption community for almost 40 years, and I've heard this sentiment get thrown time and time again at women whose only crime was to reunite with the children they surrendered to adoption.

    Must hurt like a bitch to pay so much money for a baby, only to have the ungrateful little snot actually love his or her ungrateful abandoner and develop a relationship with her. Scary how much biology really does matter in the end, isn't it?

  25. I am an adoptee and I can't imagine anything more painful than an open adoption. Seeing my mother walk away from me time and time again would have destroyed me. I cannot imagine asking a child to live with that much pain. It seems to me an exquisite torture. Adoption was enough of a horror for me. i had to call my a parents mom and dad, but I always knew the truth, in my heart.

  26. "Once you (general) place a child for adoption, for someone else to raise, you cease to be the parent to the child psychological, emotionally and physically."

    Wrong. Mothers who have lost children to adoption never cease being their mothers. And being a mother IS being a parent, because mothers and fathers are parents in the same way that men and women are human beings. It's the gender-neutral term that encompasses both male and female forms. Our maternal love for our child, our connection that formed during nine months of bonding and which survives decades of separation makes us parents.

    I never ceased being my son's mother, despite 20 yrs of complete and utter separation. Upon reunion, he introduced me to others as his mother, and shortly thereafter began calling me "Mom."

    This shows that I was more than just a convenient incubator.

    If it is daily care of a child that is the sole indicator of "parenthood," then many nannies should be called "Mom."

    Another thing is -- I grew up with a half brother in the same house. My father was his step-father. My half-brother's father didn't see him for maybe 10 or more years -- no interest at all. But that never stopped him from being his father! My father was the man in the house, who was there every day, but in NO way did he ever try to claim the title of "father" to my half-brother. He was a loving step-father, yes, but there was NO genetic connection at all. In this way, raising a child does not make one the sole parent. It makes one the raising parent, yes, but putting a crown on your head and selfishly claiming the title for yourself is not justified.

  27. Another adoptee chiming in to say she considers her biological parents as "parents."

    I'll go one step further and say that I call them "Mama" and "Baba" - in their language this does, in fact, mean "Mom" and "Dad."

    Yeah, yeah, the paper legally avoided all parental rights they have to me. That is true.

    But emotionally they still feel they are my parents - as do the mom and dad who raised me.

    I know that an adoptee cannot ask their adoptive mom and dad to stop emotionally caring about them... so why are biological parents expected to?

  28. 'Must hurt like a bitch to pay so much money for a baby, only to have the ungrateful little snot actually love his or her ungrateful abandoner and develop a relationship with her. Scary how much biology really does matter in the end, isn't it?'

    Thank you. Ain't that the truth...

    'Anonymous mother'

  29. Anon III aka Morning SongOctober 17, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Anonymous 4:48 pm said: "To me, I can't help but wonder "what did she expect?” Did she see OA as an alternative form of parenting or different kind of parental sharing with the aparents doing all the work?"

    Really? Wow.

    Again, I've seen a particular adoptive parent make this "all the work" argument for years on birthparent blogs, typically coupled with the "you signed a paper" and "I'm the real parent" argument.

    I have been both a 24/7 parent (anonymous 4:48 so dubs) and a parent separated from my child via adoption (first open one, then closed -- both less than ethically secured).

    I do not understand this view of parenting as "all the work." What work? Diaper changing? Caring for them when they are sick? Late nights with croup? Conversing with them about sex? Grounding them when they make poor choices? Staying up late with homework? Teaching them to manage money or cook? This is not work but a privilege for which I am utterly grateful.

    What I would have given to do this "work" for the child I lost/relinquished -- or whatever anonymous would like to call it.

    Having been a mother in both ways, I can assure you the second is much more difficult. It is far more "work" to negotiate the terms of a non-legally enforceable open adoption in order to maintain that "guaranteed" contact. Far more draining "work" to ceaselessly wonder if one's child is safe, okay, healthy when those updates stop coming. Far more "work" to negotiate parameters that are left only for adoptive parents to establish once said "paperwork" is signed... all to simply look upon our children's faces for an hour here or there, to send them a birthday card, to tell them we love them.

    I think most of us would consider changing our children's diapers, helping with their homework, nursing them through a fever, and otherwise carrying out said "work" to be a kind of decadent bliss.

    p.s. - Below is just too redundant, given what's been articulated in response, and silly to address. Get over the whole "parent" title thing already.

    "It seems unreasonable to think if one places their child for adoption in an OA, that they will still have the parent/child relationship, be considered the “other parent” in triad, and be treated as such. It’s not logical or realistic."

  30. Morning Song said:
    Again, I've seen a particular adoptive parent make this "all the work" argument for years on birthparent blogs, typically coupled with the "you signed a paper" and "I'm the real parent" argument.

    LOL! That's EXACTLY (re bold) what my daughter's amother said to me in her letter to me, when I first made contact with my daughter when my dd was 37 years old!!! I signed that paper and no right to contact her - WHAT??!!! And unfortunately, my daughter doesn't want contact with me "at this time". Of course, my adoption took place in the BSE era ('69), where the aparents were told that NO contact or searching would happen...

  31. All the work? Strange I always considered "labor" as synonymous with work.

  32. I admit that I am with Robin and Autumn in being on the nervous side about open adoption. It seems good in theory, but there is so much room for hurt.

    I have had to stop reading many blogs of first parents in open adoptions because when they describe visits or discussions with their young, placed kids I hear things that suggest notes of pain on the parts of the adoptees. These are kids, though, and their feelings are filtered through their first parents' own feelings, which are, of course, less than neutral. I often cry, or get angry if I read too much. It became way too triggering, especially in cases when the kids are the same age, or younger, than my own children. I remember being that young adoptee. It's soul wrenching. Yes, adoption is hard on first parents, but being torn *between* two families is something else entirely. Or feeling like you belong NOWHERE, more exactly, is excruciating. You ask yourself, "Who is going to deny me, now?"

    It would have been beyond painful for me to watch my parents, especially parents married to each other with full siblings in tow, leave me again and again. All the love of my wonderful aparents couldn't make up for that type of repetitive wounding. I just don't know practice versus theory.

    I don't like the closed system at all, but open adoptions can also be very painful for adoptees. I guess it sucks all around, and you try to find the least painful of the painful choices?

  33. anonymous,

    The lack of money and immaturity are the biggest reasons children lose their biofamilies. I think they "did It" Gave up their chidlren because SOME felt they had no choice, I beleive that is real, much more real then the dishonest dialogue that permemates the whole "Give your child a better life" crap.

    There is no question that there are times that adoption(not iin its present form) is needed....but theree were and are so many times it was unnessary.

    My question to you.....why are you so insecure in your mothering that you need to come to this blog and try to condescend to these mothers. If you were so very secure and just new you were right why are you trying to put these woman in their places and negate what adult adoptees are telling you? Do you think that they are lying about what happended to them? Or maybe not seeing it in the correct adoption postive way...adoption positive for the apaps that is. Do you really believe that its ok for an infant to lose their nmother and all bio connections because someone else needs a baby?

  34. I personally don't think it is worth engaging this clueless lawyer any more. Dpen, you assume this person is an adopter mother--did I miss when he/she stated that? I recall he/she has simply ignored our asking but he/she sure likes to engage. And calls us bmoms and our children, bchildren.

    And convince us we are wrong.

  35. EW. I missed the "bkid" reference. I am just an adoptee and my mother's daughter. I have two mothers, by the way. I usually call my first mother by her first name when speaking to her because that's what we agreed on; we started speaking when I was 41 and she was 63, so it seems reasonable. BUt she isn't against me calling her my mother; she is.

  36. 'Must hurt like a bitch to pay so much money for a baby, only to have the ungrateful little snot actually love his or her ungrateful abandoner and develop a relationship with her. Scary how much biology really does matter in the end, isn't it?'

    Although it may be tempting to fire such a statement at an AP who you think is dismissing you, please think very, very carefully before writing this.

    More than one natural mother has embraced this type of statement as a salve when faced with an unfairly closed open adoption. She waits until her child is 18, expecting a happy reunion where her child will realize that his natural mother shares more with him than his APs.
    And that may be true for some natural mothers and adoptees, perhaps more so for adoptees who are inclined to follow First Mother Forum.

    In the majority of cases, however, reunions are tense and stressful, as have been described here in a number of posts here at First Mother Forum. Also, in most cases, reunion somehow strengthens the bond between the adoptee and the APs (I don't know why, but many, many natural moms have confirmed this principle).

    We all know about the cases where natural moms "adopt back" their adopted children, but those are few and far between. They are not the norm.

    Biology is important. But representing biology as superior to the years of rearing and memories that an adoptee shares with her APs can give as-yet unreunited natural moms false hope.

    Another Anonymous Mother

  37. My son's afather told me how sad it would have been if "she" (meaning me) were dead. He said it quite cheerily. My first thought, not spoken, was I am not going to die to make your life easier. I believe it would have been a dream come true for both aparents if I had been dead. So convenient for them. Then they could have pretended they cared.

  38. I agree with Lorraine that this individual is not worth engaging.

    (I think I know who it is. Likely the same adoptive parent who has been hijacking birthparent forums for years. Issuing the same tired arguments. It surpasses ignorance and enters the realm of pathology.)

    Not only does she tend to deny the lack of financial resources and support, she also denies coercive counseling.

    And, yes, if anonymous 6:04 were secure, she would not find it necessary to haunt birthparent forums for the sole purpose of attempting to define their collective reality.

    Don't worry, Lorraine, I don't think this individual is convincing anyone.

  39. Another Anonymous Mother at 9:41 PM said,

    "Although it may be tempting to fire such a statement at an AP who you think is dismissing you, please think very, very carefully before writing this."

    "Biology is important. But representing biology as superior to the years of rearing and memories that an adoptee shares with her APs can give as-yet unreunited natural moms false hope."

    I would hope that natural mothers who have not reunited with their grown kids yet would have more common sense than to let the words of another natural mom affect them to the degree that they harbor false hopes. I would also hope that most people are able to recognize sarcasm when they read it.

    I am not about to self-censor my own words on the basis of how another person may or may not interpret them. I do enough of that diplomatic crap on a daily basis on other public forums and bulletin boards where I interact with adoptive parents, most of whom are fairly decent people.

    I'm fairly positive that I've previously interacted on a regular basis with this particular "Anonymous" poster, the person I aimed my retort at. People can hide behind their "Anonymous" labels...but you can't hide your writing style from a lifelong editor. I've been reading her stuff for a long time, and she makes the same grammatical errors and spelling mistakes on most of her posts. She uses the same words to describe natural moms and our children as she does on this site. For what it's worth, editors make fantastic troll catchers. I can always smell them coming from a mile away...

    Frankly, I'm getting fed up to here with all the bullshit lately. I'm sick of AP's who want to cause natural mothers unneccessary grief. They need to get a life instead of posting under "Anonymous" and then laughing their butts off at our reactions. Actually, I always wonder how they're able to spend so much time stalking our blogs when they have young children at home. Do they just park the kids in front of the TV for hours while they spend hours on end in cyberspace??

    P.S. I never said that biology was superior. I said that it really does matter at the end of the day...and I stick by that statement. When I first reunited with my then 18-year-old son, he told me it was the very first time in his entire life that he felt he belonged somewhere. He saw himself mirrored by all the members of his family of origin, not just me. He was a natural fit, and it was important for him to discover all the traits and appearances, likes and dislikes, etc. that we all share in my family. Those things were genetically hardwired into him, i.e., biology matters.

  40. Anonymous adopter or whomever said:

    "In regards to the bond between adoptees and bparents? Yes, some do exist but if it was so great, then reunions would not be a train wreck and end up not working out in some cases."

    If if it was NOT so great, you would not be stalking this forum, trying to put us natural mothers in 'our place', regulating us to birthing machines who mean nothing to OUR children, whom we brought into this world. Why do you do this? Because you are insecure, jealous and possessive of the child you know is not really yours. Your not fooling anyone...

    Here is another gem from either the same anonymous adopter or one of their cohorts:

    "Biology is important. But representing biology as superior to the years of rearing and memories that an adoptee shares with her APs can give as-yet unreunited natural moms false hope."

    But you sure love to come to a natural mother forum and gloat that your 'years of rearing and memories' are superior? Those years of rearing and memories were supposed to be ours, in case you forgot. Being raped of your child with lies and false promises is not 'superior' to anything. I know one thing, if it were not for ME and all the other mothers who post here, there would have been no children for you to covet, then come here to gloat about your 'rearing and memories'. Moreover, they were, in many cases, SUPPOSED to be shared with the natural mother and her family if an open adoption agreement was arranged.

    You have some nerve.

    Yeah, you wouldn't want to give anyone 'false hope'... because so many adopters are going to make damn well sure that they sabotage any chance at a good relationship forming between a mother and HER child because of their jealousy, insecurity and possessiveness of a child that is and has always been someone else's...

    Anonymous NATURAL mother to my child, so get over it and yourself.

  41. Good catch, Raven.

    I'm also an editor and, yes, this individual has employed the same arguments, the same syntax, the same tactics on birthparent forums for years.

    She is often passive-aggressive at the start and, failing to make her points that way, becomes increasingly hostile.

    When called on it, she then begins commenting (sometimes in a good cop/bad cop way) under various other "anonymous" identities, including those of first parents and adoptees.

    She clearly gets some kind of sick, twisted thrill out of it, as she has been doing it for many years.

    I hope that some of the bloggers will pass around her IP addresses. (In the past, she has employed more than one) to keep their forums safe from this kind of pathology.

  42. Folks: I have actually been trying to figure out his/her IP address but with blogger is it hard to pin down. If anyone has it, please send it to me either through comments or FB and I will compare it to what I have and see if we can "out" this "un"educated jerk.

  43. I agree with Robin completely about open adoption having a benefit for the first mother, but struggle to see the benefit for the adoptee. While I applaud the openness of the mother described in the post, I do not see open adoption as any easier on the adoptee.

    I also disagree about the amother who "gets it" Nope. She doesn't. I mean maybe she gets it from a first mother's point of view, but not an adoptee. She wouldn't behave the way she does if she did. I really don't think it is possible to "get" the forces that are at work on us, the special kind of stigma, the just plain abandonment feelings. While some adoptees report that they sail through all of these variety of difficulties, I have yet to see it with my own eyes.

    Being able to understand something or "get" something includes a mastery over the topic. It is a way of controlling it. It is satisfying a greed. I know a lot of you won't "get" that, but that is okay.

    There are lots of things I don't get to understand, the nature of life, the nature of the right action, what it is really like to give your own baby away, what it is like to be infertile. What it is like to be a little beetle and crawl around doing beetle things.

    Reunion is very much like opening an adoption. I have found it excruciating. I am not saying it is worse than non-reunion, I am just not seeing a non-excruciating outcome for the adoptee. Which just because I am not seeing it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but the risk involved for the child's psyche is just monumental.

    I wonder why so many people insist on "getting it" why can't people be more respectful of other's experiences and simply have the decency to believe them? I guess that is a question for the ages.


  44. Dear Unknown Address in North America 98.246.159.# (Unknown Organization)

    You're all upset because we called you a jerk? Or Raven called you out?

    Yes, you have made us angry with your insistence that we are full of baloney, that we ought not to think about our children in the way we do, that open adoption is painful for everyone because adoption is painful, and yet you have found great and malicious pleasure in coming back again and again to talk about our bkids and such.

    If this wasn't done to hurt and attack, then what was your point in returning day after day? Of course, you made us angry. But are you used to being so vituperative and negative to the mothers of your two akids? We can only assume so because there was no point in coming here to FIRST MOTHER FORUM otherwise.

  45. Your troll also does this, over and over, when discovered: Cites that everyone on the forum is somehow wrong for not heeding her, not open to her oh-so-respectful dialog (which typically amounts to the same monologue over and over).

    Then she states she's leaving and will never come back ... but she always comes back.

    She will find another IP to employ (via third-party IP disguise servers).

    She will pretend to be an adoptee or a first parent. It's gone on for years and isn't going to stop now.

    It's sick.

  46. Anonymous: IO haven;'t received anything from you at FB>


  47. Yes, the IP is indeed one of the fitting ones. (More than one are employed.)

    Typically, when she is discovered, she departs (usually with a somewhat more benevolent tone than she engaged in while still anonymous.)

    Usually, departure includes similar versions of "sad" and "bitter" and "hope you find peace." Which, of course, amounts to classic projection.

    She has lied here about several things including her identity, the state of her open adoptions, and relationship with her child's first parents.

    Her behavior is extremely duplicitous and, as it has gone on for years, obsessive and chilling.

    She seems to thrive (though not healthfully) on it.

  48. Anonymous at 12:59 PM said:

    "The people using foul language and saying "they are so fed up with adoptive parents" are the same ones on other sites acting like they are "friends" with adoptive parents."

    Yes, I AM a member of the site you're talking about, and yes, I AM friends with many of the adoptive parents there. I've never hidden that fact from anyone, even though I've taken quite a bit heat for it within reform circles. Most of the APs there are decent and compassionate women, people who don't go around intentionally antagonizing natural mothers like you and your cohorts in that little clique of yours do. Every time the moderators or administrators rein you and your friends in and tell you to stop antagonizing birth/first mothers, you inevitably show up here. A previous poster was right -- the only explanation for your continual haranguing of us that makes any sense at all is that you suffer from some type of pathological problem.

    When I said I was fed up with adoptive parents and trolls, I was referring to you and your friends who come to this blog with the intention of causing us further grief. I wasn't referring to APs in general. Most AP's I've come to know over the years are good people who don't have some pathological agenda against natural moms.

  49. Dear Anonymous, whoever you are, wherever you are, how many of you there are, god only knows:

    If this were a site handled by another hosting service you would have to leave your email address, though it would not be posted. I would actually switch the blog if it were not so well established here.

    I am not bitter about my life, or what happened when I relinquished my daughter. It is what it is. But it is interesting as soon as many--but not all--adoptive parents come here and read of our experiences, they call us "bitter." That makes us loony and "bitter," and so we do not have to be taken seriously...because we are bitter and angry.

    Please note that NO ONE in the original post suggested that open adoptions mean that the biological parents are making parenting decisions such as what time the kid goes to bed or where he goes to school, which is how at least a few of the adopters, yourself included, came to interpret the post about two women who have done the best they can with their open adoptions.

    Why, we ask, are you so defensive and angry about that? and them? Why was it necessary to come here and attack the first mothers here, some of whom have shared horrendous stories about what was to have been an open adoption? Why are you so self-righteous about your position as an adopter?

    Is it because society has always been approving of you and your attitudes that you feel no one has the right to call you out and criticize? Why, in fact, are you so bitter and incensed about this story of open adoption that you felt had had to comment, only to antagonize?

    Inquiring minds here would like to know why you felt it necessary to come here and argue with birth mothers in the first place. It could only be to "put us on our place," or "set us straight."

    Why do you dislike the (birth) mothers who gave you children so very much? You may think you like them, you may think that you treat them well, but your superior, condescending attitude says it all.

    You are bitter they are the child's real mother in a way you can never be. We know we can never be the kind of mother than you are, and we accept that. You cannot accept us. You are too bitter.

  50. "It is just sad to me that you think positive adoptions stories are rare and that most adoptive parents are evil. I can't imagine if all adoptive parents thought all birth parents were evil and how sad that would be if there was a forum were that was the main topic. "

    Right. Because "birth" parents aren't like you.

  51. "Raven I'm so sad to hear that your son wants NOTHING to do with you. The way I look at is who needs a uterus when when I have a visa! I can just buy the baby I want just like your son's parents bought him. Now your all alone with Internet friends. I'm not alone though. I have something you will never have. I'm raising my child. Your nothing but a breeder who is all used up. Your worth nothing to us now since you can't have anymore children."

    But Raven has principles and honor, something you will never have.

  52. Apparently First Mother Forum has been the talk of the blog at adoption.com and some of the Adopters Anonymous have come her because we upset them.

  53. "Apparently First Mother Forum has been the talk of the blog at adoption.com and some of the Adopters Anonymous have come her because we upset them."

    Awww... we can't have that, now can we. They get to make off with someone else's child but, that is just not enough. They have to control the world as they see it, even us pesky 'birth mothers' who they want so desperately to keep in their "place"...

    The gall of these people.

    I never, ever go to adoptive parent forums and denounce what they say. First off all because I can't stomach them; but more importantly because their experience is not my experience. What would I need to stalk their blogs and forums for, or WHY would I? And if I had the audacity to? I would be slammed and ripped to shreds, because by god they are entitled to those children they purchased and no one, but no one will tell them otherwise!

    Too damn bad if they are 'upset' about what is posted here. We lost our children and it has had a devastating impact on most of our lives. I can certainly speak for myself in saying that. Have they no empathy or compassion for the losses that we have endured? Most of us thought we were doing the right thing; when in fact it was the WORST thing we could have ever done.

    Did we lose a blouse, a pair of shoes or a piece of furniture? No. These are our flesh and blood children that we missed out on and in speaking of Open Adoption, it wasn't supposed to be that way for many of us. These are our infants, that we carried inside of our bodies. How can they be so callous to think that losing that part of yourself is so easy? So carefree? So easy just to forget and 'move on'? We are just supposed to accept that our loss made them happy; made them parents while we ached for our children? We are just supposed to walk away and say nothing for the rest of our lives with our tails between our legs? If they don't like what is said here they can run back to your pro adoption propaganda site and gab away... no one is stopping them.

    The need for adopters to attempt control everything is so evident in the display of ignorance we had here, on this very post and so many others. It is really disgusting and it sickens me.

    I am the natural mother to my child and I am no longer allowing myself to be oppressed. Oh well if that 'upsets' ya, oh mighty adopters...

    Anonymous natural mother

  54. I'm not sure about the situation at a.com. Never go there. Was banned years ago for saying some adoptions were less than ethically secured. (Can't tell you how many first moms I've met over the years who were banned from a.com in what amounted to blatant censorship, btw.)

    This (and very rarely two other first parent blogs)are, at this point in my life, basically the only adoption-related sites I ever view ... typically when something pertaining to OA comes up in Google Reader.

    I have neither the desire nor the interest to hunt down other triad members to define their reality. I think most here feel the same. Doing so, I believe, would be indicative of less-than-rational/sane/credible motivation.

    A couple of observations:

    If one follows the comment thread, it's evident that the de-evolution of discourse here was begun (intentionally) by the particular adoptive parent who arrived not to listen/observe "how first parents feel" but to simply tell them that they are wrong.

    Again, this tactic is typical given the poster/s some of us suspect.

    I think your troll would be here without any hoopla at a.com because this individual (& company) is typically triggered by articles or posts about open adoption wherein adoptive parents treat first/birth parents with equality, dignity and respect or wherein a first parent is granted some manner of legal rights. (i.e. granted visitation after an open adoption was closed).

    Because there are so few first parent venues, I would guess that some birth/first parents who come here may be grieving in the wake of a closed adoption, may be feeling vulnerable, may be simply looking for a place to connect. If that's the case, I hope you will disregard trolls of this ilk and consider the level of insecurity that drives such behavior.

    Your feelings, your experiences, are valid.

    Perhaps I continue to be naive, but I believe a day will come (so long as OA exists, which is, itself, certainly not a flawless institution) when they will function more like the one in the original post.

  55. I think that some of the comments have been moderated because I can't find the offensive ones. So yay.

    I'm an adult adoptee. I come here to read about the other side of things. I want to learn about first mothers in an attempt to understand my own a little bit better. And some of the posts here are informative and engaging.

    However, I wouldn't come here to attack first mothers. This is THEIR space. Just like I would hope they would be respectful on my blog in my space. We may never see things exactly the same way, but I'm not going to change that by posting annon comments here (LOL).

    As for the OP, I don't know how I would have felt if my adoption had been open. I suppose it's just another "What if" and another possibly personality for me. All I know is that reunion is one of the best things I ever could have done. So I'm thankful to have had that chance.

  56. "Raven I'm so sad to hear that your son wants NOTHING to do with you. The way I look at is who needs a uterus when when I have a visa! I can just buy the baby I want just like your son's parents bought him. Now your all alone with Internet friends. I'm not alone though. I have something you will never have. I'm raising my child. Your nothing but a breeder who is all used up. Your worth nothing to us now since you can't have anymore children."

    Is this for real? The only reason I paste this is because people think this sort of thing is not still vomited our way. What is really sad is that this is more honest that some of the passive-aggressive-veneered comments via this pack of immature bullies.

    What a sick, pathetic, miserable life this and (and the other bullies) must have.

    One wonders what they do when they log off the computer. Torture small animals, maybe.

    One thing this sick, sick nutjob can't buy: a soul.

  57. Hello! I have just found your blog. I appreciate that there is a very 'real' and honest forum of discussion for the most overlooked component of the adoption triad: first mothers.

    I navigate my role as an adoptive mother with great difficulty. There just isn't much support or encouragement for 'open' adoption. I mean a real, honest-to-goodness, open adoption, not the pseudo-open farce that amounts to my "legal" (though not enforceable?!) obligation of a yearly update.

    As an adoptive mother, I am apparently supposed to be scared and fearful of the parents that placed their daughter for adoption, the daughter that I later adopted. Any mention of visits with them causes many people to raise their eyebrows and ask me if I am worried that they will want her back. Seriously?! What they cannot fathom is that I truly *love* these two people, and I worry that they get shafted by society, and completely minimized and marginalized in their roles as the "birth parents." What worries me the most are the comments that people make, sometimes within earshot of my daughter, about how 'lucky' she is that I adopted her. I never want her to think that she is expected to feel 'lucky,' or any other kind of misplaced gratitude towards me. I only want her to know that she is loved, and very much wanted. My heart would break if she ever came to believe that she was at all rejected.

    Adoption is no secret whatsoever in our family. However, my daughter has yet to really grasp the meaning. I am always looking for opportunities to explain and answer in ways that she can relate to. With the help of a great therapist, I am learning what questions and conversations that I can have with her first parents, in order to give her the most honest answers, that also honor her other parents.

    My question for any of you first parents is: What would you have liked your child/ren to be told about you?

  58. Great question, Debra.

    I will do a blog on this in the future.



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