Published 5/11/15 on adoption.com Choosing to place your child for adoption is an enormous decision that you surely won’t take lightly. Are you considering making an adoption plan? If you are, these ten tips will help you select the right adoption agency for you. Having a good agency to work with will help your journey go a lot smoother. Emotional support as well as help along the way and in the future is a vital part of the process. Are you considering making an adoption plan?
Published May 5, 2015 Adoption.com
“The Battle of Puebla, Mexico in 1862. The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, The 5th Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862.” (Mexonline.com)
Learning the history of Cinco de Mayo is important so misconceptions aren’t passed along to the next generation. Did you already know what the Cinco de Mayo holiday was or did you just enjoy tacos and margaritas with friends each year? If your child is adopted from Mexico or of Mexican descent, learning the true meaning of the holiday can help them have pride in their heritage. Encourage your entire family to celebrate your child’s heritage and embrace the culture.
It was an unusually warm January day in 2013. The expectant mother and I had grown quite close in the short time we had known each other. She had a bad case of bronchitis. As a result, she was not getting much sleep and growing dehydrated. Her amniotic fluid was decreasing, so we were going to the hospital every few days for a non-stress test and fluid check. We had our overnight bags packed, anticipating that one of these visits would result in the big day coming a few weeks early. That day was The Day. We called our spouses so they could meet us there. Things were about to get moving. Good thing she and I grabbed lunch on our way!
“Gotcha Day” can come with many emotions for people on all sides of the triad. From the term “gotcha” symbolizing an object to be gotten or the way you say “gotcha” when you scare or trick someone, to just not wanting to celebrate something that could have been emotionally devastating for others in the triad. Click here to see why our family doesn’t celebrate Gotcha Day on adoption.com.
Before starting the adoption process, did you have any idea that some people were negative toward adoption and assume all adoptions are unethical? I didn’t have a clue. I was in for an awakening when the more I tried to learn and advocate, it seemed the more flack I caught from the protesters. At first it really bothered me, now it inspires me to keep going forward in my journey. It is still hard to not take their comments, especially when directed at me, personal.
Yesterday on Twitter someone tagged me in two posts. The first one they said I was a baby snatcher or something along those lines and the second post, they said I lied to our son’s first mother about open adoptions not being legally enforceable and said I SHOULD feel guilt (referencing my recent blog entry). Obviously, this person was just trying to strike a nerve with me and has no clue what actually goes on in my adoption triad.
What things like this have you seen or been under attack for? How can we prepare ourselves for this and how can we respond in a positive manner that shows we are not baby hungry vultures?
These are questions I asked my online adoption forum. The forum I moderate is composed of men and women across the globe that are either adoptive parents or hopeful adoptive parents. They represent people from many types of adoption and are in different stages of their adoption process. It is nice to get a variety of views and come together for insight and solutions. It is also just a great place to know that we can talk freely and not be judged for asking questions and wanting to learn more.
Examples of how people have been attacked for their role in adoption were then brought up. One such example is that we should take the money we have saved for adoption and give it to the expecting mother in order to keep the family intact. This is unrealistic. Good in theory, but if a baby only needed a little money and the rest is history, I am sure far less women would consider adoption. The $15,000 we paid in adoption fees would not last long. Surely not 18+ years to raise that child.
The people who speak out against adoption may come across poorly. They may be hurt and angry. And although they are offensive, we can still learn from these people. Wading through the bitter words and attacks on our humanity can be difficult. Setting our ego aside and listening to the injustice they have faced in their adoption story can help us reform adoption. Do I think abolishing adoption is the answer? No. And not just because I benefited from infant adoption myself. But, because things aren’t black and white. The downside of learning from these nay sayers, is whenever I have tried to reach out to them for clarity and have a sensible conversation with them, their repeated attacks to my family are so harsh, that I give up. I have so many times told them that more people would listen if they approached the subject with more respect, instead of scare tactics. They go for the shock value in their message instead of reasoning and solutions to the problems.
So while I choose to not engage them if they are not willing to have a healthy and productive conversation, I will not dismiss their concerns either as just angry rants from bitter people. We can continue our education and fight for preservation of first families as well as rights for birth fathers, access to original birth certificates, open adoption and more.
Adoptions come with complex emotions. One of those emotions that most birth parents and many adoptive feel is guilt. I think it is completely understandable (yet unnecessary) for a birth parent to feel guilt. They may feel guilty for making the adoption plan, for not being in a better place in their life, to wanting more for their child and themselves. But, at the same time, it is my hope that they also see the all the positives of why they are making that choice. It can come as a surprise when people outside of adoption learn that adoptive parents may also suffer from feelings of guilt.
Guilt is a loaded word. The definition of guilt to many people is that you have done something “wrong”. However, I think these people are just looking at the word guilt differently. While some may use the term “guilty” to describe the feelings they have for feeling joy with their adopted child, other words could easily be used in its place. Empathy, Compassion, Appreciation, Affinity, Pity, Sympathy, etc. It really is about the person feeling the emotion and to what degree they perceive the situation. Some people just tend to beat themselves up more than others. Some people rely on the good in a situation to thrive or survive through it. (Some people just lack understanding and feel entitled. Let’s hope none of my readers are of that variety.)
When we were in the process of adopting, I went through a variety of emotions. Guilt was one of them. Guilt came in many forms: Guilt that I couldn’t provide my husband with a biological child (or that I wasn’t sure I even wanted to). Guilt that I wanted to adopt a newborn. Guilt that I questioned my ability to parent outside my race. Guilt that I was going to “sell” myself as someone with more resources for parenting a child, to an expecting mother. Guilt that I would get to be called “mommy” by a child she loved so much. Guilt that I would experience all the firsts. Guilt that I would never understand how tough her decision was. Guilt that I may not be a perfect parent either.
While Ezra’s birth mother is an incredibly strong woman, I know this hasn’t been easy for her. She seems at peace and very proud of Ezra as well as her decision, but still, I am sure there are times that she wishes she could have parented him instead of placing him for adoption. Ezra’s birth father has always shown more emotion when it comes to the struggles he faces with adoption. He has always been extremely kind to us and never showed us any resentment. He is always smiling when we are together and he is very affectionate toward Ezra. These things just show me how much he cares. Watching the yearning in his eyes gives me guilt. It gives me guilt to know that we have the ability to give “more” and because of that we were chosen to parent their child. It is very normal to celebrate success, but when it contributes to someone else’s pain it is more guilt producing.
Guilt in adoption hopefully fades with time as the open adoption relationship blossoms into a healthy, loving extension of your family. Understanding that these people chose you to parent their perfect little creation is something you should not feel guilt over. But just because it is OK to not feel guilt, does not mean it is OK to feel indifferent or not want to help ease their pain. Sharing an open adoption and open communication is good for all members of the adoption triad. However, if you allow guilt to consume you, you may begin to suffer in other areas and your child will also suffer.
Have you experienced any of these emotions?
A few nights ago I realized my favorite part of open adoption. It is sharing my proudest moments with someone else that is equally proud! I just LOVE when my son does something new and I can share it with his birth mom. Sure I can say it to my family or post it on Facebook. It may even get a bunch of likes and comments. But other than his birth parents, no one is quite the same level of proud of him as we are. That is a very special bond.
My husband has been away on business for a few weeks. He has luckily been given the ability to come home for the weekend to spend time with us (and because he teaches a Saturday class at a local college). This weekend we tried basking in as much family time as possible. Friday after we picked up Isaac from school, we went out to dinner and since the weather was perfect, we headed to the outlet mall to get the boys some new gym shoes. When we returned home, the boys still wanted to be outside (Ezra loves being outside and is constantly running to the door saying “side”). Joe and Isaac were tossing the football around and Ezra was just cruising around the driveway and the yard in his new Nike’s. Of course, like any proud mom with an iPhone, I was snapping pictures. Then I remembered that T, his birth mom, had asked if he was starting to run yet. So when he was chasing the dog, dad and brother around the yard, I switched the camera to video mode and recorded a little one minute clip of him running around and “playing” football. I couldn’t wait to send it to her!
Her response was pure joy! “Look at him run. I love it. It almost looks like he’s been running and walking for years!” I typed back “he’s a pro!” and her next message was when it hit me… she said “I’m so proud.” It is those moments that I know that no matter how many likes a picture gets on Facebook or how many oohs and ahhs grandparents, friends or other family members give, no one else in the world shares the same love for him with me and Joe as his birth parents do. They’ll never tire of seeing pictures that look exactly the same as the ones I took the day before. They’ll never think I talk too much about him. They’ll never think “Gosh this woman is obsessed with her baby.”. They get it. They are still his parents too, even if they aren’t parenting him. They are proud of him. They love him. They take joy in his happiness.
So many people are still scared off by open adoption, simply because they don’t understand it. Open adoption is not co-parenting or fearing that my status as “Mom” is at risk. It is sharing the joy of a child that is loved by many. Imagine depriving them that joy of knowing how he is doing, that would be a terrible heartache to be responsible for causing. Being able to share with him their love, well that in itself is very special. He will know he is precious, loved and cherished.
“He is mine in a way he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way he will never be mine, and so together, we are motherhood.”