Yet another roundtable discussion about open adoption. This one actually has us looking at questions presented by another blogger. I've included my thoughts below....what are yours?
1. If open adoption is so great, why do so many people suck at it? By this I mean, not honouring commitments, closing the adoption, telling the other family they’re not “doing this thing” correctly or playing the “for the sake of the child” card?
I think that many people "suck at it" because the choose not to work hard at it or they are selfish. Yes, there are many times that I want to scream, "He is my son and I don't want to ________!" But that is very selfish. My first Mother's Day was much that way. I remember being so angry because instead of just enjoying it, I thought about what I needed to do for J on this day. What would Gus send to her? How do we even begin to thank her? How does she feel on this day? I agonized over every part of the day, but I made sure that Gus sent her something and I made sure that we sent her a text that day thinking of her. Why? Because that is the commitment that we made. For me, I feel like these commitments are very similiar to the commitment of marriage....it is for real and it is for life.
2. From the standpoint of first parents, open adoption sounds like something that could prolong suffering. Could this suffering potentially outweigh the good of knowing where your child is? Who helps the first parent?
I know that it must be very difficult for J. But I also know that she was able to begin her healing process after she knew that Gus was well taken care of. She asked us to send pictures...and lots of them within the first week that Gus was home with us. We sent pictures of us in the neighborhood, around the house, etc. She really got the opportunity to see that Gus was doing well and that we would be taken care of. I think that knowing that, really helped J on her way to healing. As a counselor, I know that healing does not come easily. But I also know that it is important to work through that suffering and find a path to healing. I am happy that J had a counselor that worked with her before and after Gus was born. I hope that every birthparent has that opportunity.
3. I’m guessing kids are not hung up on how many relatives they have. Tell me that the thing that hangs up the public all the time about open adoption and other unconventional relationships—two mommies, two daddies, three, four, parents—is the least of your worries because it seems to me it is.
I feel like the world around us is very curious about adoptive families. I can't even begin to tell you how many people ask us questions. I'm sure that if I had given birth to Gus we wouldn't have questions about how he came to be. I think it is natural for people to be curious of the unknown....and we are happy to share it. If we can educate one person about adoption, we are thrilled. We feel like it should be very open so others come to understand how wonderful it is.
4. Do you ever feel like you should give this child back? Does the thought ever seize you totally as you watch your child with her bio-family: “ooops?” (OR for f-parents: Do you ever feel as though you need to take this child back? That nothing is stopping you beside an agreement that feels false? Does that feeling go away?)
NO!! Okay, I have to admit, this question took me off guard. Never would I think I should "give Gus back". He is ours...all ours. From the moment he was born he became part of me. I know that God sent us Gus for a reason and I know that J chose us for a reason. No doubt about it!!
5. How do children ever cope with knowing they could not be kept? When they see their natural parents having more kids, what do they think? Who helps the child in this situation? Both sets of parents?
Okay...now you are just asking me to bring out the counselor mumbo-jumbo. Gus is only one....I have no idea how he will feel some day. But I will tell you this....Gus will know how much he is loved. He will know why J chose and adoption plan. He will know everything that we know about how he ended up in our arms. Adoption is not about not being kept...it is about love. Gus is a lucky little boy. We adore him and love him more than life itself as our extended family does, too. In addition, he is even luckier because he has a birthmom and her entire extended family. What a lucky boy!
6. Can you say comfortably that some surrendering mothers could not cope with an open adoption or do you think that it should always be the standard?
I understand that not everyone could cope with an open adoption due to the different person or perhaps the circumstances. But I also know that we would not enter into an adoption with someone who wouldn't want an open adoption. We chose "open" so that our kids would always have a connection with their birthparents. And hopefully, some day, all of their questions will be answered...if they haven't been answered already. (Many of you know that I have already told Gus a lot about J. I know that he is only one...but I am a firm believer in being honest with him all the way!)
7. Is there ever a reason (aside from extreme/illegal behaviours) to close an adoption totally?
Check out this blog for more responses to this question. Or check out this one for the original post of questions.