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23 September 2006



I'm gonna write you off-blog because there's a story I want to tell you that's not for blog consumption. :)


I'm a big believer in fate. It will happen how it is supposed to happen and you will have the new addition to your family that you are meant to have. There will be heartbreak on at least one side, at least a little bit. But this is a situation where it can't be avoided. BUT, it will be okay in the end. I can tell you to try not to worry, but I would worry, too, if I were you.


I *totally* agree with you on all of this -- it's such a difficult balance! And we are trying to adopt privately, which makes it all that much more complicated, since there's no "middle man" in any potential situations for us. (So we personally have to make sure that the potential first family has been adequately counseled, etc.) I struggle with this constantly -- since you have a vested interest in any situation, it's hard to know how, as you said, how to convey that you would love the child with all your heart if given the opportunity, yet not place pressure on the family. Ugh. Thanks for articulating this so well!


By commenting on this post, I am also trying to reassure myself that nothing will blind me when we are matched.
I feel that because you are a very ethical person, because you put your fears and zillions of scenarios into words, because you go into the process caring, you will be able to convey all that to mothers wanting to place their child. If in other situations in our life we can respect boundaries, there is a good chance we will do the same when adopting.


Thanks for this post. I'm right there on the tightrope with you. Post-birth placement is a big reason I was orginally attracted to IA, and now that domestic seems to be our path, I'm still skeeved by the pre-birth placement thing to some degree. I have no idea what the answer is or what the "right" thing to do is, but I hope you keep writing on this too.


We are grappling with the very same question/dilemma and I really appreciate being able to read your well-articulated thoughts on it. Thanks.


All of your points make my head hurt. *hugs* Feel free to msg me and bounce them off me at odd hours of the night.


Mmm... you have really brought up some things I have never really thought about. In my mind the parents who want to have an open relationship may want to meet you before the baby is born. Maybe you can limit the contact with the parents before the birth of the baby. In our case, our son's birthmother really thought and prayed about her decision, and even though she chose us about 2 months before delivery, she chose not to meet us or even let the agency notify us of the potential match until a few weeks before the birth. She said she did this to avoid emotional attachments to early. She did say that she really felt she was making the right decision after meeting us.

Maybe it will be more feasable to agree to meet before the birth, but only at the agency or something, and not have a completly open relationship until after placement? I dont know.

I think because you are so concious of it, I dont think you have to worry about being unethical. Even if you meet and develope a relationship pre birth, you can still maintain a level of respect where you won't make anyone feel pressured.


I've been thinking alot about this lately, too, so I'm very glad to see your post. I came (I thought) to the firm belief that prebirth matches are not okay for anyone involved. But then I realized (again) that it isn't so simple - how could it be, with so many lives involved?


I think you're overthinking your role in a birthmother's decision. I think you can know a birthparent before the birth of a child who will be placed for adoption and not pressure them unduly (I've had intimate conversations with both my children's birth mother's and if anything they were comforted by knowing us not pressured).

I think that when the time comes to decide what a birthparent wants for their child the feelings of potential adoptive parents are probably a consideration but not a big one.

The biggest reason for not wanting contact with a birth parent until after the birth is protecting your own heart against the possibility that they could change their mind. You should probably be asking questions about that rather than worrying about a birthparent being able to live with disappointing you if they should change their mind.


Just wanted to add; I have two children. One of whom was a pre-birth placement. One of whom was placed at 12 months old. I have walked both paths.


i think sometimes it's possible to bend over backwards so far to be respectful of prospective first parents that we can end up patronizing them. i love how honestly you grapple with all these ethical issues, and i admire your integrity so much. i think the thing to remember is that those mothers making this decision, despite the fact that they are in crisis, are still grown-up people with agency, capable of making good decisions for themselves. you can be clear about your intentions, you can be careful about your presumptions, you can be straightforward about what you expect and don't expect. and of course, you can and will strive at all costs not to be coersive. but i don't think you can presume to know better than she does about what is best for her in making those decisions. i would just follow the lead of the mama making the decision, with all the honesty and integrity you come by naturally, and be open to all the possibilities.


My initial thoughts...

Banning pre-birth matches might be hard/impossible. But you CAN keep your emotional distance from the first parents if you meet pre-birth, and explain to them why.

There ARE things you can ban outright, though:

1. Don't accept matches where the first parents had any medical or living expenses paid by the agency (and don't pay any yourself).

2. Don't be in the delivery room. I'm really, really firm on this, I don't care what ANYONE says about respecting a (first)mom's right to decide. I think it's bad for her, period, end of story. Adoptive parents shouldn't be in the delivery room. If you don't want it to feel patronizing to her when you say "no," then maybe try to find some way to put it on yourself.... like you've decided for your own reasons not to be there. Something like, "We want to be able to tell our child that s/he had that special, intimate time alone with his first mom. We think it's important for the child."

3. No going along to obstetrician appointments/ultrasound appointments.

As you can see... I pretty strongly disagree that you shouldn't presume to know better than the expectant mom. She's in crisis; she's likely not been through a relinquishment before, and even if she has, there's a good chance it wasn't a perfectly ethical one; and she's hormonal on top of it all. Frankly, I think you're probably LIGHT years ahead of most first-time relinquishing moms, and that means you DO have the responsibility to use your knowledge well. I don't think it is patronizing to objectively realize that you've given a lot more thought to this than most people (including potential first moms). The trick is going to be in USING that knowledge to help protect her, without coming ACROSS as patronizing. (Note difference between being perceived as patronizing and actually patronizing.) But you're a good communicator. You'll manage.


Well, I would think it would be as simple as saying "so how do we do it right, ethically, morally. how do you say to a woman that you want her to have the space she needs to make her decision free from influence from you - who is in this to adopt a baby. how do you truly let her know that you would love and cherish her son or daughter and yet want her to not be influenced at all by your feelings. how do you stand by someone while they labor and deliver a baby and let them know that you'll be there for them whatever they decide, when really the only reason they even know you is because you want to adopt their baby, if they so choose." both in person and in your letter if there is room.

If ever there was a paragraph that doesn't have one shred of phony baloney and sounds completely honest and heartfelt, that would be it.


I say go with your gut on this one. I didnt even know these options were out there.


This is a hard thing to think through. I have no idea where I would go with it if I were starting over... You have laid it out pretty clearly though. And I think you have some good ideas in the comments here...

I am reading Primal Wound (finally!) and posting about it and I would love to hear your comments. If you are not sick of talking about it, of course.

Cara Fletcher

I wish you good luck and hope you'll succeed.A friend of mien recently adopted a child and they helped the mother of the baby when she was pregnant as much as they could-they bought everything necessary-from clothes for the mother and the baby to diapers,pregnancy pillows and prenatal cradles.

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