so since we're sitting here getting ready to adopt sometime in the near future, my mind has been going to a lot of hypothetical places of late. i'm a daydreamer at heart. in kindergarden the teacher told my mom that i spent too much time in class daydreaming. i also tend to overthink everything. it's how i thought myself into an irrational fear of the depletion of the ozone layer as a middle-schooler. my favorite subjects to overprocess tend to be enigmas (what is after outer space? more space? solid? liquid? ) adoption, clearly, provides me with myriad situations to overprocess.
the places i go today are those to do with the placement of our next child. the agencies where our profile will be shown operate like most do in the u.s. today and allow pre-birth matches, if a woman would like, with potential adoptive parents. this, to me, is so many things wrapped up into one big ball of conflicting feelings.
remember, if you will, z's adoption. her mama pea came to the agency pre-birth. she thought she had two months before z was due and ended up having her only month later. not having specific plans in place, but knowing she hadn't the ability to care for her because of multiple factors, mama pea placed z in the care of the adoption agency. z stayed at the adoption agency for a month - again for multiple reasons. pea did not terminate her rights until the same day she met us. we were not allowed to even see the baby through the plate-glass window of the (most amazing and wonderful) nursery. it was a very clear and straightforward adoption. there were no legal (which should really be termed 'emotional', in my mind) risks at all for us. it was a very emotionally safe placement for us. it was exactly the adoption for which we had hoped after waiting so much longer to adopt than we thought we'd have to wait. we were certain that the potential for coercion was as low as we had any control over. we know pea had plenty of time to consider her decision. but also knowing her situation, we knew she really didn't have any choice in the matter. losses in adoption. i wonder what pea would have to say on that subject. oh how i wish i (we all) could hear her voice. i think it would be an interesting one to add to our mix.
so now i think about the next woman who will choose to place her child with us and how it will all go down. and this time around i'm having difficulty trying to iron out what i would 'hope' it would look like (remember, this is just daydreaming). i think about the day we get a call saying we've been chosen. it's possible a baby could already be born. it's possible that we could end up 'matched' pre-birth. it's possible that we could be requested to speak with her on the phone or even meet her in-person pre-birth. we could have months to get to know her before she gives birth and decides whether or not she wants to parent, place with us, or do something totally different. it's possible that she could request that we be in the delivery room for the birth of her child. and i really don't know yet how i feel about all of these things.
the first thing that comes to mind is to 'just say no' to pre-birth matches. to tell our agency that we just won't do it - that we want to know that we are not convincing a woman covertly or otherwise to place her child with us. but when i think about it - i don't know that that response would be right. i have a child who knows two-hours worth of information about her first parents. denying my next child a situation that would provide him or her with more information (and hopefully a life-long relationship with his or her first parents) just doesn't feel right to me. think about it - our profile would get shown to women who have already given birth or we would have an agency placement (a placement where the child has been born and the first parents don't want to be involved in choosing the adoptive parents for their child). since we've thought about it and we're still continuing ahead with a domestic adoption, we still want a very open adoption. what's the likelihood of an agency placement being a very open adoption? i don't know - but i think it's probably not very likely. and i don't know how often women approach the agency about a very open adoption only after their child is born. i think this would put us between a rock and a hard place in finding the type of adoption we think is best for our children.
additionally, the agency may not like it - i honestly don't know what their take on us banning pre-birth matches would be. it also feels unfair, too. i know that there will be women who truly want to know the paps (potential adoptive parents) before they give birth. and there are different levels of involvedness desired, as well. so it doesn't really feel fair to me to say to the woman who will be my child's mother (this is not making an assumption that any woman that chooses us WILL place with us - you know i believe in a woman's right to change her mind at any point prior to the revocation period - or long after - for that matter) that i just plain will not be involved with her until she gives birth. that's not fair to her and it's not fair to the child.
and frankly, i think the likelihood of a woman looking for a very open adoption is more likely to be a woman who requests contact pre-birth. you may disagree. either way, i think we need to prepare ourselves for that possibility.
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. i feel like i'm going to constantly be balancing my words, making sure i say things just so, making sure i don't overstep my boundaries. it's just a mess of tangled emotions and conflicts of interests, that adoption.
but i keep processing it. i keep my make-believe scenarios active in my mind. and when the day comes that we get our call, if we are matched pre-birth, i hope i'm able to walk that tightrope. whatever the situation, i'm anxious, nervous, and excited about that relationship in our lives.
i'm sure my thoughts on this will continue to pop up here and there. and i'm always open to any suggestions people may have.