today's question is from green (who, by the way, sent me the socks i'm wearing right now):
"I like reading your blog because it shows me something I know little about. Some of your views are different from what I'm used to hearing - how involved you seem to want birth parents to stay in their birth child's life after giving the child to the other parents, comes to mind. I wonder if you think that the parents who don't want as open adoptions as you seem to want are wrong, or if this is just what you want - that's not clear to me. Do you think ALL adoptions should be open, or only the adoptions where both sets of parents want it should be open?
I apologize if I've used any of the wrong words (unPC) in asking my question."
that's a good one. i've never really organized my thoughts on this subject, so pardon me if my answer rambles.
you're right - a lot of my opinions about adoption are different than what most would consider the norm (most of my beliefs about anything, for that matter). unfortunately, right?
i do think that first parents (the 'birth' term is one that a lot of people don't like these days - most seem to feel 'first parent' is a more appropriate term - just so everyone understands why i use a different term than the 'industry standard') should be involved post-placement. the tales of the closed-adoption era, from the viewpoint of many adoptees, adoptive parents, and first parents have led us to understand that separating a child from her mother, whether the child knew of their adoption or not while growing up, has serious emotional ramifications. open adoption is the adoption world's answer to hopefully avoiding some of the pain and questions adoptees and first mothers from the closed adoption era experience. and since adoption is supposed to be about what is in the best interest of the child, open adoption seems the healthiest path to me.
there are a lot of things that i don't like about closed adoption. i don't like the idea that i should erase my child's history before me. i think it's her birth right to know her story. it is her right to know her medical history, her biological brother and the mother and father that brought her into this world. i don't like the idea behind the amended birth certificate (which isn't really an aspect of closed adoption like wikipedia states - it happens in all adoption and is something governed by the state laws where the child was born) of pretending i gave birth to my daughter at a date, time and location i'd not heard of until a month after her birth to her mother, pea. i don't believe in the idea that a woman can give birth to a child, relinquish her and then go away and pretend it didn't happen. i don't believe that my daughter should have to grow up without anyone to answer questions about her history. a biological child has all of these things in their life - and if adoption is to really attempt to be 'as good as' a bio family - then adopted children should have access to these things, too, right?
i think there are probably reasons for true closed adoptions, but none come to mind. most adoptions fall somewhere in the middle of true open and true closed adoptions. i think when most people think of closed adoption, though, they think of it being more about not having contact with the first family, but having knowledge of other things like medical and social history from them. i'm not opposed to this type of adoption by any means. there are lots of reasons for this type of adoption. sometimes first families don't want contact. i don't like it that this is the case, because i don't think it's the healthiest possible way for a child to be raised, but i also understand that it's a first parent's right to not want contact and their reasons may be ones i cannot comprehend right now.
this is more the type of adoption we have, but technically it's open, because we know z's first parents' full names, the names of their family members, we have their address and they have our full names, phone numbers and address. they chose us to parent z and they requested photos, letters and possibly visits. for some reason, they can't be in contact with us right now. it frustrates and saddens me. anyone who knows me knows it's just about the only thing that makes me tear up when i talk about it. my feelings about z's first parents not being in touch right now vacillate between trying desperately to understand and deep saddness and anger for z. do i think it's wrong? no - it's their right.
the thing is, every situation is different. every person is different. and so no one situation would be ideal for everyone. i don't think there is one set way to adopt properly or to raise a child the best. the most important thing, in my mind, is the spirit of openness that shannon talks about at open adoption support. in the absence of the ability to have an adoption with ongoing contact and visits with a child's first parents, parents can still raise their children in an environment of openness.