delving into open adoption

I continue to have text/facebook contact with M’s birth family. More and more family members have messaged me to say how happy they are to know M is safe and loved. They are all so very excited to see her photos and have the possibility of knowing her again. Her aunt, “K”, my main contact, continues to text me about the relief she now feels knowing M is in a good home and is healthy and growing up happy. She constantly tells me how worried she has been and how devastated her whole family was when she quite literally “disappeared” into the system. Obviously, they did not have rights to know where she was or how she was since they were not able to become kinship placements.

On Monday, we are going to M’s Aunt K’s house to visit. Her cousins will be there as well, and quite possibly her grandpa and other uncles/aunts and cousins. Her older sister, whose existence I just learned of, could possibly be there, and she lives in our town!

I am truly excited about all of this, and for so many reasons. The downside has been explaining my happiness and plans to my own family and friends. Everyone keeps warning me to be cautious, even one friend who is an adoptee herself! It is discouraging that I can’t seem to make them understand how important this could be to M. The adoptee friend says that her birth family was too crazy and not healthy. I think every family is different and every adoptee is different, but the opportunity to know M’s first family is too important to pass up. Obviously her safety comes first, and I have no intention of letting them babysit anytime soon. I don’t know them yet. It would be a dream come true if we could get to know each other well enough to have regular contact and visits. But I have to see what happens.

I just wish I had more support from people in my life. I understand that this is all very unfamiliar to them, and I got a lot of my experience from doing foster care (working towards reunification) and just being a nurse… I’m accepting of others’ lifestyles and for the most part I can work with even very difficult personalities.

I have heard so much negativity from grown adoptees, on their blogs and in the midst of the November #flipthescript movement. Very few of them have anything constructive to say to adoptive parents who would really like to do better for their children. We are just out here on our own, trying to feel our way blind. Telling us how much you hate being adopted and how you wish your adopted parents had never adopted you does not help us. My daughter needed different parents to raise her, pure and simple. There was no kinship option for her, at least that’s what the caseworkers told me. As far as I know, all of those options were explored and fell through. So I can’t undo the choices that were made that led up to her adoption, but I can try to parent her to know where she came from, who her first family is, etc.

 

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Categories: adoption, parenting

6 Comments »

  1. I’ve been disappointed that I’ve gotten little support from friends and family. They just don’t understand, and even good people are full of fear and judgement of foster care/adoption. All my support comes from other local foster parents that I connected with in PRIDE training.

    And I agree that while it’s fine that adult adoptees have long lists of what adoptive parents do wrong, it sure would be helpful if someone took the time to advise an alternative to the current adoption culture, and what we can do for the kids who can’t be raised by their parents and need to be adopted.

  2. You come across as a good planner and reader of people. I understand why your family and friends would be worried for you and M to be building these relationships, but it seems like you will do this cautiously, albeit optimistically, and will back away or pause if things don’t feel right and safe. I’m just a familiar blogger but you’ve got my support. The more people in her life who love her, the better. Think about your boundaries and stick to them. You’ve got this.

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