This book tour was an interesting one for me, as I've recently become an adoptive parent in an open adoption. To give a little perspective, here are the particulars of Baby X's first days of life. He spent time in the hospital with C and we know that she fed him and held him. He was discharged into temporary foster care aka cradle care (second caregiver). There was some kind of family emergency with the first cradle care family and Baby X had to be transferred to another available cradle care family (third caregiver). We were brought into the picture two weeks after he was born (fourth caregivers). As you might have guessed by now, I could be a little defensive about some of the author's conclusions about the primal wound. On the other hand, I also worry about the effects of being passed around to so many people in the first two weeks of life, although all signs are pointing to Baby X attaching well to me and S. Still, there are those times when he's upset about something, screaming his head off and arching away from me as I try to comfort him. Those times give me pause.
Without further ado: My responses to discussion questions posed by fellow book tourists.
The detachment, anger and loss I read in the author's voice at times
made me question my own pursuit of a child that will not be genetically
linked to me. For others who have or may be pursuing parenthood through
adoption or third party reproduction, did anything in the book give you
pause? Make you question how your family has come together?
Many statements and situations in the book gave me pause, considering that we conducted little research about adoption before making our decision and have been learning along the way. However, more than once, I wondered how different her story would be if she had been placed in a properly vetted situation instead of strings being pulled to get her sick mother to the top of the list. The beginning of her story points to the many pitfalls in the system, and it's unfortunate that the system fails first-parents and adoptees. As uneducated prospective adoptive parents, the one thing we were careful to choose was an ethical adoption agency. We looked into a few around our area, and the pickings are slim if you want an agency based in Colorado rather than some big national agency based in some other state and operating in Colorado. Despite the transparency, despite our openness with C, and despite our high comfort level with our agency's counseling services to expectant parents, there is still a twinge of doubt. Mostly, a twinge of "what will Baby X think/react/feel once he can fully understand that all these adults made a decision without his input?" And then the other side of the coin is that Baby X was born and was going to be placed in an adoptive environment whether we were there or not.
What event (besides being adopted) do you think most affected the author? Why and how did it affect the author so profoundly?
The author mentioned that she had been sexually abused a few times throughout the books, although she offered no details and focused solely on the primal wound as the all-encompassing issue in her life. I find myself wondering how much being sexually abused as a young girl and not having any type of support system affected her overall well-being. I can't imagine that that type of abuse would not have profound effects on anyone, whether adopted or not.
If a first mother is not willing to have contact with her child or
adoptive family, is it prudent to attempt to compel the first mother
into an open relationship?
Compelling people is not going to work out well. Sure, we may think that having an open adoption is the best thing for the child, and it does seem to be ideal in many situations, but not all. In that type of situation, I think that keeping the lines of communication open to the first-parents, but not pushing it is the best way to go. The adoptive parents don't know the whole story, and the child's first-parents may have their own reasons for not wanting an open relationship. However, trying to encourage an open adoption is essential on the adoptive parents' part. In addition, I think that being open about the child's story to the child is also important. Even if the first-parents are not willing to have regular contact or visits, the adoptive parents should be open with the adoptee about their birth story, and be willing to help search if the adoptee wants to search.
To continue to the next stop of this book tour, please visit the main list at The Open Adoption Examiner.