The Open Adoption Roundtable
is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's
designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the
open adoption community. You don't need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers
to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're
thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The
prompts are meant to be starting points--please feel free to adapt or
expand on them.
Five Things I Learned about Open Adoption in 2011:
1. OA is for us
. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was a
little on the fence when I started thinking about open adoption and the more I
read about it, thanks to Heather
, and thanksgivingmom
, the more I was
amenable to the idea. By the time we
were matched, I would have had a difficult time coming to terms with a first
mom who didn’t want contact.
2. We will be fighting stereotypes forever. The stereotypical first-mom is
a teenager/alcoholic/drug abuser/welfare …yada yada yada. All these negative stereotypes have hung
on for years, yet this isn’t always the case, or even, hardly the case. I can tell that our close circle was trying
to figure out which one of these stereotypes C fits into by asking leading questions, but we didn't share, and thankfully they dropped it. It’s not about why she placed*, it’s about
building our family and including her. (*For them, they don't need to know. Baby X is a different story)
3. Unless you’ve been
there, done that, you don’t get it. I was asked once if we would keep contact with C after finalization. It just goes to show that no matter how much you casually mention that you're meeting with your son's first-mom on such and such a day, it's difficult for others to fathom a relationship like ours.
4. It’s up to the
adoptive parents to do the heavy lifting.
First-parents get the short end of the stick when it comes to
adoption. They are often written off as
horrible people, after all who would give
away their baby? The horrors! That’s not true, but if you’re hearing
from home, from your friends, from society in general to forget about the baby
and move on, wouldn’t you feel tentative about initiating conversations with
the adoptive parents? It’s up to the
adoptive parents to reach out and indicate that contact is welcome.
5. It's like any other new relationship. We've recently had our third visit with C, and little by little, the visits are becoming more comfortable. We've exchanged e-mail addresses and have more direct contact without constant agency intervention. I look forward to seeing her and finding out what's going on in her life, and learning more about her culture. Baby steps...