I have recently commented on a few blogs that are adoption related. I was a little bit concerned about leaving comments because people can find my blog. If you read the archive, you will see that we have had a really hard time w/ our birth mother. I don't go into much detail (because it isn't necessary) but I think that at one point I call her crazy and say that I am glad we don't have to deal with her anymore. I would never want to add to the fears of any birth mother that an adoptive family would distance themselves from her or just decide to stop contact. This was not the case with us, and because all the details aren't public, it is hard for you to know that our decision was based on many, many issues that stretched over the space of many months. I am not talking about things like "birth mother wants to spend time alone w/ the child" or "she wants more visits then I do." I am talking about dangerous, disrespectful, illegal, and hurtful things done on the part of our birth mother. Most people would NEVER dream of treating others the way we were treated, let alone the family that they chose to raise their child. This decision was a last resort for us and was not made lightly. Please believe this.
I have been "called out" by several members of the adoption community (birth mothers and adoptive families) for having this story public. I am aware that this is the thing that most birth mothers fear the most. Open adoptions are not legally binding in most states and it is a good faith agreement. Remember that phrase--GOOD FAITH. In our case, the good faith totally broke down. For an open adoption to work, both sides must be very clear about what their expectation is. It is my opinion that a family that actively seeks to enter into an open adoption is usually interested in keeping the the birth family in the picture. The birth parent may not have the physical care of the child, but in an open adoption the birth family plays a part in the emotional and spiritual development of the child and the the whole family. Most people who seek open adoption are looking to add you to the circle of their family. They know that things won't always be perfect. They know that there may be painful things in the future, but they are convinced that openness in the relationships between all parties is the healthiest thing for the child and family. They are willing to talk things out and work through any issues that may come up because they believe in their choice. Those that aren't willing to do this usually choose semi-open. Ask questions and be honest with your families about what you expect. However, as a mother it is my duty to protect my children. Any person who causes my family harm is no longer welcome in our circle. PERIOD. If these things had been done by my own mother, my siblings or husband the action would have been the same. There are consequences for all of our actions. If you hurt my children, steal from me and cause severe emotional trauma, you are not welcome in my life. Birth mother or not.
I am sorry if this story is upsetting for others to read or adds to the fears of those of you considering open adoption. You should try living it. In many ways, we are experiencing the worst fears of an adoptive family. Our lives have been changed in more ways that I could have ever imagined and the hurt goes very deep. It will be many, many years before we are able to recover financially, emotionally and legally. Believe it or not, for me the worst part of this is the loss of the open relationship. I grieve for the fact that my son will no longer have contact w/ his brothers. I miss speaking with his birth mother. If I had a question about him or just wanted to share a funny thing he did, I could call her. I don't have that now. I am angry that someday I will have to share this part of the story with him. I am frustrated that the open relationship that we really, really wanted has been taken from us. It cuts both ways. We still love her and will always respect her choice to place Jacob with us. She will still get pictures and a letter once a year (that was the original agreement, we had been getting along so well it progressed from there to weekly calls, visits, etc). She will always be a special person to us for the reason that she brought our son to us. We are hoping that distance and time can heal the other stuff.
If you are a birth mother reading this, please feel free to contact me if you have concerns about the things I have written. I am happy to give details on an individual basis. Please let me be the first to reassure you that our situation is the exception, not the rule and it this was the absolute last resort. If you plan on treating your adoptive family with respect and love and honor the relationship that all of you share, you will have nothing to worry about. If you jeopardize the safety and happiness of the adoptive family, I would imagine that you would be cut off as well. That is just the way it is.
No one else's story will be the same as mine. I am sure that there are birth mothers out there that have been cut off from their adoptive families and didn't do any thing wrong. There are no guarantees in any of this. I am sorry that this has to be an aspect of it. I choose to embrace what has happened to us and not pretend it didn't happen. When we adopt again, we plan on having an open adoption again. We might be a bit more guarded, but we don't plan on punishing the next birth mother for the actions of the previous one. In fact, we are even MORE hopeful for an open relationship next time.
As I reread this I am afraid that it seems like this is something I am defensive about or dwell on. It isn't really. I don't really think about it as much as I used to. If you notice, my blog does not center mostly on adoption. It is about my life and my family. Adoption is a part of that, but a very small part. My days are spent enjoying my children (or not enjoying them so much on some days), spending time w/ my friends and their children and trying to keep the house picked up and the laundry done. It is the same with my son. The adoption aspect of it only really comes up when someone makes a comment or I get a comment about this blog. Adoption is not a part of our daily conversation. Jacob is my son first. He is charming, funny and sweet. He is all of these things to me before he is my adopted child. My daughter is beautiful, sweet, smart and a little bit of a pill these days before she is my biological child. I am responding to the comments and requests that I have gotten as a result of this blog. I also want to be fair to those that come to this blog and may not understand the whole story. Almost everyone who reads this blog is someone I know, but lately there have been visitors that I don't know and I want to present an accurate picture. If you are unhappy with the way I choose to do things, that is fine. Live your own life differently. If you feel the need to comment, I guess that is OK too because we are all entitled to our own opinion. I only ask that you be respectful of my decisions and I will be respectful of yours. Discussion is fine, opinions are fine, asking questions is fine--hurtful words, inflammatory comments and disrespect is not. I am always happy to answer questions or offer help. I am a huge fan of open adoptions and feel that our story on how it didn't work out can be as helpful as the ones where it is a roaring success.
Thank you for taking to time to understand where I am coming from.