…blogging is free

Yay! It’s Open Adoption RoundTable time again. The current prompt is courtesy of Andy and it’s complicated (aren’t they always) so first I’ll paste it in it’s entirety and then I’ll break it down into pieces and respond in parts.

We often hear about open adoptions where the two sides don’t want the same level of openness. First mothers who don’t get updates as often as they would like, or not as many visits each year. Or adoptive parents who want to include their child’s first mother in his life, but she is not ready.

But what we don’t often discuss is when people on the same side of the triad can’t agree on the level of openness in an adoption.

  • It could be a wife who wants a fully open adoption but the husband only wants to send letters once a year.
  • Or a first mother isn’t ready for an open adoption but the first father wants to be part of the baby’s life.
  • Maybe a spouse isn’t supportive of their partner entering into reunion with their first mother.
  • Or a partner who came along after the adoption and isn’t comfortable with your relationship with your placed child.
  • And the classic Hallmark movie of the year scenario: Your mother-in-law is convinced that the baby will be snatched away from under your nose if you have an open adoption.

How would/do you navigate these situations? Does your current relationship impact the type of open adoption that you have? How does this affect your current relationship?

Ok so now to break it down

  • Or a first mother isn’t ready for an open adoption but the first father wants to be part of the baby’s life.

I should start by saying that when TheEx and I started on this adoption journey we didn’t really know what an open adoption was; and the facilitator didn’t really fix that.  We were given a form to fill out which included boxes to check something to the effect of

Will you want pictures

A – for the first six months

B – for the the first year

C -for the first 5 years

D – I don’t know

Repeat for letters, phone calls, visits, etc.  I don’t remember the exact break down of time frames given but it was similar to my example.  I should also mention that even though we were doing this “together” I was the one who communicated with the facilitator and filled out all the forms (I was not trying to exclude TheEx he just wasn’t interested in being super involved).  So there is no way for me to know if we had varying levels of interest in the beginning.

For the three years after Kidlet’s birth TheEx and I remained together and while we participated in the adoption at different levels I can’t say that it was because he desired less openness than I did (do).  He put as much effort into the open adoption relationship as he did into any relationship; which is to say no much.  He didn’t have to put in any effort; I did it for him.  I responded to emails and phone calls.  I made copies of photos for him and his family.  I bought and sent Christmas and birthday gifts.  The one time I asked him to sign his own name to the Christmas card I didn’t get the card back in time to send it by Christmas.

And yes I know I sound bitter.  That would be because I am.  But don’t get me wrong I don’t hold it against TheEx.  I know he was wading through his own loss as well as the other things in his life the best he could.

Even after the break up I remained the adoption go between for awhile despite passing contact information both directions everything just kept coming through me.  When I finally stopped I know his connection to J&M and Kidlet suffered.  I know this because I received an email accusing me of poisoning their view of him so they wouldn’t keep in touch.  I explained that I did no such thing and that they don’t check their emails 10 times a day and they would get back to him as soon as possible and to remember that they have two small children and jobs that take up some of their time.

I don’t know about his current level of contact or desire for contact.  That’s between him J&M and Kidlet.  I’m staying out of it.

Ok Part two

  • Or a partner who came along after the adoption and isn’t comfortable with your relationship with your placed child.

How would/do you navigate these situations? Does your current relationship impact the type of open adoption that you have?

I don’t let my romantic relationship(s) effect my relationship with my son as history has shown me men come and go.  I’m not willing to damage the fragile relationship I’m building with Kidlet for a guy who may or may not be around in a week, a month, or a year.  (Again yes I know I sound jaded.  That would be because I am).  My romantic relationships are however effected by my relationship with Kidlet.

Be it relationships like the one I had with TheCritic where I wasn’t able to talk to him about Kidlet and adoption and of course our relationship suffered.

Or my relationship with ITGuy I can’t remember which conversations happened before during and after our dating phase but he has frequently me he doesn’t understand why I talked about Kidlet so much, why it is so important to me.   The level of openness definitely effected our relationship.

And now Part Three

How does this affect your current relationship?

With Mohawk I’m still on guard.  I talk to him about Kidlet but not too much about my adoption issues (although I did veto a movie suggestion because of adoption triggers…of course the movie we ended up renting had hidden adoption triggers because that’s just my luck, but I digress.).  Mohawk seems to get that Kidlet important and actually has said he’s glad I have contact with him. He was with me the weekend before the holidays and the weekend after and seemed to understand.  Only time will tell but I am optimistic that Mohawk will continue to be as supportive as he has been so far.

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Comments on: "Open Adoption Roundtable #13: Brevity and I are Strangers" (2)

  1. It is the first time I’ve read about the other side of the adoption paperwork. As adoptive parents, we had fill out a lot of forms filled with uncomfortable questions. You had your share too… I had no idea of what this was like for birth parents.

    I wish we had more contact with our daughter’s birth parents. I think about them every day, pray for them every day, but have no news from them. 😦

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your post provided a lot of insight. 🙂

  2. […] @ Therapy is Expensive shares how she navigated open adoption with her child’s first father, both while they were still […]

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