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One of the things I have been sorting through since the beginning of our adoption journey and now moving into our second journey are expectations. Not only do the expectations of others affect me, my own expectations run in and out of my mind and heart.

By no means would I feel sorry for myself or think that my issues are greater than any of the issues others face, but I wonder how other adoptive parent's feel about expectations.

Since the beginning of our journey, I just kinda let things fall where they may, but it seems as you become more experienced in any subject matter you become more empowered. I am one who totally respects what others feel or want for their own life, but sometimes the "expectations" of others placed on me and what I want, does bother me. I sometimes wonder if I am somehow being questioned wether it be me as a Mom, wife, employee, daughter or "adoptive parent". I try my best not to worry what others think when I know in my heart I/we do things for the right reason and our heart is in the right place.

I guess one of the things that at times gets me thinking is the expectations on adoptive parents. It seems we are expected to be perfect. I KNOW I'm not perfect that's for sure and I can NEVER live up to that expectation. I totally respect all Birthparent's and have no idea what it would be like to be in their shoes, but my question is why is the loss of a child in placement viewed as bigger or more of a loss than what an adoptive parent goes through with miscarriages, maybe a loss of a child at an early age ect. That's just the feeling I get. I could be wrong and I really truly want someone to tell me I'm wrong. In many ways, my question is innocently asked because I don't want to steal a loss from anyone, but sometimes I just think about it. I started to think about it when the question of infertility treatments came up post adoption. I can't say I would never do it, but my hope is that if someone, be it me chose that for their family then that would be their choice and respected. I see that some Birthparent's want to reunite with the children they placed and why is it not politically correct for adoptive parent's to seek the same, to reuinite with the loss of a biological child. I'm not an expert and I would hope that couple would think long and hard about treatments after adoption taking their child into consideration, but still have that choice without all those expectations placed on them.

Maybe, this is something one of the Abrazo Chicks can touch on or maybe Elizabeth. I'd like to hear it from the professionals.

I'm confident in our choices as a family and I seek advice from the professionals, but I truly would like to know IF the losses of a Birthparent in the adoption world are clearly seen as more than what many adoptive parents have had to face.

For me, my issues are nothing. There is and will always be someone in more need than I, I know that, but I still would like to hear from others.

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Great thread Claudia!

I am not the professional opinion you are looking for but I can say that I know how you feel.

We, as parents, think we can be everything to our children, at least we hope we can, and when something or someone threatens those expectations, it tends to throw us into super protective mode. The last thing any of us would ever do is intentionally invoke emotional distress on our child/ren with post adoption decisions, like resuming fertility treatments, adopting another child, homegrown miracles, etc. All of life's decision affect each one of us on different levels, at different times.

I pray that our actions, including parental decisions, will never be too tragic to our child's emotional well-being over the course of our lifetime together, isn't that every parents' prayer?

Take care,

Karen

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I guess one of the things that at times gets me thinking is the expectations on adoptive parents. It seems we are expected to be perfect. I KNOW I'm not perfect that's for sure and I can NEVER live up to that expectation. I totally respect all Birthparent's and have no idea what it would be like to be in their shoes, but my question is why is the loss of a child in placement viewed as bigger or more of a loss than what an adoptive parent goes through with miscarriages, maybe a loss of a child at an early age ect. That's just the feeling I get. I can't say I would never do it, but my hope is that if someone, be it me chose (to go through fertility treatment after adopting) then that would be their choice and respected. I see that some Birthparent's want to reunite with the children they placed and why is it not politically correct for adoptive parent's to seek the same, to reuinite with the loss of a biological child. I'm not an expert and I would hope that couple would think long and hard about treatments after adoption taking their child into consideration, but still have that choice without all those expectations placed on them.

The words "hot potato" come to mind, but I do hear what you're saying, Claudia, and I empathize with the heavy burden of expectation that adopting parents so obviously must endure...

If anyone expects adoptive parents to be perfect, I don't think it's adoption professionals, ironically, because we know, better than anyone, that there's no such thing as a "perfect parent"!! It might seem that way at times, because of all the rigamarole the State requires to ensure that adoptive homes are safe and stable, but for most professionals, I think we look for more readiness than perfection.

Whether it's right or wrong, however, society does hold a definite sense that those who adopt are signing up to "parent in place of" someone else, and therefore, they owe it to that child to be "better parents" who then do twice as good a job of raising that child. And because children placed for adoption are, by virtual of their primal loss, at higher risk for abandonment and rejection issues, it does, perhaps, raise the stakes for those who parent them, meaning that those children's best interests and emotional needs may limit the adoptive parents when it comes to certain decisions (i.e., resuming fertility treatment to have a biological child after adopting, changing the names of children adopted at an older age, deciding between daycare and staying home with a child who suffers from attachment disorder, using corporal discipline with a child subjected to prior abuse, etc.)

Finally, with all due respect to those who have suffered the loss of a biological dreamchild due to infertility or lost a pregnancy due to miscarriage or abortion or even fetal demise, those are very different kinds of losses than those suffered by birthparents who relinquish a child for adoption-- regardless whether the placement is open or closed.

To go through life knowing your beloved baby is 'out there' but forever divorced from you legally; to be forever denied the rights and respect due every other parent, while daily having to grapple with the grief that comes with the loss of a child; coupled with the knowledge that yours is a self-imposed loss, made for the benefit of someone other than yourself-- that is a source of sorrow, shame and regret that knows no end, an unparalleled personal injury of epic proportion.

That's not to say the birthparent loss trumps any other sorrows that parents experience, only that trying to stack them side by side is like comparing apples and oranges. Denying the differences between them would be sensitive to neither and unfair to both, I would think.

But I do suspect that adoptive parents often feel disregarded in the adoption process, as if their losses don't matter, as if their needs come second, and as if they are called to a higher standard than any other moms and dads. Being put on a pedestal is never comfortable, even if the view is better... perhaps the "right" to be an "average, garden-variety parent" prone to as many or more mistakes but not greater scrutiny than any one else, is but another of the unsung losses of infertility (albeit one with a secret potential to grow us into the very best parents of all)?

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Great thread Claudia! I agree with you. It is really hard to be an adoptive parent. Not only are the expectations higher for us as parents, but the losses involved in our family are constantly put before us like flags marking our differences. My BP's loss in constantly in my thoughts. I agonize for them and the losses they must feel. I pray constantly that they can find peace with their decision and somehow we can get through it together.

I worry about hte losses my daughter will feel. Everytime we get together with our families I am reminded that she is seperate from us biologically because our families are trying SO HARD to make sure she isn't "Can you believe how much she looks like you?" "It's best to not have contact with her BP's so she won't be confused as to who her family really is..." I know she will wonder where she came from and I hope to have answers for her when the questions come.

My peers let me know how alien our family is with comments like "I know it was really good for you guys, but I could NEVER give up one of mine. I don't know how anyone could." which makes me feel even MORE unworthy of the family that I have. Like I am some kind of outsider to this whole parenting thing. Every question I have as a new mommy gets scrutinized through a lens of "where did this come from? Is this normal or adoption related?"

Infertility junk rears its ugly head every so often too, just for kicks. If I only had biological children I wouldn't have all these worries and losses. Maybe next time we should try harder for a biological child instead of adopting (no worries. DH put a firm foot down about that one! :P )

And while I agree that BP losses are greater than ours, I also believe that our losses are not given as much credit as they deserve. AP's struggle too. We may not have lost as much as BP's, but we have endured losses that are ever before us as well. Our parenting methods are far different from our biological peers. Our worries and struggles have added dimensions. Our parenting is under constant scrutiny by ourselves and others. And through it all, I think we will always wonder..What if....

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Finally, with all due respect to those who have suffered the loss of a biological dreamchild due to infertility or lost a pregnancy due to miscarriage or abortion or even fetal demise, those are very different kinds of losses than those suffered by birthparents who relinquish a child for adoption-- regardless whether the placement is open or closed.

To go through life knowing your beloved baby is 'out there' but forever divorced from you legally; to be forever denied the rights and respect due every other parent, while daily having to grapple with the grief that comes with the loss of a child; coupled with the knowledge that yours is a self-imposed loss, made for the benefit of someone other than yourself-- that is a source of sorrow, shame and regret that knows no end, an unparalleled personal injury of epic proportion.

That's not to say the birthparent loss trumps any other sorrows that parents experience, only that trying to stack them side by side is like comparing apples and oranges. Denying the differences between them would be sensitive to neither and unfair to both, I would think.

So true and so well put. With this past weekend, I've been trying to be able to relate to how a birthparent feels and what she must go through. I now know there is just no way we can know, nor can we ever feel or know that loss because we've never experienced it. As painful as any loss is, your comparison shows how different they really are. Thanks for clearing up some clouded thoughts, I am still so new with so much to learn. The part in bold...gave me chills.

Jenny

Edited by LovingBoo

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I am prefacing this illustration by saying I am not in any way being glib or insensitive, but I see a parallel in the two situations.

When I was divorcing, a friend told me that losing someone in divorce is harder than losing someone to death. In divorce, that person goes on and has a new life that doesn't include you. One might look back and wish they had chosen a different path or imagine how things would have been different had they chosen to handle things in a different way. Point: it is a choice, opportunities to second guess the decision and face guilt are enormous. In death, there is closure--no choices. In death, we believe that we will be reunited with our loved ones and will have a "relationship" on a whole different plain. In divorce, that's probably not likely.

Both are filled with grief, loss of control, and just plain pain. But, I think the illustration, perhaps, can help us better understand how they are different.

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To go through life knowing your beloved baby is 'out there' but forever divorced from you legally; to be forever denied the rights and respect due every other parent, while daily having to grapple with the grief that comes with the loss of a child; coupled with the knowledge that yours is a self-imposed loss, made for the benefit of someone other than yourself-- that is a source of sorrow, shame and regret that knows no end, an unparalleled personal injury of epic proportion.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and thank you Elizabeth for this reality check. Last night as I was watching the Bachelor, Dante's Birthmother called. She doesn't have a phone and she usually doesn't call often due to that. I've spoken with her two nights in a row now she calling me. After we spoke, which was an emotional conversation for many reasons, I truly felt like God was sending her and her call and needs for a definate purpose. After the call, I went over to Marcelo to let him know I had spoken with Stephanie. At that moment, this thread came to mind. The decision she made to place our/her son in our arms, she did the above statement. The peace for all of us is she will always no where Dante is and how he is doing and she can kiss and hug him for herself if that is what he wants too. I realized again how I am so able and ready to put my needs/losses behind someone elses. I feel equipped to deal with anything and I know so many others are not.

I appreciate your thoughts because at 32 yrs. old, I need to know I am not alone in this,

Claudia

Edited by MarceloandClaudia

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Wow! What a great topic, Claudia. It stimulates a lot of thought for me as far as birthparent loss/grief/pain/ect. As others have said, I don't think that we'll ever be able to grasp the pain and emotions that birthparents experience as they deal with their adoption decision. Don't we all wish we could wave our "magic wands" and make everything all better for everyone?!?!

I am continually amazed at how much information I gain from reading the posts on the forum. What a great resource for those of us who have adopted and those in the process of adopting.

Tamra

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