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ElizabethAnn

How It Feels to "Give Up" a Child

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Abrazo tries not to use that vernacular ("giving up a child for adoption") because it implies that a child is something that one can easily pass over to another, and nothing is further from the truth.

But how many prospective adopters out there really understand what an enormous sacrifice a mother makes for her baby when she places a newborn, and what a toll doing so takes on her psyche for the rest of her life? If more folks understood that, would as many truly seek to reduce adoption to a business transaction, a process of "getting papers signed" then parting ways forever?

Or would more compassionate people find the courage to embrace openness even before sitting through that panel at Abrazo's orientation weekends, realizing that the Golden Rule truly must apply, because not one of them could ever bear to see their mothers or sisters or daughters put through the indignity of a closed adoption, and thus could not ever consider such impersonal arrangements ever again?

Would understanding the toll that relinquishment takes make us better adopters? Better adoption workers? Better-prepared birthparents? Would it lend clarity and increase our patience when adoption plans end abruptly, in advance of surrender?

Can those who hope to adopt truly hope to believe that birthmothers "move on" with their lives once the ink is dry? And why would such denial not be a betrayal of the child involved? Who would want to be matched with a woman so heartless? Or does that idea somehow alleviate us of our own sense of culpability for her pain? (How many of Abrazo's already-placed adoptive parents even realize/d that their child's birthmother was still bleeding, long after their Compact was approved and even after the baby arrived at home with them? )

Here's a stunning, wrenching account of what a loving birthmother experiences, from delivery to relinquishment and long afterwards: Painful Truths Every Prospective Adopter Should Know.

There's no such thing as "just getting a baby," in adoption, so let's just be honest about how hard this is. Right from the start.

And let's uphold all who brave this experience with eyes wide open and hearts to match.

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Thank you Elizabeth, for this reminder of the depth of a birthmother's grief, pain and loss.

I think I better understand why many hearts continues to weep (including mine), even this many years after placement.

Karen

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Elizabeth,

I really appreciate what you have written, though I couldn’t open the link, I would like to comment on this. Every once in a while I read here and there on the adoptive side and I am truly happy for all those families that have been completed or started with the blessing of a child through adoption, and I really try hard to stay as neutral as possible, even though it is still very difficult for me to read about all those celebrations and at the same time watch my child hurt and I wish daily things could have been so different. So many things of what you have touched on were things I thought about.

Though I have been little by little trying to share our story, I am going to jump way ahead and share some of my fears when my daughter and I finally started on this journey of adoption and why she/we chose to use Abrazo. (Beside the fact it is run by compassionate females)

The terminology of “giving a child away” leaves a bad taste in my mouth, to me, it certainly seems as if it is just something useless or no longer needed or wanted that can just be handed over. My daughter and I did a lot of soul searching, and we struggled and agonized at the decision. Not really being familiar with what all an open adoption consisted of, it was the goal of Abrazo that made us chose you, after we spoke with Pamela, an open adoption was so much easier to handle then it would have been with a closed adoption, it still was no less going to be devastating and heartbreaking, a change and void in our hearts and life forever. The knowledge that all the perspective parents wanted to stay close to their child’s first parents and wanted them to be part of their child’s life, were a blessing for us to hear. Even though, some of my biggest fears were, what if some of these perspective parents only say they want an open adoption, and agree with all the terms, say all the right things, just to make it possible to get a child. Then after they take her/our child home, everything changes; they didn’t really intend to honor their part. That certainly would be a tragedy, and I would think no less a down fall for the adoptive parents, when that day would come when their child would find out that they could have had a close bond with their biological family all along, but their parents prevented it, so many heartaches just because of someone’s insecurities or possessiveness.

I also didn’t want anyone to try and take advantage of my daughter or the situation, being a teen, most perspective parents, especially with the age group she was seeking would be anywhere from 14 to 25 years older than her, would they try to manipulate her or blow her off. Would they understand that even though she was still a child herself, she was no less going to be going through one of the hardest process that no one could imagine unless they had experienced a loss of a child themselves. Would the couple she chose say, we have what we want, we don’t have to honor our commitment, and keep our word, sort of thing (that business transaction). Not come right out and say it, but their actions would still be there, the birth/expectant families are at the mercy of the adoptive parents once the child is placed in their arms, the adoptive families unfortunately would be holding all the aces. I don’t know how many other birth families or expectant parents have felt this way. But it was a true and very real fear of mine. This was some of the feedback we had heard about the Dallas agency.

As we sat and talked to you, Audra, and Angela, and I shared my concerns in regards to it really being an open adoption in the TRUE sense, the way it was explained and the assurance that all perspective parents knew what the expectations were, you and your teams commitment and compassion for the expectant parent, and the reality of having that extended family and the ability to remain close to OUR angel along with building a bond with the family that was chosen and having that closeness and bond continue to build even stronger after my grandchild was ENTRUSTED to others to raise was a blessing. It didn’t rid me completely of All those negative thoughts, plus so much more, I mean the possibility was always there, and those fears can make it very difficult when selecting, and no matter what one does or how careful we want to be it is a very real fear. My daughter and I always prayed together that we would make the right choice the right fit.

I have read about some wonderful relationships between the birthparents and adoptive parents, and I applaud those that have kept their commitment and are doing their part to try and ease the heartache and pain of their child’s first parents, so what you are all doing at Abrazo is wonderful, as long as everyone truly understands, is honestly seeking and is committed to a “TRUE OPEN ADOPTON.” If everything happens as planned, No child should ever feel that they were “given away,” “not wanted,” “not loved” or worse “just thrown away,” by their birth parents and not “lied to” by their adoptive parents. The expectant parents are very vulnerable and are truly taking what they are told and promised at face value. Perspective parents or adoptive parents can make the difference for the positive if they are sincere and their heart is in the right place.

Thanks for letting me share, sorry this was long....

Much love to all,

Mari

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Mari,

Thank you for sharing. God bless you! I pray that you always have a strong bond with your grandbaby's adoptive family.

Thank you for posting the link Elizabeth. We definitely need to be reminded of the pain birth mothers feel, so that we are always true to our open adoption promises. I wish everyone could read that article!

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Thank you for posting the link Elizabeth. We definitely need to be reminded of the pain birth mothers feel, so that we are always true to our open adoption promises. I wish everyone could read that article!

Eileen, your words are so true. It can be so easy to forget the pain of our birthfamilies when we are apart from them especially when you know that nothing you do or say will ever erase their hurt. I second your opinion that this article is a must read for everyone.

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I have no idea what birthmothers feel when they make an adoption plan for their child. I can't even imagine... My mom made an adoption plan when she had twins (before she married my dad). I did not find out about it until I was 18 years old (1994) when my "sister" (Dina) called my grandma. She searched out my mom and wanted to meet her. We met her a few months later and had a relationship with her and her family for a few years.

Then my dad died and my mom totally shut everyone out. Dina (my sister) pretty much dropped all contact with us. I sent her a bday card every year with an update and little message, but never heard back from her. So about 3 years ago I sent her the bday card and very nicely said I don't know what happened (because at the time I didn't) but if she didn't want to have a relationship anymore I would not try to contact her again. So she called about a year after that card/message and said she did want contact with my sister and me. It was a very emotional phone conversation. She wasn't ready to talk with my mom yet because she felt abandoned for the 2nd time (1st the adoption and 2nd when my mom shut everyone out). My heart went out to her.

Our relationship sadly has not gone forward. That conversation was the last one I had with her, and it was about 2 years ago. My heart is sad for how she feels and I wish I could undo how she feels. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to keep calling or writing if she doesn't want contact. I've talked with her mom and her mom stays in contact with my grandma but that's about it.

So my situation is a little different but I long for a relationship with my sister and brother (who was adopted with my sister). It would've been AMAZING if we had contact with them as we were growing up. I feel if that were the case we would still be in contact today. I'm not a birthmother who had to make the hardest decision but I am one of the siblings that would be affected.

-Rebecca

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Its so true Mari - Adoption is a painful process for the placing family - and it doesn't stop being painful over the course of time. I so hope that your story and your particiaption here will be the reminder that we all need. The pain can be easier with open relationships - for everyone including the children - and its that why adoption happens inthe 1st place as an option that is good for the children. And in your case - for your child and her child. Be blessed

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I have no idea what birthmothers feel when they make an adoption plan for their child. I can't even imagine... My mom made an adoption plan when she had twins (before she married my dad). I did not find out about it until I was 18 years old (1994) when my "sister" (Dina) called my grandma. She searched out my mom and wanted to meet her. We met her a few months later and had a relationship with her and her family for a few years.

Then my dad died and my mom totally shut everyone out. Dina (my sister) pretty much dropped all contact with us. I sent her a bday card every year with an update and little message, but never heard back from her. So about 3 years ago I sent her the bday card and very nicely said I don't know what happened (because at the time I didn't) but if she didn't want to have a relationship anymore I would not try to contact her again. So she called about a year after that card/message and said she did want contact with my sister and me. It was a very emotional phone conversation. She wasn't ready to talk with my mom yet because she felt abandoned for the 2nd time (1st the adoption and 2nd when my mom shut everyone out). My heart went out to her.

Our relationship sadly has not gone forward. That conversation was the last one I had with her, and it was about 2 years ago. My heart is sad for how she feels and I wish I could undo how she feels. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to keep calling or writing if she doesn't want contact. I've talked with her mom and her mom stays in contact with my grandma but that's about it.

So my situation is a little different but I long for a relationship with my sister and brother (who was adopted with my sister). It would've been AMAZING if we had contact with them as we were growing up. I feel if that were the case we would still be in contact today. I'm not a birthmother who had to make the hardest decision but I am one of the siblings that would be affected.

-Rebecca

Rebecca,

Oh, please don't give up, it is a tough situation for you. Your sister may be proctecting herself from any more hurt, unconditional love for your brother and sister and not giving up on them even if things are tough right now, will no doubt convince them that you love them and want them in your life. I really hope it works out for your mom as well.. You are all in my prayers and thoughts.

Blessings,

Mari

"We must accept finite disappointment,but we must never lose infinite hope."

Martin Luther King Jr.

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Thank you Mari, for sharing these important thoughts that you and your daughter had to wrestle with in making a placement decision, finding and trusting a family to raise your grandbaby AND keeping placement promises for a lifetime.

It's alot to grasp, and all any of us have is faith, at the time.

Coming from the adopting parent side, I have said before I did not feel worthy of our Blessing, this baby to call our own. Yes, I know we signed up for it and did all the required steps and so forth. But when I first saw our daughter at the hospital with her first Mom...it was a life changing moment. My daughter's birthmom asked me, "do you like her?" I was speechless, my knees went weak. She was the most beautiful baby I'd ever laid eyes on.

What did our child's birthfamily see in us that we did not see in ourselves yet? She believed in us before we even knew how to change a diaper. How did she know we'd be good parents and honor our commitment to open adoption? She believed in her heart we would...

And we have, to the best of our ability.

Thank you Abrazo for continuing to educate us beyond placement about the importance of openness and keeping our promises.

Love to you all,

Karen

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Interestingly enough, the San Francisco Gate is rerunning a Redbook article that's complementary to the one cited in my first post on this thread, as if presenting the opposite side of the coin:

THIS IS WHAT ADOPTION FEELS LIKE.

My favorite quote from this piece follows, here. I imagine most of Abrazo's families who've adopted can relate:

"No one I know who has adopted would say that the journey came without heartache.

And we all recognize that a lot of heartache is also experienced by the birth parents, and understand that just because they weren't able to raise their kids doesn't mean that they don't love them deeply.

But even though growing our family has been a lot harder than I ever imagined when I made that simple life plan back in high school, I wouldn't change a single step on our path to parenthood -- because each one led us to our daughter."

-- Gina Shaw

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Thank you Mari, for sharing these important thoughts that you and your daughter had to wrestle with in making a placement decision, finding and trusting a family to raise your grandbaby AND keeping placement promises for a lifetime.

It's alot to grasp, and all any of us have is faith, at the time.

Coming from the adopting parent side, I have said before I did not feel worthy of our Blessing, this baby to call our own. Yes, I know we signed up for it and did all the required steps and so forth. But when I first saw our daughter at the hospital with her first Mom...it was a life changing moment. My daughter's birthmom asked me, "do you like her?" I was speechless, my knees went weak. She was the most beautiful baby I'd ever laid eyes on.

What did our child's birthfamily see in us that we did not see in ourselves yet? She believed in us before we even knew how to change a diaper. How did she know we'd be good parents and honor our commitment to open adoption? She believed in her heart we would...

And we have, to the best of our ability.

Thank you Abrazo for continuing to educate us beyond placement about the importance of openness and keeping our promises.

Love to you all,

Karen

Oh Karen... you are making me cry. You are wonderful!

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I contacted my sister that was placed for adoption. We haven't talked in over a year. She was happy to hear from me and wants to get together for a weekend. We said the same thing last year, but I'm going to be more proactive in getting a weekend set up. It feels good to have called. I guess I shouldn't wait so long next time. I guess it is just hard because she has issues with my mom (mainly from when my dad died and she cut herself off from everyone). I feel weird if my mom asks if I've talked with Dina. I don't lie to her, but then I feel in the middle. I guess I'm just going to have to get over that.

-Rebecca

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Rebecca, I am so glad you found the courage to reach out and try again. A dear friend of mine who was adopted found his birthmom about 10 years ago, and learned that he had a living birthbrother. His birthmom didn't want her son to know about him, however, so he did not make contact.

After his birthmother died, he felt more comfortable with the idea of contacting the brother that didn't know about him, but he kept waiting for the perfect time, and this past week, he was crushed to learn that his birthbrother passed away unexpectedly just days ago.

There's no time like the present to try to break free from the past by building bridges for the future! I hope you and your birthsister will find success in your efforts to grow a genuine rapport and a lasting friendship.

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Elizabeth,

I have read about some wonderful relationships between the birthparents and adoptive parents, and I applaud those that have kept their commitment and are doing their part to try and ease the heartache and pain of their child’s first parents, so what you are all doing at Abrazo is wonderful, as long as everyone truly understands, is honestly seeking and is committed to a “TRUE OPEN ADOPTON.” If everything happens as planned, No child should ever feel that they were “given away,” “not wanted,” “not loved” or worse “just thrown away,” by their birth parents and not “lied to” by their adoptive parents. The expectant parents are very vulnerable and are truly taking what they are told and promised at face value. Perspective parents or adoptive parents can make the difference for the positive if they are sincere and their heart is in the right place.

Thanks for letting me share, sorry this was long....

Much love to all,

Mari

Mari,

Your message really touched me and I felt led to respond. After many years of trying to conceive, with help from an Infertility doctor, my husband and I got pregnant. Unfortunately at my first ultrasound visit we found out that our baby was in my tube and had to be removed. Although our baby was taken very early on I can understand to some degree how you and your daughter feel. We are so fortunate that we found Abrazo and have been blessed by the work that they do. We now have a 3 year old and a 6 month old who are biological brothers. We have a wonderful relationship with our sons' birthfamily and because of that relationship when they needed to make another birth plan they chose us so that the brothers could be together. We vacation with them, they visit our home and we make as many trips from Georgia to San Antonio to visit them. All of the adoptive parents that I have met through Abrazo truly believe in the "Open Adoption" experience and are willing to have as much of a relationship that you and your daughter want. Please know that Abrazo does a wonderful job explaining "Open Adoption" to prospective adoptive parents! I am sure that your choice in adoptive parents for your sweet grandbaby is the right one and they will honor "Open Adoption" in every sense of the word.

Donna

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<!--quoteo(post=181780:date=Jul 14 2009, 01:42 AM:name=1st x grandma)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (1st x grandma @ Jul 14 2009, 01:42 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=181780"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Elizabeth,

I have read about some wonderful relationships between the birthparents and adoptive parents, and I applaud those that have kept their commitment and are doing their part to try and ease the heartache and pain of their child’s first parents, so what you are all doing at Abrazo is wonderful, as long as everyone truly understands, is honestly seeking and is committed to a “TRUE OPEN ADOPTON.” If everything happens as planned, No child should ever feel that they were “given away,” “not wanted,” “not loved” or worse “just thrown away,” by their birth parents and not “lied to” by their adoptive parents. The expectant parents are very vulnerable and are truly taking what they are told and promised at face value. Perspective parents or adoptive parents can make the difference for the positive if they are sincere and their heart is in the right place.

Thanks for letting me share, sorry this was long....

Much love to all,

Mari<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Mari,

Your message really touched me and I felt led to respond. After many years of trying to conceive, with help from an Infertility doctor, my husband and I got pregnant. Unfortunately at my first ultrasound visit we found out that our baby was in my tube and had to be removed. Although our baby was taken very early on I can understand <i>to some degree </i> how you and your daughter feel. We are so fortunate that we found Abrazo and have been blessed by the work that they do. We now have a 3 year old and a 6 month old who are biological brothers. We have a wonderful relationship with our sons' birthfamily and because of that relationship when they needed to make another birth plan they chose us so that the brothers could be together. We vacation with them, they visit our home and we make as many trips from Georgia to San Antonio to visit them. All of the adoptive parents that I have met through Abrazo truly believe in the "Open Adoption" experience and are willing to have as much of a relationship that you and your daughter want. Please know that Abrazo does a wonderful job explaining "Open Adoption" to prospective adoptive parents! I am sure that your choice in adoptive parents for your sweet grandbaby is the right one and they will honor "Open Adoption" in every sense of the word.

Donna

Donna,

First of all, I am so sorry for the loss of your child, my oldest daughter lost her first child (only pregnancy so far) and I know the pain that she experienced, even though she really hasn’t been actively planning (I guess I can say it that way) to conceive, but she is not taking any precautions not to, if she gets pregnant, great, she is ready.. I sometimes think about that though, if she hasn’t conceived yet, will she be able to? And if she can not naturally again, what road might she take and how will it affect her.

I thought the same thing with my daughter (due to whom we are part of the Abrazo family), one day when she is ready for a family, will she be able to have more children? If not what/how will it all affect her, knowing that the only child she could biologically have was not with her. I know that is a long way down the road (it better be), but as I had mentioned above, that those were some of the fears and thoughts I had, this one was also up there..I mean, there are so many things that went through our minds, many we discussed, and others, I kept to myself. I agree Abrazo does a wonderful job, but again, it is up to the individuals, to really honor their promises, just as we put faith in Abrazo, Abrazo puts their faith in those involved. With the start of this journey, you really don’t know how you feel, or what to think, or if your making the “right choice”.. We pray and put our faith in God that the right choice is made.

What an awesome relationship you have with your children’s first family..What I am sure many families dream of when they talk “open adoption”.. I don’t want to think of it as unique, because I am sure there are many out there like yours.. What a Wonderful GIFT to your children. Abrazo must have a picture of your entire family, instead of a poster child as a poster family for new perspective (extended) families. We are just learning how to navigate this intricate process that is so new to not only us but my grand daughter’s adoptive family. With time I hope our families are as comfortable with each other as you and your family is.

Thank you for your wonderful insight.. May you and your entire family always have a beautiful relationship filled with love, memories and warmth..

Blessings, to you and yours,

Mari

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Mari,

I always wondered why, up until March 21, 2006, why I could not have the baby that we lost and when Ethan came into the picture it made perfect sense to me. If that had not happened I would not have met one of the most wonderful little boys ever, my Ethan. And then 3 years later his little brother, Gavin, who is as sweet as he can be. The Lord knew that they would need Tony and I as well as their first family and he always has the perfect plan.

The openness that we share with their birth family is primarily for their benefit but we have grown to love them as our own family so we always say they 'adopted' us. :) I pray that over time you and yours will have a very close relationship with your grandchild's adoptive family and that it will be everything you want it to be. Please don't hesitate if you need anything or if I can be of any help to you or your daughter.

All my prayers,

Donna

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From Psychology Today: One Woman's Truth on Placing Her Child for Adoption

(I flinch whenever I see the term "semi-open" because that is SUCH an oxymoron in my book! but I do appreciate this woman's candor in talking about her adoption experience and I hope one day that neither she nor her child's adopters will feel any reason to hold each other at arm's length, but rather, embrace each other fully in a open manner that breaks down the semi-walls.)

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