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What's Your Ideal Situation In Open Adoption

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I post on another forum site for infertility....There is a thread on adoption and it was very heated after the below was posted. Changed the name for privacy but could not resist on how future adoptive parents REALLY think about their IDEAL situation. I fired back some lengthy posts about the below dialogue between Julie & "future AP family?".

What's your thoughts? Comments?

Julie, I can't speak from experience at this point, but I'll share why open adoption (if a domestic newborn situation) is the ONLY way we would consider adopting.

I would never want my child to grow up wondering all about his birth parents, building them up and creating a mystique about them because they know so little about them. I can imagine our child becoming a teenager and, during the inevitable stormy times of adolescence, wishing he had been raised by his birth mother. Instead, I would want him to know his birth mother so there's no mystery. I want him to know about that side of the family... because that's how I think of it... a side of the family. I can see the birth mother joining us for family celebrations, as she felt comfortable.

Of course, this is assuming my ideal situation would be the case... that the birth mother would be a good Christian girl from a good family, who just made a mistake. I wouldn't feel comfortable with an open adoption from, say, someone who was a chain-smoking bar hopper with a lot of "drama." That's the kind of birth mother I imagine would badmouth the adoptive family... I have a hard time imaging that sort of ill will if the birth mother were from a good Christian home

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Um, this reminds me of the story Elizabeth told us at our orientation about the couple that wanted a child from a "virgin" birthmother. They didn't want to raise a child from "that kind of girl". I can only imagine the stupidty lurking behind such ridiculous exteriors. Jesus said that we are to be examples of HIS love to the world. I doubt that Jesus would refuse to adopt someone from one of "those kinds of people". I read the Bible to say very clearly that we are to be Salt and Light to an otherwise dark world. That means LOVING "those kinds of people", not just loving those who are like us. Makes me sick that such bigots call themselves "Christians".

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Um, this reminds me of the story Elizabeth told us at our orientation about the couple that wanted a child from a "virgin" birthmother. They didn't want to raise a child from "that kind of girl". I can only imagine the stupidty lurking behind such ridiculous exteriors. Jesus said that we are to be examples of HIS love to the world. I doubt that Jesus would refuse to adopt someone from one of "those kinds of people". I read the Bible to say very clearly that we are to be Salt and Light to an otherwise dark world. That means LOVING "those kinds of people", not just loving those who are like us. Makes me sick that such bigots call themselves "Christians".

As I shake my head and say out loud, "By the grace of God..." How many of US are or where "those types of people"?

I try very hard to remember that one decision or series of decisions can lead ANYONE down a very different path than they imagined.

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This topic reminds me when we were PIW and I got a referral to call a young pregnant girl in North Texas. She asked me "My mom wants to know what religion you are?" I replied "Catholic," and the girl said "Well, we're Baptist." I knew right then we didn't fit their "ideal" image of a Baptist or at least Protestant Evangelical couple. Jeff asked me later why I just didn't reply "Christian." I knew the next question would be "what church," with the same outcome. I was perceptive enough to gleen from the way the conversation was going that her parents had strict "requirements" for the religious affliation of any perspective adoptive parent(s), and we clearly didn't meet those requirements.

Of course God had a plan, and Catherine's birthmother and birthfather are both Catholic. They wanted their child to grow up in the traditions of the Catholic Church. Whenever Catherine complains that "church is boring" or she does not want to enroll in another year of Religious Education, I remind her of the trust her birthparents' put in us to "bring her up in the Faith" and the promises we made to God at her baptism to do so.

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As I shake my head and say out loud, "By the grace of God..." How many of US are or where "those types of people"?

I try very hard to remember that one decision or series of decisions can lead ANYONE down a very different path than they imagined.

That is exactly how I feel...only by the grace of God did my life turn out the way it did. I have made my fair share of mistakes and I think no human is perfect. "First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" Matthew 7:5

This topic reminds me when we were PIW and I got a referral to call a young pregnant girl in North Texas. She asked me "My mom wants to know what religion you are?" I replied "Catholic," and the girl said "Well, we're Baptist." I knew right then we didn't fit their "ideal" image of a Baptist or at least Protestant Evangelical couple. Jeff asked me later why I just didn't reply "Christian." I knew the next question would be "what church," with the same outcome. I was perceptive enough to gleen from the way the conversation was going that her parents had strict "requirements" for the religious affliation of any perspective adoptive parent(s), and we clearly didn't meet those requirements.

Of course God had a plan, and Catherine's birthmother and birthfather are both Catholic. They wanted their child to grow up in the traditions of the Catholic Church. Whenever Catherine complains that "church is boring" or she does not want to enroll in another year of Religious Education, I remind her of the trust her birthparents' put in us to "bring her up in the Faith" and the promises we made to God at her baptism to do so.

Where is the 'like' button on the forum? :D I like that you are honoring her birthparents wishes.

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Where is the 'like' button on the forum?

I find myself looking for the "like" button all the time! :D

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I find myself looking for the "like" button all the time! :D

It's on the bottom right-hand corner of everyone's posts, actually! They're called "reputation points" here. :) It's a little green circle with a + sign.

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Oh thanks! Haven't been on the forum in a while...glad to know :D

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I find myself looking for the "like" button all the time! :D

It's on the bottom right-hand corner of everyone's posts, actually! They're called "reputation points" here. :) It's a little green circle with a + sign.

Thanks!! I really "like" that!

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I find myself looking for the "like" button all the time! :D

It's on the bottom right-hand corner of everyone's posts, actually! They're called "reputation points" here. :) It's a little green circle with a + sign.

Thanks for sharing. I did not know that. That's quite neat.

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Of course, this is assuming my ideal situation would be the case... that the birth mother would be a good Christian girl from a good family, who just made a mistake. I wouldn't feel comfortable with an open adoption from, say, someone who was a chain-smoking bar hopper with a lot of "drama." That's the kind of birth mother I imagine would badmouth the adoptive family... I have a hard time imaging that sort of ill will if the birth mother were from a good Christian home[/i][/b][/color]

I have been trying really hard not to respond because I think even at Abrazo, we still have plenty of clients who still think this way, at least initially, and that pains me to admit it.

Yet... it's all too easy to forget that expectant parents living within ideal circumstances rarely need to place.

(And that children who were once adopted still need their parents to honor their primal connection to "chain-smoking bar hopping birthparents with lots of drama" just as much as those whose birthparents are good Christians from good families.)

Obviously, some adoptive parents struggle with entitlement issues, and need to view themselves or their life choices as being of a superior quality to those of their child's birthparent/s. But can you imagine the unspoken message that is relayed (and repeated) to the adoptee, who grows up understanding they ultimately were someone's "mistake"?

Much of what is unspoken in the comments of "Future Adoptive Family" has to do with eugenics, and the idea of "better stock" (and those attitudes are still alive and well in the greater adoption community today, unfortunately.)

Let's be honest: most adoptive families DO come to the adoption process hoping for a "smooth" (read: drama-free) placement experience, and some do expect to be protected by a hermetically-sealed bubble that exempts them from the effects of the dramatic circumstances surrounding those who must place. Those are the ones who are "fine with openness"... so long as none of the chaos of their child's birthparents' lives impacts them, as well.

And most birthparents who place are likewise hoping that their child's life will be free of drama, too, and they don't expect their future to be affected by chaos in the adoptive parents' lives, because they've generally been assured that the people to whom they are entrusting their child are more stable and secure than they themselves are.

But the ideal situation in open adoption, in my mind, is for an adopting family and a placing family to appreciate that their contrasting circumstances do not compromise their shared commitment to a child's welfare... that the differences in their background need not define their friendship... and that the child for whom they are both responsible will ultimately grow up to reflect the very best of whom both families are, in this life.

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Ok, I am going to come clean. I fantasized just a bit, coming to adoption, before I became in tune with the real world, with needs much more intense than I ever allowed myself to think about.

I thought our birthfamily might be this highschool cheerleader and her boyfriend, football player, first loves, who just accidentally got pregnant. Gosh, I can't believe I even thought this. Why would this situation even need me?

Sorry for my thoughts, just had to be honest.

But the reality of the situation of "who" needed us as parents was much more powerful than my so called ideal thoughts... thankfully. A clear understanding that adoption isn't about my needs.

And so I am going to keep faith, that many parents in waiting can and do continue to grow their hearts, preferences and acceptances, while on their adoption journey.

Karen

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Karen - I don't think that's bad! Nearly all of us come into this with the hopes that a situation as ideal as possible reaches us.

I think most of us came to Abrazo with a totally different thought process than we do now. Different beliefs and convictions. Someone had to teach me, guide me, act as an example to me. I have a hard time even remembering back to those days, but I'm absolutely positive that if I ran into the 3-years-ago-me on the street, that person would make me feel ashamed now. I don't think many of us realize how naive we were until our eyes were opened and it's sad to think about how many people adopt - even through Abrazo - whose eyes (and minds) are still closed.

I, too, remember thinking a situation of "...high school first loves get pregnant and want more of their lives..." would be "ideal," and although our situation did involve a teen, her life was so much harder than I ever could have imagined. Like you said, Karen, now I'm thinking "why would this situation even need me?!" It's just the naivity that we all have starting out before our eyes are opened and it's almost hard to fault people for that. Just like it's hard to fault friends for the uneducated remarks they make.

I like to think people inherently WANT to be good. I know there are people out there who wouldn't look at open adoption (and birthparent situations) through a different lens even if you tried to open their eyes, but I'd like to believe (hope) that many would. I suppose that's why the Abrazo ladies never stop trying.

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I know it's not bad per se, it's embarrassing, it's just where I was 16 years ago, completely niave about some of life's most important Blessings. I am not sure I would have ever posted this particular thought at the time, like I say it was more of a fantasy than a requirement. Unlike some of the demands and expectations by folks wanting to adopt, who are posting on public forums today.

Likewise, thankfully our children's first parents did not expect us to be somebody we were not. Because if they were looking for perfect people, we would surely not fit that preference. :)

Karen

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For more about the historical significance of the "what KIND of family do we want to adopt from" debate, take a look at THIS. (Check out the historical photo at the left of this article... how many of Abrazo's families would take top prize in the "Fitter Families" contests of yore, I wonder?)

Here's a blogger who is also a birthmom and has a thing or two to say about adoption programs that focus on working only with the "right kind" of people: Motherhood Deleted.

And if you've never ventured into the topic of "selective breeding", enter at your own risk.

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