Beware any article that paints open adoption as terrible. Beware any article that paints open adoption as wonderful. Open adoption — which occurs when people come together under less-than-optimal circumstances — is a mix of the sublime and the sorrowful.
I was encouraged when I saw a headline for a TODAY Parents article: “Open Adoption is not something to fear.” That statement, I believe, is true. If parents are entering into the lifelong responsibility of adopting a child, they need to be willing and able to give her, over her lifetime, all she needs to become whole and integrated. This means adoptive parents must be willing to identify and resolve their own fears and insecurities about not being the Only in their child’s life. (As the author says, she was “scared to death” about having to share her child. But she worked through that fear, as adoptive parents need to do).
So I’m on board with the title. But much of what comes after that is problematic. Here are the top 4 issues that jump out at me.
1. The Word “Our”
The article’s subheading “Finding Our Birth Mom” violates two oft-invoked rules in cross-triad groups, groups that seek to understand the perspectives of adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents.
Continue reading 4 Problems with NBC TODAY Parents Adoption Article
Imagine a glorious time in the future when all desired adoption laws are passed and all adoption arrangements are codified. Won’t it be great to be finished with the hard work of adoption reform?
While changes in adoption laws and policy are necessary, these alone will not make Adoption World all better. If laws were the endpoints, then the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments would have resulted in immediate equality and justice for free and formerly enslaved African Americans — but it didn’t. Now, even 150 years later, our society struggles with these same issues.
Continue reading Reforming Adoption at Your Level
Nobody Told Us
Have you heard this from a birth parent?
- No one told me it would hurt this much for this long.
- No one told me how much I would see myself in my child.
- No one told me how my feelings would fluctuate over time.
- They told me about open adoption, but no one told me how hard it would be to navigate these relationships and feelings.
Or this from an adoptive parent?
- Wasn’t it supposed to be easy if we adopted at birth? No one told us there could still be issues of loss and grief.
- No one told me how much I would want my child to have his/her whole story.
- No one told me parenting by adoption would be different from parenting by biology. In fact, we were told the opposite, that it was exactly the same.
- No one told me I would be open to so many people loving this child.
Continue reading #NotInTheBrochure: A Plan to Make Adoption World Better
Hospitals continually strive to improve so many aspects of patient care. What improvements are being made in the way we “do” adoption at the hospital?
Pioneered in Colorado at Parker Adventist Hospital, the Family to Family Support Network is going national in helping families create child-centered open adoptions from the very beginning, through adoption training in hospital labor and delivery wards.
Here is an interview with founder Rebecca Vahle on why she’s made it her mission* that more and more hospitals serve EVERYONE involved in a possible adoption situation more effectively.
Continue reading why this program is necessary for nurses, for adopting parents, for women and men in unplanned pregnancies, for babies, and for hospital administrators and stakeholders — and what you can do to bring it to your local hospital.
* I am so stoked about Family to Family’s mission that I have recently joined its board of directors.