Last week someone volunteered me to start up an advice column.
I don’t know what came over me during that webinar. I’d been fielding many questions in advance of it, and people were lining up afterward to ask even more questions. We couldn’t get to them all in the allotted time so out slipped the outlandish notion — from my own mouth — that I would answer in this space anyone who emailed me at a later time.
At the same time, I did a much better job on this than did the venerable Dear Abby.
To make advice-giving feel doable and true, I have three declarations. (1) I won’t be telling people what they should do. I’ll be saying what *I* might do, were I in the asker’s position. (2) I may call on others to help with answers from time to time, tapping into group wisdom. (3) I am not trained as a therapist.
As always, readers are encouraged to weigh in thoughtfully and respectfully. I ask everyone to remember that this is a teaching endeavor rather than a shaming endeavor, and that we aim to bring light rather than heat. It’s my belief that people do the best they can with what they have to work with, and our goal is to give folks more to work with.
We’ll launch the advice column below with a short Q&A for those who want to continue.
Open Adoption Advice Inaugural Question
Dear Lavvie: What if the woman who is considering placing with us wants a closed adoption. Is there anything I can do to offer more openness? We talk currently through the agency. She has started to open up more as the wait and due date has gotten closer, though.
It’s great that you are open to openness even from this early stage. Be advised that openness is not the same as contact, and that independent of the decisions made by a birth parent, adoptive parents can still cultivate openness.
There will likely be wide swings of emotions between now and birth and placement, and decisions may be subject to change, so don’t fret now that she’ll NEVER be available.
Should the mom still want to close the door behind her after placement, you may simply have to accept. This means you find yourself in Box 3, in which you can focus on openness with your child, even with a lack of contact with his/her birth mom. In Chapter 9 of my book (The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption) we talk about how to maintain an “open door” adoption in the absence of a participating first parent. I hope you find it helpful.
Dear Readers, what say you?