I’ve long advocated for openness in adoption for the sake of the adopted person, the baby/toddler/tween/teen/adult who is gradually building their identity, their relationships, and their patterns for how they will move through the world.
But, as an advice column in Slate shows, openness can also save the adoptive parents from a world of hurt. Namely, of being gobsmacked by their son’s/daughter’s “sudden” interest in birth parents.
The Either/Or mindset that we inherited from the Closed Adoption Era is so strong and so prevalent. As a result of it, some parents cling to the hope that, to their child, they are the only parents. As if to confirm their bias, they assume that if the son/daughter isn’t talking about birth parents, that they aren’t thinking about them.
Continue reading How to Avoid Being Gobsmacked by your 18 Year-Old Adoptee
Hello, 30something woman on baby forums and infertility groups. May I call you Jessica? You don’t know me, but I was once where you were. I had finally met the man of my dreams, the guy I wanted to build a life with, the father of my future children. I felt so lucky!
Then after a few years of near-unbearable amounts of physical and emotional pain and expense, it became clear we could not make a baby. No way, no how. End of story. Not gonna happen. So WRONG. So unfair. So unlucky.
It was the most horrible thing I’d ever been through. It almost broke me. I was so deeply hurt. Angry. Jealous. Lost. Devastated. I couldn’t take much more. I wanted to be a mom. Was that so wrong? People do this effortlessly — even accidentally! — all the dang time.
Adopting After Infertility
Eventually, we set foot on the path of adoption. Surely after all we’d been through, the gods would bless us with an easy path. Surely we deserved something simple and doable. After all that bad luck, things had to even out, right? Please god, just bring us a baby. We will be the best parents ever. I promise promise promise.
Continue reading To the Woman Who Longs to Be a Mom and Who Says “I Want a Closed Adoption”
You tell a small lie or you keep the truth out of something, and your intention is to go back and tell the truth. But then you forget, or you get comfortable in that missing truth part, and it just gets bigger and grows.
And so it was this energy that was accumulating. Nobody was saying anything about until I was like,
“I can’t do this anymore. I have to tell him.”
— Clemencia Deleon, birth mom in a kinship adoption —
Imagine you are 18 years old and parenting a 4 month old boy, a path you don’t feel prepared for or supported in at all. You have an older half-brother; he and his wife have been struggling to conceive. You end up placing your baby with them in what is agreed to be an open adoption.
But in practice, it’s not open. Sure you have contact at family get-togethers. You get to see him. But years later, his parents have declined to tell him that he was adopted and that you are his birth mom. As he grows older, you are pressed to either stay complicit with this lie of omission, or spill the beans without their permission.
In this new podcast episode of Adoption: The Long View, Clemencia Deleon tells her story of a kinship adoption gone wrong, her quest for emotional intelligence over the years, her moment of truth in finding her voice, and lessons learned to share with you.
Continue reading Clemencia Deleon: Truth-Telling & Emotional Intelligence in a Kinship Adoption