Lynn Sollitto tells of the difficulties that arose for her when a desire to remain open to her daughters’ first mother collided with the imperative to protect her children from unsafe and unpredictable situations — either which could lead to physical and/or emotional trauma.
Foster Adoption / Infant Adoption
In 2008, my husband and I adopted Paige through foster care after I assisted her birth mother, Ruth, in labor. A year later, Paige’s older sister Payton joined our family.
We had a connection to the girls’ birth family and were open to have an open adoption. This would consist of online pictures and updates through Facebook. Direct contact would be addressed later, when the girls were older and understood more, and Ruth could claim a history of sobriety.
We made the requirements for contact clear: Ruth needed to stay clean, out of jail, and gainfully employed. Essentially, she needed to live the life that would have enabled her to keep her children.
This never came.
Continue reading Everybody Owns a Scar: Trials in an Open Foster Adoption
Question: Lori, I am trying to wrap my head around this. How do we live out Both/And from a foster care adoption perspective? Our kids were taken from their birth parents for good reason. We have all the info, the original birth certificates, case files, all of that. But no contact with birth parents. And we have been advised not to for safety reasons (the caseworker made a point of me seeing one of the parents via a one way mirror so I would know if I ever ran into him to run the other way).
I want to give our kids this wholeness. The best we have been able to do is some contact with a paternal grandmother for one child. And we know the adoptive parents of the other child’s older siblings, but we have no control over contact. So far the other adoptive parents shy away from it because it is so upsetting for their kids. No matter what we do these folks will not be a part of their lives in the every day.
How can we have openness in our situation and not split our babies? —Jenny
Continue reading Trying to Wrap My Head Around This
Question: Can you talk about open adoption for foster kids who have been abused? We are about to adopt Daughter through foster care and there has been severe and repeated abuse. Birth Dad was the abuser and is in jail for it, and we’re not sure how to proceed with Birth Mom. By court order, Daughter hasn’t seen her in months, possibly a year by the time the adoption is final. I’m concerned about Birth Mom’s lack of understanding of the severity of the situation and her lack of concern for the safety and welfare of Daughter. — Kate
Guest advising today is Addison Cooper, LCSW, of Adoption at the Movies. Addison is a supervising social worker for a foster care/adoption agency, and he lives in Southern California.
Dear Kate: It’s wonderful that you’re starting from a position of wanting to be open. In any adoption, the ideal and desired outcome is a healthy openness — to the degree possible. Continue reading How to Have Openness in a Foster Adoption