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I have some fears about open adoption, and was wondering if anyone had any advice about it
Fears about open adoption:
- It's less like having my own child and more like I'm just paying and raising someone else`s kid for them because they couldn't afford it.
- When they turn into a teen it will be easier for them to fantasize about wanting to be with their birth parent and something can happen on that front because they are the real parent and I'm just the mean lady who sets rules they don't like
- I'm going to be second mommy and no matter what I'm not a the real mom even though when I want to adopt the child, I don't care who they were born from, in my heart they will be mine, regardless of how they got to me. and that idea will be harder because no matter what its always in my face that the other woman is around and in my childs life
- they will want input on how my child is raised and give them bad advice that I wouldn't want my child having. and because they are their birth mother they will take this advice more then what I would say just because I'm "the other mom" not the real mom
I don't know, these are all just things going through my mind as I think about what kind of adoption I want.
Also I will be adopting in brazil while living in brazil. My husband is brazilian and it will be an easier process. But I worry about who the family will be. and where they come from. and what kind of values they have, and don't have. and its a completely different culture for me. and even really my husband, who was born and raised in brazil but is japanese 100% and has japanese values of how children should be raised and such. It will be hard enough with us compromising with ourselves without the birth family trying to put in some input as well.
On the other hand, I would love the information about the birth family such as medical history, the names of them, and who they are. I would love to pass this information on to my child when its the appropriate time and would promote them finding their birth family later on when they are older. and being able to know where they come from and why their birth family had to do what they had to do.
So I am torn between open because it feels like I will never be their real mother, on the other hand I'd hate to have an issue come up in their health, or them have a missing piece of themselves because they will never know anything about their heritage from their birth mother.
even though, I am not even sure they do open adoption in brazil, I still have to look into it. but it seems to be a growing trend in the rest of the world and I also worry if I want a closed adoption, it will be harder and longer to ever get a child in the first place.
oh well, either way any input from anyone who has already done these type of adoptions would be wonderful for my husband and I to make an educated decision
csugii
I have some fears about open adoption, and was wondering if anyone had any advice about it
Fears about open adoption:
[QUOTE]
- It's less like having my own child and more like I'm just paying and raising someone else`s kid for them because they couldn't afford it.
If your sister or your mom lived with you, they might be the favorite granny or the favorite aunty but you would still be the mommy. The relationship an adopted child has with their birth parent is wonderful, but that doesn't stop you from being their MOMMY.
- When they turn into a teen it will be easier for them to fantasize about wanting to be with their birth parent and something can happen on that front because they are the real parent and I'm just the mean lady who sets rules they don't like
I am not going to lie - the teen years are HARD. However, in particular for one of our kids, the REALITY of knowing his birth mom meant that he didn't have the fantasy to fall back on. There wasn't a fantasy birth parent he could imagine would be perfect and have no rules -- there was his very human birth parents with their flaws, who were supportive of us making his parenting decisions. It saved us, really.
- I'm going to be second mommy and no matter what I'm not a the real mom even though when I want to adopt the child, I don't care who they were born from, in my heart they will be mine, regardless of how they got to me. and that idea will be harder because no matter what its always in my face that the other woman is around and in my childs life
Whether or not you see your child's birth parents, it doesn't make them less adopted. Reality is an adoptive parents ALWAYS has the fact that their child has another family and another set of parents. This is something that has to be accepted. Pretending adoption away doesn't work very long, and it doesn't work for the kid at all :) That doesn't make you less of a mother, it just means you became a mother in a different way. I am 100% fully my kids mommy but they all have another mother. It is what it is. I gain the privilege and honor and experience of raising these amazing kids, and she gets the honor of knowing she gave them their smile, their hair color and their talents. I have the chance to develop those talents.
- they will want input on how my child is raised and give them bad advice that I wouldn't want my child having. and because they are their birth mother they will take this advice more then what I would say just because I'm "the other mom" not the real mom
Phooey :) I am my kids' parent. I make 100% of the decisions. My mother doesn't get a say, my sister doesn't dictate my parenting, my in laws don't get input either. Birth parents, in a case of an infant adoption, have input into the type of family they want raising their child (religious, stay at home parent, educated etc) but after that, their parenting decisions are handed over. Also, raise your kids to THINK. Take advice and make their own decisions.
Adoption is different than biological parenting. It simply is different in some fundamental ways. Not worse, not better, just different. That doesn't make it bad - but it can make it harder.
My advice is do some reading from the Adoptee perspective. Understand that nobody else's story is your own, or your child's.
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I have an open adoption with my DD2 and DS first mum, but mine is a foster care situation, so very different in many respects. I will stick to what I think are common elements to both situations
It's less like having my own child and more like I'm just paying and raising someone else`s kid for them because they couldn't afford it.
I have never found this at all. Considering that my DD was school age before being removed from her mum, and is very loyal to her and loves her (she is mum to DD), I have NEVER felt like she is not mine (except when she had just moved in and was a stranger). Yes, she has emotional needs that only her mum can meet, BUT I am the one who is there day in day out, and I make all parenting decisions. I feel strongly that I am a real mum, that she is 100% my child. I am very secure in that. Her mum is also a real mother BUT she has a very different role to mine in DD's life.
I think you will find that once you have actually parented your adopted DC for a while, you will feel very mumsy and very real! You will do everything for them, and when your child smiles at you and calls you mummy it is plain that you ARE a real mum
When they turn into a teen it will be easier for them to fantasize about wanting to be with their birth parent and something can happen on that front because they are the real parent and I'm just the mean lady who sets rules they don't like
Interestingly, this is completely the opposite to what it is like for us. DD tends to fantasise about her mum - but she imagines her as a perfect princess figure who has no flaws and would look after her better than I do. Seeing and writing to her mum has made her less of a fantasy perfect mum, into more of a real woman who is a good person, but flawed as well (as we all are). And, VERY VERY importantly, as someone who supports the adoption. She knows her mum supports her adoption, and that her mum can not cope with parenting her right now. She feels she has permission to love me and live here
I can't deny that yes, for a rebellious teen, their other family will be near and real, and I fully expect (as DD has said to me) that many adoptive parents will get the "I hate you, I'm going to live with my real family"! I must say, that an open adoption will NOT be successful if the first family do not support the adoption. That is not likely to be such an issue for your kind of adoption. If the first parents are supportive, and see you as the parents, then it can work well. I assume that if you have had major problems with that, the adoption would have closed before teenagerhood happens.
I'm going to be second mommy and no matter what I'm not a the real mom even though when I want to adopt the child, I don't care who they were born from, in my heart they will be mine, regardless of how they got to me. and that idea will be harder because no matter what its always in my face that the other woman is around and in my childs life
Back to what I said - you WILL be a real mum :) This is, IMHO, an unfounded fear, that is common, but nonetheless just a fear, and not reality. Your child will see or write to/be written to by a close relative, BUT children do know the difference between their mummy and everyone else. You will have a unique role as mummy, no matter what
Now, open adoption is not easy. Nor is closed adoption, nor ANY adoption. Open adoption brings differernt challenges, and it can be hard emotionally. I am confident that it is right for my two younger children, but not all children will benefit from it.
Ultimately, do not opt for a kind of adoption you are not comfortable with. Be honest with yourselves, and antipicate what you and your future child will or might find easy or difficult about all types of adoption (confidential/closed/indirect contact/direct contact). You will make the right choice for you. There will be a pregnant woman looking for what you want, whatever it is :)
You know, all the big fears people have about open adoption, in my mind come back to one thing
That you, as a mum, want to be able to meet ALL your childs needs. Contact is fundamentally based on the idea that a child might or will or has, some emotional needs or wants that can only be filled by their first parents/family. Needs that can't be met by the adoptive parents/family. And I think that that idea can feel frightening and/or threatening to parents or prospective parents. After all, you SHOULD be able to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING for your child, and the idea that after going through so much to be a parent, you might not be able to provide fully for your child, is not always a nice idea! And the cold logic that follows is often "if she can provide these things that I cannot, what use will my child have for me?", "Aren't I enough?"
It doesn't help that our society is nowadays structured around a nuclear family that can do everything for a child. We are conditioned by society to believe in the one mother/one father who do everything. And adoption can go so far outside that, there is another mother and father out there.
Ultimately, it's not always easy if you choose a path, that involves not fitting in with that model
But, the fact is that you ARE a real mum in the end. I promise that. Your child will know who you are :)
(Disclaimer - my opinion only. Feel free to vehemently disagree :p )
csugii
I have some fears about open adoption, and was wondering if anyone had any advice about it
Fears about open adoption:
- It's less like having my own child and more like I'm just paying and raising someone else`s kid for them because they couldn't afford it.
- When they turn into a teen it will be easier for them to fantasize about wanting to be with their birth parent and something can happen on that front because they are the real parent and I'm just the mean lady who sets rules they don't like
- I'm going to be second mommy and no matter what I'm not a the real mom even though when I want to adopt the child, I don't care who they were born from, in my heart they will be mine, regardless of how they got to me. and that idea will be harder because no matter what its always in my face that the other woman is around and in my childs life
- they will want input on how my child is raised and give them bad advice that I wouldn't want my child having. and because they are their birth mother they will take this advice more then what I would say just because I'm "the other mom" not the real mom.
I'm new to this (Peanut is just 15 months old), so take my limited experience for what it's worth...there are all levels of openness. I consider our adoption open because she has our phone number, knows our last name, is in regular contact through Facebook, and we have visits in addition to photos and letters. However we've seen her three times since Peanut came home for a grand total of about 7 hours. 7 hrs in 15 months...believe me, I don't feel like he's someone else's kid. For the same reason, she doesn't have any input into how DH and I choose to raise him. We've been really lucky in that she's never really attempted to give input (other than taking DH's side that we were supposed to wait a year before cutting Little Man's hair!) but even if she did, I am very comfortable in the fact that only DH and I make decisions about how our son is raised. Besides, we're not around her enough for her to have a whole lot of opportunities to even give input. I guess she could put it on the private Facebook page we have or call, but then I could choose not to check the page or not to answer the phone if she was crossing lines. I can set that boundary.
As for feeling like his second...having it always in my face that she's around...the truth is she DOES exist, whether we see her or not. And I don't ever feel like I'm not his mommy. I'm the only one (not first mom, not MIL, not even DH) who can calm him down when he gets hurt or scared. I'm the one whose lap he crawls up in when he is getting sleeping. I'm the one that he throws those chubby arms around and gives the sloppiest kisses. I'm the one who sees that little face light up when I pick him up after I get off work and hears "Mama mama mama!"
As for the teen years, I can't speak to that personally. I do, however, have an adult cousin in her late 30's who was adopted in a closed adoption. She encouraged us to have a more open adoption. She'd had the fantasy about who her birthmom was, and it was a little startling, even as an adult, to meet someone who didn't live up to that fantasy. So, like the pp said, either way those years will be hard. Good luck to you in whatever you decide.
Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like you truly understand what adoption should be about: finding homes for children who desperately need them, not finding children for homes that desperately want them. It is *not* a cure for infertility. It will not satisfy a deep-seated, selfish "need" to be a "mommy".
You state it's easier to adopt in Brazil because your husband is Brazilian. Is that really the case, or is it because it's easier to overlook international adoption law, the Hague and other legalities (such as informed consent from the natural mother)? Were you not qualified to adopt in the U.S.? Were you not interested in the more than 100,000 deserving children who desperately need homes in the US and instead would prefer a "blank slate" child upon whom you can rewrite his or her history?
I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but all the questions you've raised and insecurities you've exposed lead me to believe you're adopting for all the wrong reasons and have unrealistic expectations. You need to rethink your "need" to build a family (why not consider mentorship, guardianship or other non-identity/culture-destroying means of making a child's life better?) and how you plan to go about doing it. Work with an accredited US agency, one who deals compassionately and sensitively with all parties to the adoption triad. Make sure the country or entities you're dealing with don't have any criminal past...many of these countries have been involved in black-market baby-brokering, and Brazil is definitely one of them.
Finally, I suggest you have a read of [url=http://www.netreach.net/~steed/portfolio/write/loss.html]Hidden Loss[/url], a thorough look at the loss suffered by children, their natural parents and yes, even adopting parents, through adoption. Grieve your own loss of the children you didn't have if infertility is what drove you to consider adoption. Make sure those issues are well and truly put to bed before you saddle some child with unnecessary baggage. Adoption is a lifelong experience -- it doesn't begin and end with the handing over of a 'warm bundle of joy'. It requires unconditional love and a willingness to accept that this child came to you at the expense of someone else's abject pain. Honor that and don't be snide about the child's alleged 'shady' background or what poor genetics you think he or she might possess.
But with your current emotional 'readiness,' frankly I wouldn't approve you for a goldfish.
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As someone else noted, there are many variations on the theme when it comes to adoption from closed to "semi" open to open. Expectations of bparents who chose adoption at birth as opposed to those who lost children through the foster system can be very different. The parent who adopts is legally the parent. The parent who relinquishes no longer has legal rights to the child. I recognize that doesn't mean a bparent won't criticize your parenting decisions but you are in the control seat and don't have to listen.
My adoption was a closed one and I didn't see my bson until he was 32 so I guess I can't really say what I would have done. I don't think I would have tried to interfere. D calls me by my first name and his amom is definitely his mom and always will be. I do wish that he had been able to find me when he was ready and I would definitely loved to receive updates in pictures, etc. as he grew. As a bmom, the most difficult thing was not knowing if he was dead or alive.
Recognize that parenting is hard work whether you give birth to the child or adopt. Good parents focus on the needs of their children (needs not wants) and seek to do what is best for the child and not easiest for the parent. (It's sometimes easier to let a child be entertained by the tv for hours even when we recognize it's not the best thing for the child's development, for example.) Adoption just adds another layer.
csugii
- When they turn into a teen it will be easier for them to fantasize about wanting to be with their birth parent and something can happen on that front because they are the real parent and I'm just the mean lady who sets rules they don't like
I am an adoptee and being in a closed adoption created the fantasy. If I had been raised in an open adoption there would have been no such fantasy.
- they will want input on how my child is raised and give them bad advice that I wouldn't want my child having. and because they are their birth mother they will take this advice more then what I would say just because I'm "the other mom" not the real mom
I am also a birthmom and I never ever have given my sons parents advice. I chose them and I trust them to raise them how they would like to raise him. That is part of what comes when TPR is signed. I think this stereotype of co-parenting goes along with open adoption and it just isn't like that.
You also mentioned compromising yourself, do you mean adoption is a compromise for you? Adoption really can't be a compromise. I grew up with an adoptive parents who felt adoption was a compromise because of infertility. Growing up the ghost child to a child genetically related to my adoptive parents was horrible. Make sure you work through the issues or reasons why you are choosing adoption. This option is NOT a compromise.
thank you all for your replies, they really do help my mind and I am working through all these feelings in my own head so the input of people, especially those that have been adopted, I am very grateful for.
oh and on the compromise comment. it isn't a compromise to not being able to have a child. I always wanted to have one child and adopt another. Its just a compromise on the timing. I wanted to have my own child first, then bring the adopted child into the family so they wouldn't feel that my own child was going to be replacing them if I ever was able to have one. I just ran into the problem of being able to have children so I am reversing the process and adopting first while still trying to have a child as well. but either way I always wanted my adopted child whoever they will be. I will just have to work harder on letting them know they can never be replaced.
I have an open adoption with both of my sons families. My reason at first was because I couldn't raise them in the place i was. But even since their births, and before their births, I formed a friendship with both of the families. I call & talk to them, ask how they're doing & tell them how I am doing. Yes we talk about the boys, but its usually just catching up on time. Of course I miss my kids, but I know my boundaries. I'm known as momma Lindsie. I'm not mommy, but they know I gave them life. I would never overstep my boundaries because when I made the decision to place, I gave myself limited privileges. Like... Making everyday decisions. I already told the ap that if either one get a girl pregnant out of wedlock, I would come to visit & spank them, regardless of how old they are lol. They told me that's okay... But if the relationship is like the bp making all the decisions, the ap need to get some backbone. Seriously. Yes they gave you that gift, but that's the thing. They're entrusting you to make the decision. Not pay for it:/
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csugii - thanks for starting this thread and for all who have posted advice. DH and I are in the home study process and you've brought up identical fears that we are working through right now. It makes us feel like we aren't the only ones with these fears and that we can work through them
:flower:
NE_PatsFan
csugii - thanks for starting this thread and for all who have posted advice. DH and I are in the home study process and you've brought up identical fears that we are working through right now. It makes us feel like we aren't the only ones with these fears and that we can work through them
:flower:
Here's something to consider as well.
Open adoption....as far as continued updates/letters for 18yrs; or 'open' in terms of visits and facebook accounts is NOT for every adoption. It may be that your 'fears' for open adoption are justified. In fact, it may be that they really shouldn't be considered 'fears' at all....but more, perhaps, parental concerns.
I tire of hearing some agencies/attorneys sing the praises of 'fully open adoptions' for EVERY adoption situation when this is certainly not true. Too often, agencies/attorneys make a promise to birthfamily about fully open adoptions as a sort of advertising gimmick to even consider adoption.
There are some adoptees who've been raised in completely closed adoptions who are happy, well-adjusted and content with not knowing more than the basic facts of their adoption. And make no mistake, there are still birthfamilies who want closed adoptions; who want no more than basic contact for the first few years to assure the child they birthed is in a good place.
That said, I wouldn't want someone to ever agree to open-ness with a birthfamily for the sake of adopting a baby/child and not ever intend to adhere to that promise of open-ness.
But when hopeful adoptive folks are considering adoption and an agency/attorney tells them a fully open adoption is the best thing for all???? Listen to your gut. You are not being fearful and less than grateful if you're having second thoughts about not wanting visits or years of updates. Should a birthmother release her child for adoption and choose you to BE the parents of that child, this is exactly what it is: YOU will be the parents making decisions for this little person for the next 18yrs.
Consider that this baby will rely on you for those decisions. Good or bad, make sure open adoptions (ie visits, years of updates, etc) are what you feel is right for you AND your child. Open adoption can be a wonderful thing for some; but for others, it can be a poor choice.
Consider your options well and don't let anyone or any group sway you into making that choice (open or closed) unless you feel right about it and are up front and honest with any birthfamily.
Sincerely,
Linny
Linny - I appreciate your words of advice and perspective. We are trying to figure out what would be in the best interest of the child and something that was right for us. We're not being pressured per se, but the majority of our pre adoptive education has been focused on "fully open" adoptions with little to no mention of "semi-open". We would never, ever, say that we were comfortable with a fully open adoption if that wasn't something we truly believed we could do. That's just not fair to anyone involved.
I didn't mean to imply you might do this and I'm sorry if it seemed I'd written it that way. I'm glad to read that you're researching this thoroughly before making a good decision. :)
My post was written because---far too often----agencies/attorneys push for fully open adoptions as if that's the only way to do it and that's simply not true. These also seem to be the same groups who suggest anyone that might want something other than fully open is somehow 'fearful', 'not wanting to consider their adopted children' or intimidated by not being a biological family'.
In most cases, nothing could be further from the truth. I have now-grown children who are thankful we did not have even a semi-open adoption.
Realize that you'll read different perspectives from various adoption boards; just as you can read about wonderful open adoptions and nightmarish open adoptions.
Just be sure to check more than one resource before making your choice and realize there ARE agencies/attorneys who will respect an individual choice. I've read of waiting adoptive couples who've written they know they'll have to wait longer for a baby if they want a semi-open or closed adoption. (And by 'closed' I'm talking about no extended contact, but sharing of medical info and even names.)
Just don't let any adoption entity talk you into one way or the other. Sincerely,
Linny
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Linny
Here's something to consider as well.
Open adoption....as far as continued updates/letters for 18yrs; or 'open' in terms of visits and facebook accounts is NOT for every adoption. It may be that your 'fears' for open adoption are justified. In fact, it may be that they really shouldn't be considered 'fears' at all....but more, perhaps, parental concerns.
I tire of hearing some agencies/attorneys sing the praises of 'fully open adoptions' for EVERY adoption situation when this is certainly not true. Too often, agencies/attorneys make a promise to birthfamily about fully open adoptions as a sort of advertising gimmick to even consider adoption.
There are some adoptees who've been raised in completely closed adoptions who are happy, well-adjusted and content with not knowing more than the basic facts of their adoption. And make no mistake, there are still birthfamilies who want closed adoptions; who want no more than basic contact for the first few years to assure the child they birthed is in a good place.
That said, I wouldn't want someone to ever agree to open-ness with a birthfamily for the sake of adopting a baby/child and not ever intend to adhere to that promise of open-ness.
But when hopeful adoptive folks are considering adoption and an agency/attorney tells them a fully open adoption is the best thing for all???? Listen to your gut. You are not being fearful and less than grateful if you're having second thoughts about not wanting visits or years of updates. Should a birthmother release her child for adoption and choose you to BE the parents of that child, this is exactly what it is: YOU will be the parents making decisions for this little person for the next 18yrs.
Consider that this baby will rely on you for those decisions. Good or bad, make sure open adoptions (ie visits, years of updates, etc) are what you feel is right for you AND your child. Open adoption can be a wonderful thing for some; but for others, it can be a poor choice.
Consider your options well and don't let anyone or any group sway you into making that choice (open or closed) unless you feel right about it and are up front and honest with any birthfamily.
Sincerely,
Linny
Hi all, I'm new here. Linny, thanks for your honest post. We are in the process of adopting and don't feel full openness is the right choice for us. It was discussed during our classes/training.
Your post echoes what is a popular theme in adoption today and I too feel that the degree of open and closed an adoption is should depend on the situation and all those involved. Neither is without risks.
I fear that birthfamilies and adoptive families aren't always told the full consequences of each choice but are often swayed toward openness as the best choice, when if fact, depending on the situation, it may not be.
Again, thanks for a holistic response.
I had many of the same fears prior to adopting.
OA or not, i had the fear that I wasn't THE mom.
I can tell you from this end, every day those fears get smaller and smaller. Every day, the bond with DD gets stronger. My confidence in my role and the importance in my DD's life has grown every day
I no longer feel threatened by DD's BM.
good luck :D