Monday, November 9, 2009

Where is THE LINE??

So I have noticed a lot of comments dealing with boundaries or how they want their child to know where they come from. I have thought a lot about this and kind of want to address it into two parts since both birthmothers and adoptive parents read this site. Now before I type any of this I think it is important for everyone to know that I realize and respect the fact that everyone has a different type of openess that works for thim. All of the things I am about to write have solely to do with my perspective on things. So here goes...

Birthmothers- First of all, even if you are sick of hearing this, you are all amazing and even though I don't know each of you individually, you are still all strong women who mean the world to probably more people than you know. Now we all love our little ones that fact is obvious. We also have to figure out how we are going to handle the boundaries. It is so tough to figure this thing out. On one hand you want to see them everyday, yet you know that cannot be healthy. There is that initial fear of stepping on the adoptive families toes, of scaring them away, even if you have a concrete plan before the birth it is still a scary thing. Here is what i had to figure out to work for my own situation. You can never totally be prepared for everything. I thought I initially wanted a mostly closed adoption but when I held that baby in my arms I realized that would not work for me. Things change, they will continue to change. I have only been in this for a year and some change so I know I am not an expert on this situation, but things will change that I am sure of. So my point of all this babbling I am doing is talk with the couple before and make sure that both parties realize that you all will change and so will your wants and needs. The thing that is most important to discuss is that no matter what happens you will not lose contact with the couple so you can at least always know how the child is doing. (Provided that is what you want).
Now as for your baby knowing where they come from there are lots of things you can do. I expressed how important it was to me that she knows where she came from. I have written her letters at each important event in her life thus far. I also created a scrapbook of me growing up so she could know more about me. I know that all though these things may seem small she will know that I loved her enough to give her the most beautiful thing a child could want, a happy and eternal family. The thing I had to come to terms with that was the hardest for me, is ultimately it is up to her to decide whether or not she wants to have contact with me further down the road. And as much as it kills me to think she could not want contact with me , if that is what she wants that is okay with me. She has a family. She will always be able to find me, I am here waiting when she does, just as I have made my choices she can make hers.

Adoptive couples- Let me say that you also are amazing and I am thankful for what you do. So you've been chosen as an adoptive family to a beautiful baby I am sure the joy felt after that news is undescribable. But there is always the elephant in the room of boundaries to be discussed. Of course you want time to adjust with the new baby, to bond. However, there is the birthmother in the equation. I am sure it is hard because you aren't sure where you would like that line to be. Now, I have said it once and I will say it a million times!! BE HONEST!! Be completely open as to how you want to handle the boundaries. There is nothing wrong with wanting a little privacy but if you promise the world to the birthmother and don't deliver it will be that much more devestating in the long run. I firmly believe there is a birthmother for every adoptive couple out there. So if you as a couple are honest about what you expect you will find a birthmother who fits perfectly into your idea of boundaries. When you decide on those boundaries also be flexible. I am so thankful to my adoptive couple for being so amazingly flexible with my visitation and contact. They let me see her when I had no prior plans to on a family holiday. What they didn't realize is that made me more sure of my decision, they were secure in knowing that I was not going to take her and run but that I just wanted to see how blessed and happy she was to be in such a beautiful family overwhelmed with love for her. If you are flexible and realize needs change, I think it will become more apparent that this situation will work out beautifully.
With that being said, this following paragraph may come off as rude, please do not take it as such. I feel that as the adoptive couple it is your duty to make sure that the child knows without a single doubt in their mind that their birthmother loved and still loves them more then anything in the world. To put across any different of an idea is, for lack of a better term, evil. That child is yours solely because of LOVE. The birthmother chose to place because of LOVE, The birthmother chose you the adoptive family because of the LOVE she felt you could give the child, and the birthmother was strong and brave enough to sign those blood curdling papers because of an undying, never changing, unconditional love. With that being said from day 1 regardless of the boundaries you have set up, make sure the child know they come from love, if nothing else you owe it to the child.

Well, that may not agree with how some of you see it and I look forward to hearing your comments. I just wanted to maybe help at least one person out their with this post. Remember these few things if nothing else. The birthmother will always love, the adoptive family will always love, and the child will always be loved. That is the most important assurance that comes out of the adoption triad. I love you all! Thank you for reading these posts and your comments and opinions. Jessa


debs life said...

I made most of the decisions when it came to contact with my adoptive couple and my birthdaughter. I didn't want to step on toes, so I didn't. I didn't want to interfere with their parenting, so I chose not to see Anna. They invited me to the blessing and invited me to have more contact with her, but I just felt for ME and for THEM that it would work out best to let them be the parents, let Anna grow and then have HER choose whether she wants to see me when she's ready for that. I know that every experience is different and keep in mind I was 20 when I placed so I had a better look at the bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

I really loved your comment The millers. It is true. I am a birthmom as well and I think we truly move forward when we let the parents, NOT adoptive parents but the Parents be the parents. We chose this for our birthchildren and when we give respect and privacy the relationship seems better. I didn't want much involvement as well. I want my child Zach to be comfortable, I want the parents of Zach be comfortable as well. I'm with you and agree completely. Thanks, Jenna

Rob and Julie said...

I am so glad you reposted this. I am a birthmother 10.5 years out. Laws were different when I placed and open adoption was not an option. I could not visit or call and I still don't know my A.families last name. I know the general location that they live in. Don't be sad for me though. I knew the rules and still chose to place.

I really love how much you express the importance of honesty. There is nothing more important in an adoption relationship than trust and making a commitment regarding contact that you can't keep will crush a birthmom. I was a volunteer in a birthmom support group for about 6 years after I placed and I can testify that the girls who received the contact that was previously agreed upon -be it visits, emails, letters, texts, phone calls, pictures, etc..... healed much faster and healthier. Girls who didn't receive the agreed upon contact started second guessing their choice both about placing and the family they chose. They develop massive trust issues with the A.family, become resentful and wonder what they A.family could be hiding.

Set your boundaries early. Be willing to listen on both sides when either side becomes uncomfortable with the level of contact.

thank you for this post. It is truly all about love.

Lara Zierke said...

I have such a great relationship with my child's birthparents. Recently, I was invited to join an adoptive mother's facebook group. I am so SHOCKED by how snarky some of these ladies are about the birth moms in their lives. And how often one of them has to "cut the birth mother out." I am sorry, but NO. You DON'T EVER DO THAT! If you have to readjust some things like make your blog private so she can't see anymore and make a blog just for her, you do it. If you truly feel you must change your phone number, fine, but set up an email address just for her. There are ways to have an open relationship and maintain strict boundaries. Apart from something seriously health/life threatening, I wouldn't go to the extremes these mothers do just because a birth mom commented too many times on a Facebook status. Ugh! Thanks for the reminder.

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