An Adoptive Parent Struggle
The thing about being an adoptive parent in an open adoption is that we are one of many parents in our child’s life. From what I can tell, for many adoptive parents, Mr. MPB and I included, this is one of our biggest fears.
Our child will have us, their parents and their birth mom and birth father. And, of course the child may also have extended families both in their adoptive family and their birth family.
As adoptive parents we will have the final say over our child lives, just as all biological parents and in-fact all legal parents have. But, we as adoptive parents do face a few unique scary unknowns:
- Will the birth mother want to know the child? (Some do and some do not. And some specify that they do not want any contact).
- Will the birth father be known? If the birth father is known will he want a relationship with the child?
- Will the extended birth family be known? Will they want to be involved?
- Will the birth family be safe to expose our child to?
- Will the birth mom seek out support to help them through any short and long term struggles related to their choice to place their child?
The list of questions and unknowns that we have no control over is daunting.
I guess, this is one of the uncertainties of adoption and we just don’t know how it will play out throughout life.
All we know is:
- As per the law in our province, Mr. MPB and I will only work with Hague accredited adoption agencies that are also approved with our province. The Hague Adoption Convention, while not perfect, is meant in part to reduce the number of birth mothers who are coerced into adoption. Note, that in all of the USA, only about 5 agencies are approved for us to work with – it’s not easy to meet the standards that exist within our part of the world. And we respect and uphold those same criteria as we believe an adoption has to be in the best interests of all involved.
- Mr. MPB and I will only work with adoption agencies in Canada and the USA that offer life-long counseling to birth mothers and birth fathers (this is not a Hague Convention requirement). While we cannot control the struggle that birth families may one day face, we adamantly require that resources be available to the birth family to help them with any struggles they might face immediately or years later. We cannot force them to use the resources, but at least we can ensure they are available.
- The birth mom (and maybe father) will chose us based on our profile book and home study. We will in-turn chose them based on their medical documents. In our home study we’ve stated that we want contact and potential visits (if safe) with the birth family because we very strongly believe that it is important to the child to know their entire family (all the literature and research indicates that children of open adoptions fare much better then those from closed adoption). But, while we want this, we do not get to decide if they want it and/or force contact. This is not part of the information we receive, and so we will have to respect whatever the birth mom/father want.
- We may or may not even meet the birth parents before and/or after the baby is born. This is not our decision, we simply live with the outcome of their decision and then help our child also live with the outcome as well.
And so, while we know what we want in a perfect world, we also have absolutely no idea how it will play out in reality.
We hope that we end up matched with a birth family who deals with the emotional impacts of adoption in a healthy way (some do and some do not) and we hope that we can all work together to shower the child with love. But, our reality is that we cannot control this. Once again, all we can do is work with top agencies and lawyers and hope.
I guess, all we can do as future adoptive parents is hope for the best and know that we will love our child and help them navigate the realities of our family dynamics, whatever that may be. It may not always be easy for our child at times, and it probably will be hard for all of us as parents too. But, I know that Mr. MPB and I will do our very best no-matter the circumstances, because like every other parent out there, trying to do our best is all we can really do. And so we may not get everything right, in fact we probably wont, but we are 100% committed to trying to do our best from the very beginning and to set a foundation of respect, love and support.
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