Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Adoption; Then & Now series

I have to admit, when I first found out I was pregnant, adoption was not my first choice. I couldn’t hand my baby to someone who was going to make a 500 yard pass across the hospital to people I didn’t even know! I was only a few weeks along, but I already knew I loved my baby. And I couldn’t just let anyone have him. In the time before Roe v. Wade
I sat down at the computer and figured I might as well look into it anyways, because, as it was, I couldn’t even support my daughter and myself. So, away I went. -> Enter key word, “Adoption”
“Pet Adoption”
“Animal Adoption”
“International Adoption”
“Open Adoption”
“Closed Adoption”
Wait, what is open adoption?
Yep, those two words changed my mind that very minute; Open Adoption.
You can get photos, updates, letters in the mail, and visits?!?!?
I had no idea, not in my wildest dreams that you could visit with the child you gave up for adoption. (Yes, I said gave up, bear with me!)
I remember finding a few websites where you could browse through families like you were picking out a gift for someone. “How strange”, was the only thing I remember thinking. It was like I was shopping for a family for my child. Didn’t the adoptive family usually shop for a baby for their family??
After a few days, I sent a few e-mails, but never got any response. Apparently I wasn’t appealing enough for their taste in breeds.
Then, I found a website for the Independent Adoption Center in Illinois, or the IAC for short. They too, like many of the other web sites, had profiles of families you could browse through. After searching and searching, I finally came across a profile, and there was a family picture of two Mommies, and a daughter from their first adoption; all three with big beautiful smiles and glowing eyes, as if to say “Here we are! We have been waiting for you!!” And waiting they were…

Later I found out that, for some odd reason, their profile had not been working, and had JUST started working the day I started to search on the IAC web site.
Well, I looked, and looked, and looked some more. But I always ended up reading their profile. Finally, I sent an e-mail to them, and H responded within minutes. I was shocked, scared, worried. Now that I made contact, did it mean I had to go through with it? Did it mean they now, by some odd adoption right, had claim to my child?
Well, they didn’t. They made it pretty clear that this was not a legal thing until the baby was born, and they were there, for now, as a resource. Weather I decided to pick them or not, they were willing to help answer any questions I had. And, they did.
The rest if history, or course. Because now, they are, in my opinion, the best parents I could have chosen for my son J
SO, the point is, between then and now, so much has changed. We as a society have grown so much more empathetic. We understand the need for a parent and child to have a bond, Birth or Adoptive.  Yes, Parent, not just the Mother.
I’m sorry, but it’s not just the BirthMother who suffers some sort of loss or grief. I really would LOVE to hear from some Birthfathers who have gone through the process of placing a child up for adoption.
Oh… did you see the change in jargon? Rather than “Giving away” I said “placing”. Yes, because it has changed!
From the early days until now, we have made so much progress in the placement of children in Adoption. Unfortunately, there are instances where the child, for its own safety is taken from the parent, and given (by the agency or church) to an adoptive family. But, when it comes to a mother, who is putting the needs of her child, before the wants of her heart, she is going through this heart wrenching process, of placing her child, in the best home possible, so that they are loved, and cared for.
In the time before Roe v. Wade the mothers didn’t have that option, and the fathers being a part of the decision was mostly unheard of. But now, that’s all changed. While you rarely ever heard of a Birthfather being part of the adoption plan, it does happen. This isn’t 1950 when it was the entire girls fault, and she was sent away as part of the punishment for doing this.
You see, between then and now, so much has changed; the rights, the information given to the birth mother, to the adoptive parents, the involvement of the birth father, the involvement of the families.
I encourage you, if you haven’t already to read the book “The Girls who Went Away” by Ann Fessler, an adoptee from the pre Row v. Wade era. I also encourage you to go back, and read my journey as a birth mother; my ups and downs, the ins and outs. Dig into the involvement I was able to have during the process. Then, come back, and read these blogs, my “Then and Now” blogs, so that you can really see how different things are.
I have pulled a lot of my info from books, and articles and web sites. But I want to hear from people as well. So, if you have a story you want to share, if you are a BirthMother, a BirthFather, and Adoptive Parent, an adoptee, or a member of either the Birth or Adoptive family, come forward and share your story. I would be more than happy to share your story here; I would gladly keep it anonymous and short, sharing as much detail as you wish, or simply one sentence that sums it up for you.
But, if you are able to write, I encourage you to have a blog. Make an alias and create a blog, use whatever name you wish, but please, share your story. If your child is 2 years old, or 62 years old, people need to hear your story, and you need to be heard.
Please, come out; come out, where ever you are.
The time to talk is now; the time to listen is NOW.
This next set of blog titled “Then and Now” are going to look at the differences between adoption Then (In the time before Roe v. Wade) and Now….
I hope you enjoy them!! Please leave comments if you want to add anything!

You are LOVED,

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