If you are about to adopt – reset your compass
The following will be a list of ideas and concepts to reconsider during your wait. This is, in part a reaction to the changing face of wordpress adoption blogs and it seems that we have some work to do. So, in no particular order (and feel free to add more in the comments section) here are things that PAP’s, in my opinion as both adoptee and adoptive parent, must confront before adopting.
1. She is not a birthmother if she hasn’t given birth or signed termination of parental rights. If you are ‘matched’ with a pregnant woman considering adoption, she isn’t ‘your’ birthmother and the baby isn’t yours either.
2. Also, let’s give the terms original mother, first mother and other mother a fighting chance. Consider a woman’s feelings and worth when reducing her role when you call her ‘birthmother’
3. Don’t ever breathe one single negative word about your child’s mother, father, state, country, race or culture. Not for any reason. If there are disturbing facts in the situation, state them plainly and support the feelings that may come. But don’t add commentary.
1. Tough, but the truth. No one owes you anything. Infertility does not buy you the right to parent someone else’s baby. Sucks, but there it is.
2. And this isn’t going to win over any friends, but…here it goes… God did not hand-pick, or decide to have someone else get pregnant for YOUR benefit. Believe me, I can understand how it feels that your child is perfect for you, was the missing piece in your family, or is spiritually connected to you. That still does not mean that there was a grand, benevolent or divine plan, to have a misfortune befall a woman, so that a child could fulfill your family, or so that you could feel as though you are doing what your church teaches you is right. Children are not pawns. Neither are their mothers. Also, just because you believe that children ought to have a two-parent home in which the parents are married, still does not earn you the right to dictate what ought to happen to the child.
3. Along these lines, later on in life, do not tell your child that she ‘grew in the wrong tummy’. Do not tell her that she was’chosen’. Do not tell him that you were able to give him ‘a better life’ It’s a different life…you can’t know that your family and life would be better. Don’t go into an adoption without the implicit understanding that your family will be different than if you had had children biologically. You are taking on extra responsibilities. This means that your child needs nurturing that encompasses their feelings which typically include, but are not exclusive of: lifelong feelings of rejection, insecurity, a certain ‘otherness’ and also feelings of grandiosity. Do you have a longterm plan to support your child if you begin to see these things creep up? Do not minimize the impact of adoption. Yes, even if you adopted at birth. Ask any newborn baby who they want to be with. They want to be with that lady who sounds familiar.
4. Put your infertility issues in the past. If you are adopting straight out of the doctor’s stirrups, you are setting up a highly charged situation which can propel you into unethical behavior such as coercion of a pregnant woman. Again, it isn’t appropriate for a woman to decide on adoption until after her baby is born, as well as having an advocate who is talking with her about all her options and telling her of the support available to her. If you have a serious broken heart, and a houseful of baby stuff – that’s some serious danger! danger! Will Robinson. A child you adopt should not be put to work by being there to heal the serious and lingering pain of infertility. Besides, healing doesn’t work that way anyway.
5. Do nothing but encourage honest feelings from your child about how they see their adoption.
6. Do not lie or misrepresent facts to your child. Adoption happened to your child and they had no say in the matter. Honor your child with the truth. Do as much as you can to obtain their original birth certificate.
7. If your child is old enough to know their name, which is probably younger than you might think, don’t change his name.
8. And just because you see the world and people of color as represented by a beautiful rainbow of colors does not mean that the rest of the world does. The public can be a cruel place for your child. People say stupid and racist things. Be prepared for this if you have adopted a child whose skin color does not match yours. How will you teach your child tolerance while others are being intolerant?.
Read Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew – Sherry Eldridge
Don’t read books about how you can say and do things that will speed up the process. Yes, there is a book like this.
CHECK ON YOUR AGENCY
Check with your state for any grievances or complaints on file regarding your adoption and/or placing agency. Email previous clients, find ones who are not on the provided list given to you from the agency.
In closing, this is not a transaction. We are dealing with human lives. And, as beautiful as you might see the whole idea of adoption, for those of us who have experienced the many feelings of loss because of adoption, we ask you to consider the above. Don’t strip away or deny what is real and what may be troubling for the others involved, namely your child and his or her mother. Please uphold the bond between mother and child. Celebrate family…the one you’ve created and the family that your child also has somewhere else.
If you can’t do these things, or at the very least, be willing to examine and challenge your given ideas or even your core beliefs, then you probably aren’t ready to be an adoptive parent.
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