Adoption Blog: Adoption: Not Just My Profession, My Life

Moments of Sadness Brought Me Closer to My Child’s Birth Parents



The world of adoption is filled with the voices of adoptive parents, and less so with adoptees’ and birth parents’ perspectives. Because of this, it is common to hear about adoptive parents’ pain when referring to adoption disruptions and disappointments. Family and friends, who witness only the hopeful adoptive family’s pain after experiencing a disruption, may also lend their voices, labeling the revocation period “unfair.”

As an adoption professional who’s also an adoptive parent, I can’t help but think that, yes, adoptive parents indeed suffer a great loss when an adoption match fails, but the bigger picture of a birth parent’s loss when an adoption is successful is much less talked about and seems to carry less weight in today’s society.

You would think that, when we found ourselves facing a possible disruption, my own pain and thought of losing Sweet Pea, the precious little girl who had been in our lives for almost two weeks would push me further from her birth parents. Instead, the reality of my situation brought me to my knees and my own deep heartache brought me face to face with the loss that her birth parents were experiencing. I’m in no way saying that my experience gave me any true understanding of the magnitude of the loss for birth parents. Rather, it showed me that I could never truly understand the depth of that pain and loss because what I was feeling was only a fraction of their pain. This realization brought me to a new level of empathy and compassion for Sweet Pea’s birth parents. And, although that sounds like it wouldn’t have helped me cope during the potential disruption, it did.

When our social worker notified us that we might be facing a disruption, we leaned on our friends and family and our faith for comfort. I let myself weep and mourn. I let myself soak in every single moment with the baby. I found myself holding her all the time, even when she would have been content to sleep in her crib. I watched my husband and my boys snuggle her and shower her with love. Many people think that, at the first hint of an adoption disruption, a line is drawn in the sand with the adoptive parents on one side and the birth parents on the other side. But instead of pitting me against Sweet Pea’s birth parents, it actually brought me closer. They were making such a heavy decision that would last a lifetime, and they had no way of knowing if we were going to keep the contact promises that we had made to them. Instead of feeling angry, I felt honored to be entrusted to care for this baby while her birth parents were grappling with this intense decision. I was constantly reminding myself to check my grief. Most of my pain and anger was coming from laying claim on a child who was not mine alone to claim. And so I reminded myself over and over each day throughout the revocation period that we were chosen to care for this sweet little girl one day at a time while her biological parents were given time to weigh the heavy decision they had made.

In the end, the disruption didn’t occur. However, in those moments of fear and sadness that seemed to stretch on forever, I didn’t know what the final outcome was going to be. I needed to respect the fact that her biological parents had just as much right to change their mind during the revocation period as they had to make the initial decision to place her with an adoptive family.

Adoption can’t be expected to be smooth sailing. It stems from loss and sadness for adoptees and birth parents, and disruptions/disappointments bring that sadness to prospective adoptive parents as well. It seems to be that, when one member of the adoption triad is experiencing their greatest joy, it is that exact same moment that marks another person’s greatest sorrow.

Through my own experience, even before meeting my daughter’s birth parents, I have gained so much more appreciation for birth parents who break their own hearts for the love of their children, and for those who, in the end, change their mind and decide to parent because of that same love.

For those adoptive parents who experience disruptions and disappointments, they will become part of your story, your journey to your child. And in the end, it will give you an increased empathy for your child’s birth parents as well as a deeper level of understanding of the real duality of adoption. Be compassionate and understanding. Know that a decision to parent was not in any way intended to hurt you. You all love the same child, and that should bring you closer rather than pull you apart, even in pain.


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3 Comments

30 things adopted kids wish they knew about their birth parent, but are afraid to ask
Through working as a court-appointed agent with adoptees in search, I have learned that many older adoptees have nagging questions about their adoptions. They lacked some very basic information about themselves during their growing years, and this lack affected their sense of identity.
To help other adoptees avoid the same adoption-related identity issues, I made a list of the things that the adoptees I worked with most wanted to know about themselves, their birth parents, and their adoption circumstances. I recommend that adoptive parents try to gather as many answers to these questions as they can when their children are young and the information is easier to find.
I have been busy gathering information to share with my own nine children, and it has offered them a piece of who they are.
I also encourage parents to share this information with their child before adolescence to promote a stronger sense of identity and to avoid issues later on. Information that would be matter-of-fact to
children at a young age becomes a crisis if they’re older and don’t know.
1.  What are my birth parents’ first and middle names?
2.  Where was a born (hospital and city)?
3.  What time was I born?
4.  Were there any complications at the time of my birth?
5.  Did my birth mother see me or hold me?
6.  Who else was present at my birth?
7.  What were the circumstances surrounding my placement?
8.  Did my birth mother pick my adoptive family?
9.  Did my birth mother know anything about my adoptive family? (Did she meet my adoptive parents?)
10.  What did my birth mother name me?
11.  Does anyone else in my birth mother’s family know about me?
12.  Who knows what?
13.  How old were my birth parents when I was born?
14.  Were my birth parents married when I was born?
15.  Where did my birth parents go to high school? College?
16.  What kind of students were they?
17.  What religious backgrounds do my birth parents have?
18.  What is my ethnic/racial background?
19.  Did my birth parents marry each other or anyone else after I was born? Do I have any biological siblings? Do they know about me?
20.  Did I go to a foster home after leaving the hospital?
21.  What was my foster family’s name? How long was I there?
22.  What do my birth mother and birth father look like? May I have a picture of them? Are my birth parents still alive?
23.  Do my birth parents love me?
24.  Do my birth parents think about me? Did they ever regret their decisions?
25.  Do my birth parents have any special talents, hobbies, or interests?
26.  What traits did I inherit from my birth parents? Personality? Looks? Talents?
27.  Did my birth parents write to me over the years (journal/letters in a file)?
28.  Are there any medical concerns I should know about?
29.  If I called my birth parents or wanted to meet them some day, what would they do?
30.  What should I call my birth parents?
© Copyright Laurie Elliott 1996
First published in Adoptive Families Magazine, reprinted with permission of the author.
Real Moms is a newsletter by and for adoptive mothers. Support, information, encouragement, and networking for domestic adoption are offered to adoptive and prospective adoptive mothers.
   
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Dear Birth Mother
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From a Birth Mom
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Joey’s Adoption
A Special Bond of Love
Losing Maria
A Precious Gift - Poem
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By pipercub9 on Saturday, August 20, 2016 at 11:29 am.

30 things adopted kids wish they knew about their birth parent, but are afraid to ask
Through working as a court-appointed agent with adoptees in search, I have learned that many older adoptees have nagging questions about their adoptions. They lacked some very basic information about themselves during their growing years, and this lack affected their sense of identity.
To help other adoptees avoid the same adoption-related identity issues, I made a list of the things that the adoptees I worked with most wanted to know about themselves, their birth parents, and their adoption circumstances. I recommend that adoptive parents try to gather as many answers to these questions as they can when their children are young and the information is easier to find.
I have been busy gathering information to share with my own nine children, and it has offered them a piece of who they are.
I also encourage parents to share this information with their child before adolescence to promote a stronger sense of identity and to avoid issues later on. Information that would be matter-of-fact to
children at a young age becomes a crisis if they’re older and don’t know.
1.  What are my birth parents’ first and middle names?
2.  Where was a born (hospital and city)?
3.  What time was I born?
4.  Were there any complications at the time of my birth?
5.  Did my birth mother see me or hold me?
6.  Who else was present at my birth?
7.  What were the circumstances surrounding my placement?
8.  Did my birth mother pick my adoptive family?
9.  Did my birth mother know anything about my adoptive family? (Did she meet my adoptive parents?)
10.  What did my birth mother name me?
11.  Does anyone else in my birth mother’s family know about me?
12.  Who knows what?
13.  How old were my birth parents when I was born?
14.  Were my birth parents married when I was born?
15.  Where did my birth parents go to high school? College?
16.  What kind of students were they?
17.  What religious backgrounds do my birth parents have?
18.  What is my ethnic/racial background?
19.  Did my birth parents marry each other or anyone else after I was born? Do I have any biological siblings? Do they know about me?
20.  Did I go to a foster home after leaving the hospital?
21.  What was my foster family’s name? How long was I there?
22.  What do my birth mother and birth father look like? May I have a picture of them? Are my birth parents still alive?
23.  Do my birth parents love me?
24.  Do my birth parents think about me? Did they ever regret their decisions?
25.  Do my birth parents have any special talents, hobbies, or interests?
26.  What traits did I inherit from my birth parents? Personality? Looks? Talents?
27.  Did my birth parents write to me over the years (journal/letters in a file)?
28.  Are there any medical concerns I should know about?
29.  If I called my birth parents or wanted to meet them some day, what would they do?
30.  What should I call my birth parents?
© Copyright Laurie Elliott 1996
First published in Adoptive Families Magazine, reprinted with permission of the author.
Real Moms is a newsletter by and for adoptive mothers. Support, information, encouragement, and networking for domestic adoption are offered to adoptive and prospective adoptive mothers.

By pipercub9 on Saturday, August 20, 2016 at 11:33 am.

Yahoo has announced that the personal data of at least 500 million users was breached. So let’s use this app to protect our privacy at least-LEO Privacy: https://goo.gl/BCKwGq

By white285 on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 2:27 am.

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Kristy Hartley-Galbraith

Kristy Hartley-Galbraith

Pennsylvania

I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
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