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Dating the Birth Parents
Posted: 07 February 2010 05:11 AM   Ignore ]  
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Does the comparison of dating and talking with potential birth parents ring true to you?

Posted: 07 February 2010 06:07 AM   Ignore ]  
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I forgot to add that I am referring to my entry in My Paperwork Pregnancies at http://www.adoptivefamiliescircle.com/blogs/post/dating_the_birth_parents/

Did any of you feel like you were “dating” potential birthparents?

Did any of the emotions I describe sound familiar?

Were you surprised to learn how scared my son’s birthparents were that Paul and I were going to walk away?

Posted: 23 February 2010 04:37 PM   Ignore ]  
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I have always thought of that period between “the call” and “the delivery” as “dating”.  I don’t ever remember being as nervous as I was the day that we met our daughter’s birthparents.  I changed clothes, paced around the house, moved things and cleaned, until it was finally time to leave for “the date”.

People ask what open adoption is like.  I often tell them that the process of being “chosen” by birthparents works somewhat like a dating service.  Prospective adoptive parents write our profiles and submit our photos, collages and vidoes for birthparents to look at, and then they choose a family that interests them. 

Our relationship with each branch of our kids’ extended birthfamilies is very much like another branch of in-laws on our family tree, (although we call it our “family orchard”).  These relationships are important to us, and we want to nurture them, specifically because the relationships benefit the children that we all love.  Even when we first met birth-grandparents or birth-uncles and may have felt uncomfortable or that we had little in common, we wanted to make those relationships work, because of our common love for a child.  This is much like meeting your future in-laws for the first time.  You want to work at that relationship, because you both love your future spouse/their child, and you will probably be spending a lot of time together in the future.

Posted: 23 February 2010 07:05 PM   Ignore ]  
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I loved the comparison.  I am a birthmother about to deliver our child.  The adoptive couple we chose has now become a part of our everyday life and conversations.  We email, she goes to the doctor with me and we have gone out together as couples a couple of times.  And how true to compare it to dating.  And from a birthparent perspective, it is just as nerve racking.

Our situation is different from what I would think of as typical birthparent/adoptive parent.  The baby’s father and I are 10 years older than the adoptive parents and we already have children so we are the seasoned veterans with parenting.  I think the parents are a bit intimidated by that.  And I could understand why they would be.  The birthfather and I are working professionals who were both recently divorced and are each raising our children (5 boys total, ages 17-7)  as single parents.  We both have our own homes and careers so we dont require any of the support that is often associated with birthparents who choose not to parent their child.  Our reasons for adoption were very different.

When it comes to the relationship with our child’s parents, I am most concerned about what our relationship will be like after the adoption and the level of openess we will be able to maintain.  I want to maintain the same level of communication, but I am nervous that they might pull back worried that we would be judging them from a distance.  Which as parents ourselves, we would never do.  We know perfectly well that being a parent is not a science, and each child is so different and none of them come with manuals to tell us how to do everything just right.

I will say that my favorite moments with the adoptive parents are when we are all laughing and being real.  When we show our real selves, and act normal like we would around any other friends.  We picked our parents because we wanted our child to grow up in a family like what we would provide.  And that is not perfect.  I love how the adoptive father will say ridiculous things that I would expect any one of my friends to say.  Even when it shows that he is just normal and flawed, it makes me feel so much better because I know he is real. 

I suspect that the mother is worried about saying and doing the right thing so I think it is harder for her to be as transparent. But instead of me worrying if she is excited enough becuase she seems a little more reserved, I try to remember her perspective and how completely vulnerable she must feel right now becuase she doesnt have her daughter yet. After the heartbreak of of infertility, the idea that we could change our mind up until the papers are signed must be a pervasive thought for her.

So if I could have one suggestion to adoptive parents about the relationship with birthparents, for me, being real is the most reassuring feeling.  I dont expect perfect.  I want to know you are flawed like I am. I want to know that you are real and the “you” I am meeting now is the “you” that will be the parent of our child.

Posted: 24 February 2010 09:51 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  112
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Lisa,
Thank you so very much for your honest response.  I think your advice is very valuable and I will be sure to pass it along to other prospective adoptive parents.
It’s nice to know, as an adoptive parent, that it’s ok to be real and we won’t be judged for it.  All of these relationships are so unlike any we’ve had before!