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Triad Tension
Posted: 06 November 2009 05:22 PM   Ignore ]  
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Do you feel that there is a tense undercurrent on the internet between the members of the adoption triad, as suggested in “Calling All Triad Members?” If so, what would be a way to bring those pieces together?

Posted: 06 November 2009 07:58 PM   Ignore ]  
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I think that there are tensions out there in the adoption community….but there are tensions in EVERY human relationship, some relationships more than others. 

For us, because our kids are so close in age (6.5m), we pretty much have to either talk about it with people asking innocent (hopefully!) questions, or we have to lie….and I think that lying sends the wrong impression about adoption FOR SURE!  (For the record we feel the same way about our other child’s being conceived via IVF.)  I’m with Jenna, here, actually, I think that because it’s part of our daughter’s story, she might as well own it!  We see her birthmom and brother and often extended family members too, about every other month, and DO have a “rosy” adoption for the most part….and since she will grow up knowing she is/was adopted (I have no problem saying she is adopted as opposed to was because she still is, really, just like her birthmom IS her mom, not WAS her mom, as well as myself.) and so she might as well own it!  Right now she’s young, but we’re working on a child’s version of it….babies come from bellies, you came from Mama Rachel’s belly, etc etc.  We are, for the record, also working on our son’s story in a similar way…including that he “comes from a dish” which they both think is hilarious. smile

I don’t necessarily believe there is a “primal wound” so to speak, and certainly don’t believe that our girl is not our daughter! What I do believe, though, is that I want her to know her story, feel comfortable with every family member she knows and sees, and be able to confidently get through a trip to the grocery where an old lady asks the “are they twins??” question.  I want her to know that it’s ok that she’s adopted, it’s special even.  Adoption IS very much a part of our every day life…and we do have pics of her bio family and she knows, at 2, who they are including their names and that her bio brothers are her brothers just like the brother who lives with us.

I think that a lot of how you approach adoption with your child and how much it’s a part of your every day life depends on your individual situation…but I think it’s important to treat it with the weight that it deserves because while it might not be the ONLY thing about the child, it certainly is a BIG thing about them.  Not necessarily that they were/are adopted, but that that fact means that they have another family, other siblings, etc etc…those are the kinds of things that can’t be just a here-and-there discussion….because my daughter’s birthsiblings/birthparents ARE important (to her and to us) and not just on holidays or when we have visits.

Posted: 06 November 2009 08:01 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  22
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Oh, and Jenna, do you read Production, Not Reproduction’s Open Adoption Roundtables?  There are a few birthparents who blog there….here’s the link to the last one if you want to check it out (I’ve been a slacker lately and not participating!):

http://www.productionnotreproduction.com/2009/11/open-adoption-roundtable-9.html

Posted: 07 November 2009 04:56 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  47
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Well, I certainly feel there was a tense undercurrent in that blog. 

“As an adoptive parent I would love to hear from adoptees who have had great experiences and who find their adoption to be a truly great gift…  but I suppose those people are off enjoying their lives whereas, when there is something to complain about, it seems there is plenty of time to do so under a pseudonym on the internet.”

If happy people enjoy their lives instead of frequenting the internet, why are there so many adoptive parents here? 

According to your profile, you adopted 18 months ago.  You make some pretty big statements, but you’re very much in the beginning stages of learning about adoption issues.  Your plea to other members of the triad is less than attractive.

Posted: 07 November 2009 04:33 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  25
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JessPond,
Your approach to open adoption sounds so balanced and terrific…..that your children know all about their first family from the outself, etc.  Thanks for posting this interesting blog link (http://www.productionofreproduction.com).  At Adotpive Famiies we are always looking for good writing on aspects of open adoption adn this is a fascinating blog.  Susan

Posted: 08 November 2009 03:34 PM   Ignore ]  
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In my albeit short experience with adoption (helping a cousin come to terms with the likelihood that she will never have contact with her mother in Korea), I have come to realize that the so-called triad cannot work in adoption.  A triad can only be a triad when three all parties have equal rights.  This is not true for adoption.  Adoptive parents have all of the power.

Given that power, I have also discovered that the expected role of families who relinquished their children and adoptees on adoption forums is to validate the feelings of adoptive parents.  If they do not do that, they are told that they are disrespectful, out of line, and soon chased off the forum.  A few (very few) really hear the other voices of all of the “triad”.

Posted: 09 November 2009 12:47 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  22
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Lizzie…I tend to disagree with you on this (and as part of the triad, think I probably have a better idea about who has what rights).  Adoptive parents do have the legal say after finalization, but our daughter’s bio family has a lot of power.  They can come and go when they want, and if they wanted, they can pull out of the open adoption agreement (I hope this never happens).  While we can do the same, it’s our daughter (and adoptees in general) who have little/no power.  They are the ones that the ADULTS need to be concerning themselves with when making/carrying out adoption relationships.  I worry almost every day that we will lose contact with parts of her bio family and know I can do nothing about it and hope that if we do motives will be pure….but still, it may hurt her very deeply one day.  That’s a very scary thought from a mother’s point of view.


Adoptive parents choose to adopt.  Bio parnents choose to place.  But the adoptees are the ones who do not get a say and are too often treated as if they have no rights….and up until very recently (and sometimes still, really), actually legally had very few rights.

EVERY human relationship will have challenges, but an adoption creates, imo, a relationship much like a marriage.  Sure, we may not always enjoy our inlaws, but we should love and respect them and give them the benefit of the doubt all the same….because they’re family.

Posted: 09 November 2009 03:37 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  3
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Yes, thank you, for proving my point, perfectly.  Minds and ears are firmly closed on “triad” forums.

Posted: 09 November 2009 04:38 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  22
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Which part of that proved what point?  Just out of curiosity, of course.  I know that loving my child’s birthfamily and calling them my own family is the right thing for OUR situation….but I’m not about to judge others till I’m in their situation.  Not everyone on all sides of the triad, if that’s what you want to call it, can be warm and mushy gushy all the time.

And I still firmly believe that the child is the one we should be focused upon.

I guess I perhaps don’t get your point of view.  Are you an adoptee, a birthparent, or an adoptive parent?  And what kinds of change are you proposing be made all across the board, that are realistic in the course of human relationships?

Posted: 09 November 2009 07:11 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  47
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Today’s generation of adoptive parents can be difficult to understand.  Communication is difficult.  They have a rather closed internet community, setting themselves apart based upon the fact that they adopted their children.  Once separated, many demand to be recognized as no different than any other parent.  It’s perplexing, really.  Either adoptive families are exactly the same as any other family, and all of these groups should be disbanded as they have no purpose, or we should quit pretending that adoptive families are exactly the same as non-adoptive families and act accordingly.

Jenna claimed her child’s adoption was over.  Then why hang out here?  Forget it. 

An adoption professional has decided it’s better to verbalize adoptions as past tense.  These agencies devise this sort of language to stay in business.  They’re not considering reality.  They’re not considering anything but their own survival, really.  Once an adoption takes place, it is always present tense.  The legal procedure may be in the past upon finalization, but the adoption itself is in its infancy. 

These flaws in logic are oft times pointed out by people who have actually been in the triad for decades.  We are parents and even grandparents, but since our place on the triad is that of the child, our opinions are discounted as infantile by people much younger with far less adoption experience than our own.  We are labeled.  We are ridiculed.  We are ostracized from the discussion because we dare to challenge carefully crafted rhetoric. 

It’s that dismissal that leads to the tension in the internet triad.

There’s no money in telling the truth, but I’m not here to make money.  I don’t have a book deal.  I’ve been a member of the triad for nearly half a century and dealt with my own infertility for 18 years, but I’m not looking for a way to profit from my experience.  The ap community has made itself so exclusive that I don’t even feel welcome in conversations here regarding infertility because I did not choose to adopt.  I played the hand life dealt me, and my son and my daughter are simply 18 years apart.  That’s not a popular position in the ‘adoption community’.

Fortunately, there are some adoptive parents who are willing to admit that maybe some of the stuff being offered up by the party to this relationship that is omitted when we call it a triad is not exactly reflective of what they are experiencing in real life.  I’m always happy to encounter those individuals. 

The triad is not required to become a triangle.  Like the stars in the sky, the points can remain forever disjointed drawn together by lines existing only in the imagination.  So long as all the parties are ordered to meet at a common point designated by an institution that has excluded itself from the constellation, they will remain separate.

As to my reasons for becoming involved again in adoption issues (since apparently the motivation of all adoptees has been brought into question), I am here because I read the news, and I’m not impressed.  It’s the now 21st century, and instead of seeing national headlines debating adoptee rights, I see headlines alleging some sort of non-existent right to adopt.  The most powerful point in the triad isn’t satisfied with the power it wields.  It’s asking for more.

Posted: 09 November 2009 08:16 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  22
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I think it’s important, if at all possible, to keep thirs party agencies etc out of your adoption after you meet.  Apart from handling paperwork, after we met our daughter’s birthparents, it was 100% them calling us or us calling them and has been ever since.  More people in any relationship is likely to just muddle things up, I think.

Plus, there’s certainly no reason NOT to keep it that way.

I think the online AP community seems a little…closed, like you said.  A lot of them, I find, seem to have a stupid “saving a child” mentality that I can’t stand.  I’m into the OA roundtable and read…maybe two other IF/AP bloggers (both of whom are like me, with kids unnaturally spaced and who are under 30 with extremely open adoptions, so it’s been easy to follow them rather than…some other. haha), and then read a few adoptee bloggers, but that’s it.  Mostly if I have birthparent questions, I just go to…our kid’s birthparent.  Esp since birthparent blogs are harder to find.

I wish there was a way to make adoption reform work….I think that AP’s and BP’s need to start DEMANDING things like legal upholding of rights after relinquishment….but as far as the child is concerned, a major problem is that they start out a child, unable to demand their rights…and too many of the adults aren’t worried about them.  Love is NOT enough.  You need to be a good parent, too, and a respectful one.  You’re not SAVING a child, you’re saving YOURSELF (both adult parties) from something.  And as an AP, I think AP’s in general need to get out of the midset that they’re super special.  They need to start focusing on working as a big family instead of being a “normal” family. 

Who gives two craps about normal anymore, anyway?  There practically is no “normal” nowadays.  Plus, my kids were adopted and conceived in a dish, and gosh dangit, that only makes them cooler.  My daughter has two moms and two dads and I don’t care if she wants to tell the whole world that she’s adopted.  It’s kind of cool, really, what we have with her bio family.  Part of my want to be open with anyone who asks (to a point, privacy of everyone is also important) is that so many people think such stupid things.  The only thing I don’t like about being honest with people is that I continually am fielding idiot quesitons about her first families….but she has to know how to handle these things with grace, cause the stupid people of the world aren’t going anywhere.  lol

I wish there was more guarantee for adoptees.  Right now I’m looking for connections to our daughter’s bio sister because I want to have that available to her if she ever wants that info (well, and if we’re honest, I’d love to have contact now, but am not yet sure if that’s possible without stepping mightily on bio dad’s toes).  I wish I could guarantee that her bio family would ALL be there for her, but the fact is I can’t, and that does scare me a LOT.

No one really has absolute power in adoption relationships….but least of all the adoptee.  At least all of the moms and dads chose this path.

Though that can be said of a lot of things, I guess…divorces, runaway parents,  military families, etc etc etc.

Posted: 10 November 2009 06:53 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  47
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Jess, in personal relationships, yes, I agree completely that keeping 3rd parties out of relationships is both possible and preferable.  I applaud you for taking that route, and for keeping your word. 

On the larger scale, it’s not possible.  At least, that’s been my experience.  As an adoptee, I’m forced to deal with these people for the rest of my life whether I like it or not.  Trying to ignore them would be like being a cancer patient trying to ignore the insurance industry.  You either deal with them or you quietly succumb to your disease. 

I’ll give an you an example.  This just happened yesterday, so it’s fresh on my mind.  One of my sons was injured at work, and his back was broken.  He was extremely lucky to live.  He was badly injured.  It should be a very simple open and shut case, but of course, the WC insurance company is trying to claim that some part of the lasting injury is the result of a pre-existing, probably genetic condition.  Being mortal, I suppose?  I’m not sure of the point they trying to prove, but I am sure that the doctor we saw yesterday asked me to provide a detailed family medical history.  Now this isn’t an immediate life or death thing.  He’s not in the hospital waiting for an organ transplant.  But it is important.  He’s in his early 20’s, and he has sustained a substantial injury that will never heal.  He is being asked to prove that his family history does not include degenerative bone diseases. 

I know my family.  I searched and I found them many, many years ago.  But what if I hadn’t?  Should my son be asked to absorb the personal financial burden of making sure that adoptee birth records remain sealed?  I can’t ignore the outside party to my adoption—the agencies, lawyers, and their lobbyists.  They have an affect on my life whether I choose to acknowledge it or hide my head in the sand. 

Adoptees do not remain children forever.  Adoption is not limited to a fuzzy puppy, cute baby issue.  Adoptees grow up.  We become adults.  We have children.  We become the head of our family.  But when it comes to adoption issues, as adults, we’re often treated like outcasts who should be grateful we drew our first breath and were subsequently provided three hots and a cot and therefore stifle any dissent.  We’re told which words we’re allowed to use and which are ‘disrespectful’.  We’re told what attitude we should have toward the loving judicial process that became our deliverance, our salvation.  We’re told that our adoptions are in the past, and we should leave them there.  We’re told we have a birth certificate that’s just as valid as it would be if it contained accurate information.  And we’re told all this to ensure that someone adopting today doesn’t feel bad about wasting $50,000 obtaining a child that will grow up to face reality despite their best efforts to the contrary. 

As I read it, the beauty of the process that brought us all together was the point of the OP.  The process is flawed.  Period.  The members of the triad are not legal equals.  In most states, the adult adoptee is never acknowledged as having any more rights than they had as infants.  Never.  We are expected to speak as if we are perpetually unwanted children.  As if we never became adults with adult issues, rights, and responsibilities.  And that’s the thing.  We do grow up, and we do take on adult responsibilities.  Adoption as a process, unfortunately, often impairs our ability to fulfill those adult responsibilities.  Of course, you can find adoptees that will sing praises to the process.  I’m glad they were never confronted with a situation where they had to watch others suffer for their lack of legal standing.  That’s the real wake-up call. 

http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/2009_11_culture_camp.php

Posted: 10 November 2009 10:00 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  32
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Jeanne, you obviously have a great deal of experience and opinions on adoption. Thank you for being here.  Yes, I am new to adoption and I really welcome anyone who has some information that can help me meander a very tricky path.  I think the one thing to keep in mind though is that my blog is about just that…  trying to move through this path and gain insight from others.  I’m sorry you found my plea “less than attractive.”  but I am truly so glad to see you here to offer your ideas.  As the years go on I’m sure I’ll have many emotions from excited and anxious to frustrated and resentful.  In this blog, clearly, I was feel more frustrated and unsupported.  I hope you’ll keep in mind that as humans do, we will change our opinions from time to time and half the fun of being on this planet is growing, learning and working through the hills and valleys.

Lizzie, I find it so interesting about your thoughts on the AP’s having the power.  I think you must be meaning that because we “have” the baby we must then hold the cards?  Honestly, I had to chuckle at that.  I feel so incredibly powerless.  Unlike Jess’s BP for her daughter, I do not have an open door relationship with our daughter’s BP.  Jeanne’s story of her son’s issues with a medical concerns is similar what I’m dealing with right now.  As my daughter goes through some pretty significant medical problems, I find myself feeling powerless to her BM who doesn’t seem as willing/interested/able (whatever you want to call it) to provide me with what might be invaluable information.  I just paid (out of pocket) $4600 for a series of genetic testing to confirm or deny some important pieces to the puzzle.  In this situation I feel as powerless as it comes. 

The idea of the triad is such a great… idea.  But ultimately, the effort and concern has to be equal to all parties.  I feel like my role isn’t to keep the BP abreast of every move and decision, but to gather the information from them that we can and present them to our daughter in a respectful and truthful way.  I would honestly LOVE if we had a more open relationship.  I feel like that would provide our daughter with answers to questions that would range form medically important to more fun stuff like, “what’s your show size.”  It frustrates, saddens and upsets me that I might not have those things for her when she grows up.

I’m glad this post got people talking and thinking.  That’s the point of being here.  We can all be a source of support and at the same time and place to challenge each other’s ideas.

Posted: 11 November 2009 01:53 AM   Ignore ]  
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Jenna, the medical aspect is simply one among many.  I mentioned it primarily because it happened since I began to post in this thread as an example of how we never really get to that point where adoption is in the past.  It’s an unrealistic expectation.  When I was young, it was common for adoptive parents to be told that if they parented effectively, we would never have any curiosity about our roots.  We would never search.  Boy, was that ever a wrong.  The consequences of that misstatement was a good many parents feeling betrayed by their adopted children and questioning where they had gone wrong.  They may not have done anything ‘wrong’ except believe what they were told. 

The problem is that 40 or 50 years down the road, the industry lines have not changed significantly.  Instead of telling you that your child won’t search, they’re telling you to put the adoption in the past.  It’s a different version of the same thing.  In time, adoptees will forget if, as an adoptive parent, you lead them in that direction.  It’s ironic that the organizations promoting this line of reasoning are also promoting the secrecy that is confronts the adult adoptee.  It’s quite frustrating, really.

The link I posted above is a new study just published.  It indicates that adoption issues actually become more significant to adoptees after reaching adulthood.  It’s a very interesting study.  If I had just adopted, I would certainly give it a read.

Posted: 11 November 2009 03:24 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  32
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Jeanne, I think you misunderstood my words.  I wasn’t saying that Anna was adopted as if to suggest that we no longer think about it.  What I was saying is that the adoption was a moment in time…  a legal doing and now that is over.  When I said we are moving forward it wasn’t to give the impression that we were done with adoption, just that we aren’t dwelling on the process of adoption which is what I think a lot of APs do too much of.  They dwell on it like it’s a scar and try to overcompensate for it which gives the child the impression that there is something to make up for…  I don’t ever what Anna to think that her adoption is an open wound that she has to question or feel awkward about.  It’s just there and like my own infertility it’ll always be something that is a part of her, something with both positive aspects as well as challenges.  But it really is just one part of a kid with so much more to offer this world.  There is much more to her, to our family, than adoption.  Of course it is a big part of where she came from, but it is NOT her.  I would never want to be labeled as the infertile anymore than I’d want Anna to grow up with the label of the adopted kid.  We adopted her.  Now we are a family created through adoption, but it doesn’t define us.

Posted: 16 November 2009 09:33 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  5
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Instead of telling you that your child won’t search, they’re telling you to put the adoption in the past.  It’s a different version of the same thing.  In time, adoptees will forget if, as an adoptive parent, you lead them in that direction.  It’s ironic that the organizations promoting this line of reasoning are also promoting the secrecy that is confronts the adult adoptee.  It’s quite frustrating, really.

Jeanne, I’m not really sure about your current sources of information about what adoptive parents are told about their children, but what you are suggesting is being taught bears no resemblance to what our agency actually did teach. The whole point of our agency only handling open adoptions is for the reasons that you’ve explained: the need to fully know and understand who you are.

I could in no way “forget” or “minimize” the fact that my daughter joined our family through adoption than could I forget or minimize my being black or female, with all that those labels/attributes entail.

It is very clear that the ways of adoption in the recent past were corrupted by shame, social stigma, lack of research, and a Deus ex Machina approach to a difficult situation (ie unplanned pregnancy). Yet this does not mean that all of us adoptive parents are planning to revisit all the same mistakes and traumas on our young children today as was done in the past. As a person who has survived significant trauma at the hands of my parents (bio), I am very clear that while my daughter will experience her adoption as a trauma, her father and I, as well as her firstparents, want to help it not be a self-defining and self-limiting trauma. She will have the room to work through her feelings with as much or as little intervention from as she needs. We will not stifle her, minimize her concerns or her pain, because one thing is abundantly clear: this is all about her. We are all secondary players here.

 
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