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Adoption Blog: Double Vision

Surprise, Surprise

If there is one thing that surprises me when it comes to adoption, it's how much things still manage to surprise me.

Ten years in and I'm still floored by some of the things people say to me -- including my own twin daughters.

Here are the top five, in no particular order, along with the lessons I've taken away:

1) When Little Bit asked me why her birthmom didn't want her and gave her away. This happened when she was eight-years-old, so, after eight years of hearing her story, which includes many references to how much she was loved, how much crying there was in the conference room of the adoption agency when her birthmom said goodbye to her and her sister, and how often she wanted to check in on them and visit with them during their first year.

Lesson learned: Open adoption works. My daughters haven't seen their birthmom in many years (her choice), so, despite the stories we tell and the pictures they see, they create their own reality. On the other hand, Little Bit has never once imagined that her birthdad, Big K, was anything but completely smitten with her -- probably because she can see that for herself during our visits.

2) The number of good friends who still say things like, "Where is their mother?" "Do they see their mother?" "Do you talk about their mother?" "What is their mother like?"

To which I respond (always with a smile): "Right here." "Every day." "All the time." And "She's pretty nifty."

Lesson learned: It's really just semantics. My friends know who the mom in our family is, so I don't sweat it when they get confused with adoption lingo.

3) Adoption professionals who think there is only one way to behave or feel during "the wait." I have a friend who is very excited about adoption and her agency told her that, if she decorated the nursery in anticipation of the baby, she would only be hurt when a baby wasn't immediately available and it would show potential birthparents how needy they are. Adoption is not one size fits all, people. We make our choices and deal with our feelings. Just like all parents.

Lesson learned: Keep making connections among people in the triad to learn that there are almost as many ways to feel about "the wait" -- and any of the other stages -- as there are people.

4) The judgment within the adoption community. I have to admit that this one is still sticky for me, so I'm not really sure what I've learned. I just don't understand why some of the people I know who have adopted internationally think that I coerced a mother into giving up her baby so that I could become a mom, when there are so many orphans in other countries, OR that some people who have adopted domestically think international adopters bought their babies because they didn't want to deal with birthparents.

Lesson learned: It's a big world with lots of differing opinions. Some of them quite ill-informed. My belief has been and always will be that people adopt because they want to build a family. Anything else that informed their decision is none of my business.

5) The way adoption is depicted in fiction: books, television, movies. In reality, adoption is fairly mundane. On television, it's a huge ordeal fraught with drama. Birthmoms have unlimited time to get their babies back and always do, even if they have to kidnap them. Adoptive families lie, cheat, and steal to get their baby. I'm not saying it never happens, but it happens a lot (A LOT) more in fiction than reality.

Lesson learned: If you're thinking of adopting, don't watch television, read, or go to the movies. Or find real people to talk to about their real experiences in the real world.

Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle


Love the list! It is so true.  The media one especially.  I just hate the way adoption is depicted.  Many folks still say “Gave their baby up”.  Also, open adoption does work.  We adopted 14 years ago and our open adoption just gets better and better.  We are considering a trip this summer together.  Adoption is an amazing gift and a miracle.

By momcheese on Thursday, December 06, 2012 at 4:04 am.

I’m glad that your family has had a positive experience with open adoption, and that it works for you and your children, but that does not mean that a fully open adoption with on-going contact is the only way to proceed.  Just as there is no one right way to think/act/feel during the wait, there is no one-size-fits-all in other aspects of adoption.  Just as there should be no judgement between those who have adopted domestically vs internationally, there should be understanding between families who have open, closed and somewhere in between adoptions, that this particular option is what is best for the particular parties involved.

By jszmom on Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm.

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