Thursday, May 9, 2013

Open Hearted Adoption - Book Tour

Click HERE to buy the book on Amazon.

My friend Lori recently wrote a book AND got it published! I'm so very proud of her.  She even quoted one of my blog posts in her book.  Now we are doing a virtual book tour where bloggers who have read the book answer different questions put forth by other bloggers.  A big shout out and Thank you! to Melissa from Stirrup Queens for organizing things and keeping us on track.   Be sure to follow the link through at the end so that you can read everyone else's post.


1. The term “Real Mother” or “Real Parents” comes up quite frequently in an adoptee’s life. Lori suggests in her book that we see each set of parents (birth and adoptive) as “Real”. Do you agree? How would you personally handle this terminology? And are there other ways to effectively deal with this term if used by your child or directed at your child by another?

a. As both an adoptee and an adoptive mother, I very much agree that all of a child’s parents are REAL. As a child it really bothered me when people asked about my “real” mother, especially if my {adoptive} mother was there. The guilt !!

Now as an adoptive parent myself, I’m not personally offended if someone refers to my child’s mother as his “real” mother, but it is an area that I often feel compelled to correct people from outside the adoption circle when they use it.

 My child has tried to use the term “real” mother during a disagreement…. “My REAL mother wouldn’t make me clean my room”. Umm.. sorry buddy, but I’m pretty sure she would. I’ll be sure to ask her next time I send her an email….. the joys of open adoption!

2. My question concerns openness and pre-birth matching, which Lori covers in Ch. 1 (citing Luna's early match with her daughter's birth mother, at pg 20-21) and Ch. 7 (discussing the balance between hopeful adoptive parents feeling cautious and joyful when an expectant mother could still decide to parent, at pg 134-36). Pre-birth matching is common in open adoption. Some might argue that, due to the potential for even subtle manipulation with expectations on both sides, pre-birth matching is inherently coercive. Others suggest that pre-birth matching provides a chance to build a relationship and foundation for real openness after placement. 

Since both sides seem to have the child's interest at heart, what steps, if any, can be taken to ensure that expectant parents aren't pressured into placement in the name of openness AND have an opportunity to get to know the prospective parents, which may help inform their ultimate decision?

a. This is such a tough question. We had a pre-birth match with my son’s mother, long before I knew what to call it, or had ever heard of it being potentially coercive. I now look back and worry about whether or not Liam’s Mom felt coerced or manipulated. Did I do or say anything that caused her to make a decision that she would not have done otherwise? However, I also treasure the time that we got to know her and can share some of those moments with Liam. I feel much more connected to her then I think I would have otherwise. We had the opportunity to discuss parenting styles, outlooks on different topics and ideologies. I feel much more confident in my parenting choices knowing the little bit about her parenting choices that we were able to learn in those pre-birth days. I  hope that she was also able to take some comfort from getting to know us as well.

The rules here in Nova Scotia are much different then what I read about from American friends, but I still believe the underlying subtle manipulation and coercion can still happen. One of the steps that I think must be taken is that the expectant parents MUST have independent support from an adoption professional. Since adoption is not a for-profit industry where I live, that adoption professional can come from the adoption agency. However, in the USA and other areas where the adoption agency profits from adoption, I think that the support for the expectant parents should come from an independent outside source. This will give the expectant parents an unbiased person to talk to, share their fears with and have someone in their corner, helping them explore all possibilities – especially the choice to parent.

Of course the million dollar question is "Who pays for this unbiased professional?"  Short of removing money from the adoption equation completely (and using a model similar to what we have here) I don't have an answer for that.


 Please return to the main post to read more opinions on Lori Holden's The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption.
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