Thursday, July 9, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable #3

Today, I'm speaking as an adoptee. I speak as a child of an adoption that should be open. An adoption that I wish were open.

The prompt for the roundtable is this: Share your wish list for your open adoption. Talk about the future. Talk about how you wish things were.

I've talked quite a bit about my birth father in these posts. My birth father and I have a great relationship. He always makes me feel loved and wanted. He and his family have completely embraced things. Even when times are tough for one or both of us, I know that he loves me and cares about how I'm doing. He is a great father.

I don't mention my birth mother quite so often. Realistically, there's not that much to say. I have met my birth mother once, the same day I met my birth father the first time. It's been almost four years now. I can count on my fingers the number of times I've heard from her since then, though I've emailed her many times.

Here's my wish list for the future:

I wish my birth mother would open up to me. I wish she would email me. I wish we could meet again. I wish she would tell my siblings that I exist, so that I could start talking to them too. I wish I knew their names. I wish that I could meet them, to discover our similarities and our differences, to find out if we have interests in common, to know if they struggle through things that I could help them with. I just want to know them. My family. My flesh and blood. In the future, I wish this adoption really could be open.

This is a mentality that I have difficulty understanding, though it's fairly common. I can't imagine tucking away the memories of a child given up for adoption, and refusing to process and face those feelings. I mean, I feel like it's rejecting motherhood itself, in a way. Motherhood is to care and love and nuture a child. While the nuturing is limited in an adoption situation, being a birth mother means you still love and care about that child. Doesn't it? That's what it means in my head.

Adopted children have ongoing needs that can only be met by their birth parents. Questions, fears, doubts...there are certain concerns that will always exist within the mind of an adoptee, and those concerns can only be soothed by a birth parent. Responsibility for the child does not end at placement. It is ongoing, whether the adoption is open or not. I wish that more birth parents--including my own--would remember that responsibility, and show that love and care that their children so desperately need.


  1. Well said, Valerie. I wish these things for you, too.

  2. Beautiful post! How do you feel about me starting a little discussion group about this exact topic?!

    Thanks for being so smart and savvy. I'm so happy to know you!

  3. Hi Valerie. I am a birthmom in an open adoption. I am so sorry your birthmom is not able to be there for you. I wish that all your wishes come true. You totally deserve to have your questions answered and fears heard and soothed.

    I can tell you that adoption was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. There was so much pain and grief after the placement. Shame and guilt too. And, I have an amazing support group including my family. I was in therapy for 3 years - during pregnancy and two years after, and much of what I did was grieve. I don't know what your birthmom's situation is or was, and I don't want to make excuses for her, only to offer some view of what it may have been like for her. And, for you to know, and maybe you do, that her not contacting you has NOTHING to do with you or your loveability or worthyness. It's all her story.

    I'm sorry if my offer has been presumptuous. I hope it was helpful.