Monday, July 26, 2010

I got lost in Adoption Land

I haven't written in a while. I got lost in Adoption Land. It is confusing in here sometimes. Like a maze, or a repeating loop of some kind. Get up, check for email contacts, from all those people reading my classified ads, clicking on my facebook ads, hearing about the website, reading my blog, googling. Nope. Check 800 number voicemail. Zippy. Check my website stats. Yes people are visiting. About half stay less than 5 seconds. Was it something I said? The other half look around and disappear, like ghosts. Check the website. Looks fine. Check Facebook. A new fan. Nice. Call the 800 number. Yes it works. Repeat.

Okay, so I got a little disappointed when I thought we had a lead and it went away. I didn't want to get my hopes up and said to myself and others I was not getting my hopes up becuase that would be silly and premature and certainly uncalled for in Adoption Land where everyone knows you can't go around getting your hopes up. Need I go on? I think not.

But guess what happened today. You'll never guess so I'll have to tell you. The 800 number rang and I kid you not, they guy was looking for a Bed Bug exterminator. Yes you read that right. He said he googled Bed Bugs Hayward (his town) and got my number. So I googled it and got my 800 number. I'm thinking of learning a little about bed bugs and giving advice over the phone. My advice would be "burn your mattress, and pillows, and probably the carpet and maybe your house."

Well, "Good night. Don't let the bed bugs bite."

Monday, July 12, 2010

In answer to a question about Open Adoption

Open adoption is a term used to describe the contact Birth Parents have with the baby after adoption.

All adoptions used to be Closed. Adoption records and original birth certificates were "sealed". Adoptive parents and Birth parents did not meet and Birth parents did not know anything about the baby after the adoption. The baby and later the adult, could not access the records.

Now many adoptions are Open or Semi-Open. Neither term has an exact definition.

An adoption may be "totally open." This could include visits, shared pictures and letters, emails or whatever communication is desired. They might be celebrations of some birthdays or holidays. Sometimes Birth parents and Adoptive parents become like family to each other.

Semi-open adoption can mean letters and pictures would be shared at agreed-upon intervals. More rarely, a visit could take place. And there are lots of arrangements somewhere in between.

In a closed-type adoption people aren't really in contact.

The thing to keep in mind in modern adoption is that it is really up to the Birth parents and the Adoptive parents to decide what they want together and work that out. Some people will change their relationship over time, becoming more open if everyone is comfortable. Sometimes what Birth parents want changes over time.

I heard a Birth mom speak at an adoption seminar Don and went to. In her adoption plan it was agreed that the Adoptive parents would send pictures and letters 4 times the first year and 2 times per year after that until the child was 18 and then the child could decide if he wanted to meet her. She did not want a whole lot of contact because she thought it might make her sad. She was satisfied with this arrangement.

People can basically make any arrangement they want to as long as everyone agrees to it. People will often write up the agreement and sign it as part of the adoption paperwork. If they want to be more open over time they can, but not less. That is, if the Adoptive parents agreed to send letters and pictures 3 times per year then they are expected to keep that going.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Adoption Language

There is some language special to adoption as I have learned in my reading of books and blogs, and attending adoption seminars. To some the words are just words, necessary to differentiate all the people involved in an adoption (aka the adoption triad). For some the words are emotionally charged and if used without care, can offend. Here are some definitions:

Expectant parents: A couple who conceived a baby and generally are going to be expecting that baby to arrive about 9 months later.

Adoptive parents: People who want to adopt a baby or child or have adopted. Some prefer to drop the "adoptive" part unless it is particularly important to differentiate it for some specific purpose, because, after adopting, on a day to day basis, they don't go around feeling "adoptive", they just feel the parent part.

Birth parents: People who decide for a variety of reasons, to place a child for adoption (aka make an adoption plan). The Birth mother is the woman who conceives, is pregnant with, and delivers the baby. Some people have other preferences: First mother, or Natural mother, or just Mother. This can be a hot topic, and I am going to break it down more in a later blog. The terms and the debate about the terms, highlight intense feelings. Acknowledgement, respect and sensitivity are key.

Adoption triad: Birth parents, adoptive parents and baby make up the triad. It is a shorthand way to refer to all involved. A piece of jewlrey has been designed around the concept, with an intertwined heart and triangle representing the love in the triad.

Adoption plan: For example: "We are making an adoption plan for our baby." People use terms like "placing the baby for adoption" or "giving up the baby." Adoption professionals like the term Adoption Plan because it implies thoughtful planning, made with care. To say "giving up" the baby sounds too much like giving away the baby as an obect or giving up on the baby, and does not reflect why women may choose adoption or how women feel about their babies, whose welfare they are extremely protective of.

So that is intro to adoption terms 101. Thanks for reading!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Welcome to Adoption Land!

Since embarking on the adoption journey, it has become clear that we have entered a whole new world. There is a new language, culture, and legal system. And there is that surreal, jet-lagged feeling you have, realizing you have travelled a long way and are now in new territory.

It has been an interesting journey, which started in the back of my imagination when I was a tired second year resident in my medical training. I was working at the VA hospital in Washington DC and I typed "adoption" into my computer. I surfed around the web, sent away for some information, but I was in medical training, working all the time, sleeping at the hospital, and so it seemed impossible.

Now, several years later, I am in Adoption Land. There is no where else in the world I want to be right now.