MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

October 29, 2011

Adoption: For the Love of a Parent

Note: The following is from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous.

In a previous article I discussed the issue of a birth mother who many years ago gave up a child for adoption and now, perhaps decades later, decides to go searching for the child. In this scenario it was a closed adoption meaning no contact at all from the adoptive parents. Now the birth mother feels a yearning to find out what happened to "her" child and to reconnect.

In my prior article, while I sympathized with the feelings of the birth mother, I also pointed out there are many ways such a reunion might go much different and darker than she envisions. That is, the child who is now probably at least in his/her teens may not react as openly and lovingly as you believe they will for a variety of reason. Read that article for the different scenarios.

It is my thesis that a birth mother searching for "her" child years/decades later has to be prepared for all scenarios, not just the one hopeful starry-eyed mother/child reunion. It might be a Hallmark moment but it might not be too.

Now I want add another set of scenarios to that thesis.

Look at it as well from the adoptive parents' point of view.

If the parents adopted a child in a closed adoption arrangement they did not expect any further communication or contact from the birth mother (or birth father too if he is in the picture as well). In fact, as alien as it may seem to many die-hard adoption devotees, many adoptive parents specifically do not want contact with the birth mother after the placement! That is, the adoptive parents want a closed/no contact adoption.

Now years perhaps a decade or more later, the birth mother makes contact from out of the blue.

I acknowledge it is certainly a possibility the adoptive parents will be open about it. It is possible they will be glad you contacted them and will be open to considering meeting you. Then arrange to re-unite you and the child. This would be the ideal scenario.

But not the only possible scenario!

Do not underestimate the love of a parent to protect their child, biological or adopted!
As in my prior article, you don't know what they child has been told about the circumstances of his/her life (i.e. if they even know they are adopted much less the situation around the adoption). And, like it or not (and I'm sure you don't), the adoptive parents may view you as a threat to the child and their family. Not a physical threat (I hope not!) per se. But rather an upsetting factor. Even a problem they want to avoid.

From their point of view they may see the situation as having parted ways with you years ago and that's that.

Or, perhaps they see the situation has never intending or even wanting contact with you after the adoption.

To that end, be prepared to be rejected by the adoptive parents. Maybe even receive a hostile greeting from the adoptive parents if they view you as a threat to the child or the family.

The love of a parent is not merely from blood relationship. As such, a parent will fight to protect their child from what they perceive as danger.

As I had indicated before, finding a child given up for adoption is a noble concept. But it isn't just you the birth mother (and father) involved.

Think before you leap.


Grace. said...

You knew I was going to comment, right? As the single adoptive mother of five girls who came to me as older children, all now adults, it has been fascinating to watch the adoption world grow up. My kids already knew and remembered their parents, for both good and bad things, when they arrived on my doorstep. But adoptive parents have had to do the most changing along the way as we saw how earlier adoptions played out. The simple truth is that much as most adoptive parents want closed adoptions (and will sometimes lie to get them--promising openness to the birth parents but not following through) there are a lot of adoptees out there who beg to differ. I agree that reunions come in all shapes and sizes and are seldom the 'happy rainbows and sunshine' shown on TV. I also agree that adoptees and birth parents should be prepared for less sunshine and more difficulty with reunions than they might first expect. But adoptive parents really, really need to be quiet, be supportive, and get out of the way. This is hard and it is scary, but the focus for both us and the birthparents have to be the adoptees themselves.

MasterPo said...

MasterPo happens to agree with this author (why else did MasterPo post this?).

Grace - maybe with older children who do remember their birth parents (and hopefully remember them positively or at least neutrally) it's different. MasterPo can't say.

But MasterPo can definately see the POV of adopting parents of a new born or young child who hasn't known their birth parents.

MasterPo agrees that now that the child is with the adoptive parents it is their responsibility to make the decision to allow contact or not if they believe it is in the best interests of the child, or, at least won't do harm to the child.

Like it or not, legally and ethically the adoptive parents are the child's parents and they have to decide what is best. Many will no doubt agree to the meeting. But for those who don't, respect their wishes too. Particularly if the adoption was closed or at least little to no contact from the birth parents over the years.

Grace. said...

It's a nice theory, Master Po, but it can backfire badly for the adoptive parent, especially if the adoptee is female for girls are far more likely than boys to initiate their own searches for their birthparent. With rampant social media, searching is easier than ever, and harder for the adoptive parent to control. All of my girls except one wound up having reunions of one sort or another during their teen years. I could have stopped it, but I believed then and I believe now that it would have forced them to choose between us, which would have been a terrible mistake for everyone.

MasterPo said...

When a child is a certain age there is little beyond advise MasterPo think's a parent could do to stop the child from looking. And certainly as a legal adult they can't be stopped. The best a parent probably can do is give their opinion and advise.

But for younger/minor childern MasterPo does think it's the opinion of the adoptive parent that counts.

MasterPo would go even further and say it is the obligation of the birth parents to contact the adoptive parents first, especially if the child is still minor. Go go over the heads of the adoptive parents to a minor child sees to be stalking.