The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
Write a response at your blog–linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs–and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is fine; I’d appreciate it if you’d add a link back to the roundtable. If you don’t blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.
This latest writing prompt came from a reader suggestion. Adoptive parent Michelle faced some complicated emotions when she told her daughter’s birth mother about an injury her daughter experienced, feeling that she was entrusted with the care of this child and she had failed in some way. She wanted to hear from others about their feelings when something like that happens.
Think about a time when your child has been injured or sick (or for adoptees, when you have been injured or sick). Did adoption change or complicate that experience at all? Did you share it with others in your adoption constellation? You might write about an actual experience you have had or think about what you ideally would want to have happen.
Excerpts from the responses:
Sandra (first parent) in a comment: “But to answer your question about wanting to know if my child had gotten hurt would it bother me?Absolutly not I would be very grateful to no everything thats going on in her life good or bad.”
jkhallowell (adoptive parent) @ keeperofthepark: “When the symptoms started, we had heard nothing from our son’s Korean mother. I know of some adoptive moms who only want letters to the first parents to include happy things, and nothing about challenges or health issues. I decided that as a mom, I would want to know what was going on with my child…. good or bad. I decided that I would ask about the medical issue in our letters to her. We prayed for contact..and for answers to help our son.”
Racilous (first parent) @ Adoption in the City: “And if none of that is reason enough to include birth families in all news – good or bad – about a child, perhaps the biggest reason for me is I do believe if I found out something months or years later I think it would do real damage to our relationship. It would make me feel like such an outsider to my own son’s life, and anything that I could possibly have done to help – whether it be to give medical history or to be another person around to give him comfort in any way possible – any of that would be lost. I’m pretty sure that finding out I wasn’t told about something would hurt way more than finding out that bad things do happen to my son.”
Robyn C (adoptive parent) @ The Chittister Children: “Adoption is often painted as the adoptive parents providing a better life for the child. (Whether it’s better or just different is a topic for another post.) When Cassie hurt herself, I felt like I had somehow failed in that, even if just for a moment.”
Cindy (first parent) @ Another Crazy Christian: “I’m a strange quirky one too, I just wish that my son’s adoptive mom would see how similar in personality we are and be a close friend to me so that I can hear more than just vague random comments that I take out of context in my imagination and get offended by. If we were close friends I think that I would know more about the details of worry and see my son’s adoptive moms mother-heart-of-love and then I wouldn’t be so shocked to learn he needs glasses at 6 years old. Right now I see a energetic great mom, but I know it’s not the whole story.”
Susiebook (first parent) @ Endure for a Night: “I wish that I could know more about Cricket’s life and experiences, but seeing as I don’t even know what he likes, we’re a long way from my knowing when he’s under the weather or getting stitches or Lord knows what. But that one conversation, letting me know how much I wasn’t told just this one time, told me that I can’t trust Ruth or Nora to let me know if anything happens.”
Erinbeth (adoptive parent) @ A Peculiar Love: “This guilt and insecurity can certainly rise up in an adoptive parent even outside of an open relationship with the child’s first family. When you’ve crossed the bridges that must be crossed to get to an adoptive child, there is a desperation to protect them. I’m not saying that biological parents aren’t desperate to protect their children. I’m just saying that it can make some of us a tad more protective than someone who hasn’t had to fight as hard to bring a child into their family”
Jenna (first parent) @ The Chronicles of Munchkin Land: “While I won’t share any specifics of her health, I will share that I find I am extra-protective of my parented children when I know the Munchkin is sick or hurt or dealing with something. I tend to hover more, to smother with love as a means of making up for where I am not, for the ways I cannot tend to her needs. I recognize it, and I try to keep it all in check. Yet the Mama heart does what it wants to and mine just wants to mother the heck out of my children when they are ill, whether they’re here or not.”
Dena (adoptive parent) @ Red Velvet Wisdom: “We have an older child foster adopt situation, and I have tried to keep contact and openness. My grandfather was adopted and we had a blank slate on his side as far as medical history goes. I also knew the desire that my mom has just to know. I’ve heard her tell over and over that she has no medical history for her paternal side while dealing with serious medical issues. I wanted to have more for our little Boo.”
Ashley (adoptive parent) @ Authentically Ashley: “I do know one thing for sure – with either of my children, if something happened to them (injury or illness), we would certainly call and let the birth family know immediately, just as we will call the rest of our family. And I can guarantee that they would be there in the hospital with us – worrying along side us. Because we’re a family. And that’s what families do.”
About the author:
A mother by open adoption, Heather Schade is the founder and editor of Open Adoption Bloggers. She writes at Production, Not Reproduction.