Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's Best For The Child

A 15 year old girl wants to give her child up for adoption - and is OK with the adoptive family sending her the occasional photo - and telling the adoptee they're adopted when they hit 18!!

My response -

What's best for this child - number 1 - is to be parented by you.

If this can't be done - (I understand you are young - but parenting is not an impossibility) - then -

What's best for this child - number 2 - is to always know that they are adopted. They have a first mother that gave them life - that is where the child's looks, talents, likes and dislikes mostly come from - and the child needs to know that he/she came from YOU.

What's best for this child - number 3 - is to know YOU personally throughout their life. Not just photos and cards here and there - but to personally KNOW YOU. That is what OPEN ADOPTION is all about - and that is what is best for the child's self image and self concept. (photos from them is NOT an open adoption). No one can truly understand what their mother is like from hearing stories from another person - or just seeing photos. They need to talk to the person directly.
Then - you can explain to the child yourself - why you chose adoption - and help the child to understand better why they are adopted.
When we are honest with our children - they come to better understand the reasons behind what we do - and later have no reason to be angry.
Lies, secrets etc - equals a whole lot of anger down the track.

What's best for YOU - is to always be truthful and honest with this child - and with everyone else in your life. If you marry down the track - and be honest from day one - then if this child does want to know you more when they are an adult - then there will be no problem. There will be no shock return of the child you gave away. If your future partner has a problem with you having a child earlier - they do not love you - really. Any future partner should love all of you - and this child is part of you - whether you live with that child - or not.
You try to ignore that this child doesn't exist - that will eventually be more painful to you and to the child. And those two people are way more important than any future partner you will ever have.

Be strong - for you - for this child.

This is what is best for this child.

I'm an adoptee - I've lived it.
I was always told I was adopted - but I wasn't allowed to know my mother (only found her when I was 35) - and I always wanted to know. In fact - I daydreamed constantly about her - and about the reasons why.
I was told not to ever talk about it - which made it feel like my adoption was a 'bad' subject - and therefore I felt like my existence was 'bad'.

Be open, be honest, be truthful.

Open adoptions are NOT enforceable - meaning - if the adoptive family decides to never contact you again once the papers are signed - it's their right.

Be very careful about who you pick - both agency - and adoptive parents.
Don't commit totally to anything - until that child is born.
Do not let anyone guilt you into anything.
You have the right to parent if you wish - but if you don't want to - make sure you do this right.
I do hope you have some support around you - NOT the agency and adoptive parents - as they want your baby - they don't want you.
And if the adoptive parents don't want to tell the child they're adopted until they're older - or have no contact with you - they are the one's being cruel - as an adoptee needs to know this stuff - from day one.

We adoptees were not born in a cabbage patch.

We grew inside our mothers - we need to know our truth - we need to know the reasons why we were adopted - we need to know our mothers and other family members - if at all possible.
Being an adoptee means that we have 2 families - not just one. That is our reality.
Nothing wrong with that - it's just the way it is - and what's best for the adoptee - is to know - fully - both sides of their family.

I wish you and your babe all the very best that is in life.


Anonymous Judy said...

Excellent advice, Possum.

27/3/08, 12:38 am  
Blogger Ungrateful Little Bastard said...

You always put so much thought into your answers over there. You're coming up on position #4 - only ten more best answers to go!!

27/3/08, 1:52 am  
OpenID Sang-Shil said...

What a powerful post... I only hope that the asker takes it to heart.

27/3/08, 3:04 am  
Blogger juliaNY07 said...

You are wonderful, I hope that this young mother hears you.

31/3/08, 3:48 am  
Anonymous Lillie said...

Truer words have never been spoken.

I get so tired of people who think it's okay to lie to adoptees, that it's perfectly fine to omit the truth in favor of their own comfort.

It's sick and it's wrong. Adoptees are so abused and manipulated so that their adopters can feel secure. Just who is supposed to be the "adult" here?? Pass the puke bucket.

3/4/08, 2:32 am  
Blogger Michelle said...

I am glad you were there to offer your very wise, honest, ecncouraging advice to this young mother. I can only hope she will 'hear' it and understand it came straight from your heart.

4/4/08, 5:17 am  
Blogger Third Mom said...

I really like the way you present this - the logic, the clarification of the asker's misunderstandings. Really well done.

9/4/08, 12:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that a child forced to interact with his birth mother would get confused and or scared that he will get taken away from his family. What is best for the child is full truth about being adopted, where he is from, what his birth parents were like (as far as one knows), and why he was relinquished. Any more will likely confuse and scare the child until he is emotionally mature. What I think you are really saying is that meetings and interactions are best for those birth mothers who regret giving up their children. Counseling might help instead.

29/4/08, 10:02 pm  
Anonymous Mia said...

I think what Anon meant to say (must be a typo) is that SHE would be scared and confused. Children are far more resilient than adults.
I think regret goes hand in hand with relinquishment and a regretful mother is far less in need of counseling than a fearful one keeping secrets.

Spot on advice Poss. You rock.

2/5/08, 10:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mia, I don't recall saying anything about keeping a secret. I see no reason to lie to a child and not tell him he's adopted.

3/5/08, 4:22 am  
Blogger Erika said...

Why should a child be scared or confused of its own mother?

This does not make any sense whatsoever. Many people are in open adoptions and I believe if an adoption MUST occur it should remain open.

The fear you speak of is created by the adoption itself - and if it's so fearful for the adopters and the child as you say - isnt possum giving the right advice?

a child needs it mother. and mother needs child.

Adoption damages this sometimes permanently. If you respect the child then you MUST respect its first mother.

3/5/08, 9:51 am  

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