Choosing the Parents for My Baby

When I knew that I was going to place my baby for adoption, I wanted to find the best parents I could for my child. That is one of the most important parts of the adoption experience that I had with Adoptions First. These are the people that will be adopting your child. The people that will be raising them, teaching them and loving them.

I wanted a couple who had been married for a little while and that were family orientated. I wanted a family that loved the outdoors and were animal lovers. I also wanted someone who was down to earth and had similar values as me. Let me tell you, it is one of the most difficult things ever to pick people to raise your child.

It took me a while to choose the adopting parents as there were several families that I really liked. With Elisabeth’s support, I was ready to talk to an adopting Mom that I had been thinking a lot about. I felt so comforted knowing that Elisabeth not only took the time to get to know me, but the adopting families she works with. So when I asked her questions about the adopting mom, she was actually able to answer me honestly. With Elisabeth’s support and advice, I was ready to talk to her.

The first time that we talked the conversation went very smoothly. There was not a pause or any moments of awkward silences. We really connected. We talked a few times getting to know each other and I discovered a lot of things about them that I was looking for. They both were close to their families and also loved the outdoors. There is a place where a grew up that my family holds dear to our hearts and I came to find out that they loved to go there for camping and hiking. They had a dog at home and loved all sorts of animals. The mom works in a creative industry and the dad is a writer. It made me very happy to know that they worked in creative fields because I also love the arts and it is something that I have enjoyed my entire life.

I fell in love with these people and then I realized that I had found the parents for my child. They were everything I had hoped for and wanted. It can sometimes be overwhelming to find parents for your child but the best thing that you can do is to get to know them, ask as many questions as your mind can think of and make the decision with your heart. Your heart will not steer you in the wrong direction.

With my open adoption, it helps me more with knowing that the decision was the right one. Just recently, the adopting mom texted me that she had read some of my writings. She told me that it touched her heart in a deep way and affirmed our connection together forever. She promised that my little girl will know that I’m truly amazing and strong and that she has no doubt we will reunite in the future when the timing is best for all. She truly believes what we have is special and that she will know she is loved and supported by all of us.

Her words touched my heart, so deep down. It made me realize how powerful adoption truly is. It makes me feel whole from it all, knowing that she will make sure that my little girl knows I didn’t do any of this because I didn’t want her but I did it because I love her and want her to have the best possible life and family.

Five Things Adoptees Wish Their Parents Knew

1. Speak about “The Way You Became A Family” with pride. Start conversations about it and embrace your story. Your child will pick up subtle messages such as your tone of voice, confidence, and your non-verbal clues about how you feel about their adoption. You want them to receive the message that you are proud about how you became a family, so they know there is nothing to be ashamed of.

2. Even if they aren’t talking about it, we need to be aware that young children think about their story. The search begins in their imagination. Our children wonder “Where is my birthmom now? Does she want to meet me or know who I am?” Our children want us to take the initiative in opening the conversation about their birthparents. Remember that children want us to demonstrate empathy and acceptance. Empower your child to feel all kinds of feelings about their adoption story. Your home should be a place where they feel safe expressing a range of emotions about their adoption without fear of upsetting you.

3. At some point children think about meeting their birthmother. You are their real parent, and their interest in wanting to meet their birthmother is not a threat to you or your role. It is natural to want to know where you came from. If you do not have an open adoption but feel your child would benefit from a more open relationship with their birthmother, seek out a licensed adoption professional to help guide your family through the process.

4. Keep in mind that there is a difference between secrecy and privacy. Respect your child’s privacy. It is not necessary to tell others the details of your child’s adoption story. Remember, it’s their story, not yours.

5. Current adoption psychology suggests that parents should help their child see the fact they are an adoptee as a place setting at the table of their identity, and be sure it isn’t focused on as if it should be the centerpiece. While it is an important part of who they are, it is only one of many important things… “I’m a soccer player, an awesome speller, an adoptee, the biggest cousin, and a dancer.”

Into the Open

Diving in to the Dangers of Secrecy

Being an adoptee is different from not being adopted. Not better or worse, but different. As an adoptee grows up, there are unique issues to consider at home and at school. This “extra layer” can be prepared for ahead of time, and adoptive parents can arm themselves with the tools to help their child navigate these delicate moments.

Depending on their age and individual personality, they may wonder, “Do I have any birth-brothers or birth-sisters? Do my birthparents think about me on my birthday? Are my parents happy they adopted me? Why didn’t my birthparents keep me?” There are a broad range of feelings and attitudes among adoptees depending upon the situation of each child and family. Everyone has their own way of reacting to the realities of adoption, and there isn’t a right way or a wrong way to feel.

Luckily, adoption is more openly acknowledged and discussed today than in previous generations. Children now grow up knowing their adoption story from the beginning, without the memory of “The Day They Were Told They Were Adopted.” Adoption has become a mainstream way to build a family, and your child will grow up knowing other adoptees. Whether they inquire about their birthparents as a young child, or express interest as an adolescent, the majority of adoptees do in fact want to meet their birthparents.

This information is presented to provide a forum to start a conversation with your child. The voices of adoptees should be heard. Ideally, you want your home to be a safe place for your child to feel a range of feelings about their adoption as they grow up.

Unanswered Questions
Children who are raised in an environment of secrecy, where their adoption story is vague or avoided, receive the unspoken message that the subject is taboo. They often develop fantasies to explain things they don’t understand or have answers for. If they do not have information about their birthmother, they may have exaggerated fantasies that she is a princess in a far off land, or in the other direction, fear that she is someone awful.

Dangers of Secrecy
If your child expresses curiosity in meeting their birthmother, it might feel like an unnecessary complication, and the “easier” answer might seem to discourage their interest. The danger in dismissing this is that they may think that as their parents, you are protecting them from something. Children may eventually leap to the natural conclusion, “I know I came from her, does that mean I inherited something bad too?” Ultimately, not allowing them to meet their birthmother can send a message that something must be bad about her, or shameful about being adopted, or why else would they have to be kept from her?

Open Communication
Bringing the subject out into the open can normalize the concept of adoption. If children grow up in an environment where their birthparents and adoption story is easily part of the conversation, it can be something they ask about without fear of upsetting their parents. Additionally, if they meet her, they can also hear from her directly about the reasons she sought out an adoption plan and about the story of how she “just knew” that these were the people meant to be the parents of the baby she was growing inside her. This is the most effective way for your child to feel confident that they are meant to be your child.

Ultimately, open adoption brings peace of mind to birthparents, adoptive parents and, most importantly, to children. It provides individuals with an opportunity to solidify a strong self-esteem and a sense of pride in their adoption story. They can feel confident that everyone came together on their behalf, and made this plan out of love.