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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Adoption, etc.

Today I spent time with someone that I do not know very well. And in the course of our conversation, it came to light that this person and her spouse are in the beginning stages of the adoption process. They are hoping for an open, domestic adoption, with the first mother making some sort of commitment to the potential adoptive parents before the birth of the child. This is called a "pre-birth" match in the adoption world. I am very opposed to these matches. I think it is likely to be emotionally coercive for the first mother to commit to an adoption before she has given birth, before she has seen her child, etc. (Of lesser concern is that the potential adoptive parents will be hurt or disappointed if the mother "changes her mind".) I am in favor of post-birth matches, where mothers decide after they have given birth that they are choosing not to parent the child. Potential adoptive parents should come onto the scene at this point, in my opinion.

So I told this person how I felt. I shared some of my experiences as an adoptive parent. I talked about what I have learned in my five years of adoption advocacy. And I could see in her eyes that what I was sharing what pretty scary, and pretty different from what her adoption agency has talked about. But I hope I planted a tiny seed that the mother of her future adoptive child needs to be a true member of the adoption triad. I hope that she can take a long view of the situation -- past her desperate (and understandable) desire to parent.

Adoption and its personal stamp on the life of my family has introduced so much joy. But I continue to experience ambivalence about adoption. In a perfect world, children would always be healthy and happy being parented by their biological families. In a perfect world, infertility would not be an expensive and heart-wrenching problem. In a perfect world, all sorts of families would exist without prejudice. In a perfect world, our relationships would be whole and without complication. Come, Lord Jesus, eh?

3 Comments:

  1. Purechristianithink said...
    I have some friends who were devestated when their "pre-birth" match fell apart after the baby was born. They had been present for the birth, held the baby and then the next day the birth mother changed her mind and decided to parent the child herself. They withdrew from the adoption process completely after that, saying they couldn't risk that kind of turmoil and loss again.
    Alex said...
    Purechristian,

    I can understand exactly why your friends who chose not to attempt to adopt after that experience -- this is one of the reasons we chose international adoptions. Imagine the turmoil and loss experienced by a biological parent who felt pressured into a pre-birth match and later regretted that decision! The process is very difficult for all involved...
    LittleMary said...
    we gotta talk about this in DC...I have some friends who have had great success and others devastated. It is complicated. I want that perfect world you talk about though...

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