May 26, 2007

Why is it...

... that when I mention open adoption to acquaintances for the first time, they almost always bring up first parents who might pose a danger to their children?

Yes, there are cases in which direct contact between first parents and their children wouldn't be beneficial. No one is arguing that. But somehow those situations are held up as the norm.

When I tell them I'm married, they don't warn me that spouses can be abusers and some marriages end with restraining orders. Yet they assume we should approach our relationship with Puppy's first parents with great caution. The idea that K and R are just normal people in an unusual family arrangement is quite a paradigm shift.

I wonder if people bring up Joan Crawford when K and R tell them about us. I doubt it. We adoptive parents get much better PR.

What is so frightening about open adoptions that people who aren't near them automatically assume the worst?

5 comments:

mama2roo said...

when you find the answer to that question, please fill me in...

cloudscome said...

I suspect it has to do with the financal benefit agencies and lawyers get as a result of bad press for "birthmothers."

If a single women raising her own infant got the benefit of the doubt it would have an effect on the marketplace, wouldn't it?

It's harder to see the pretty adoption fantasy in a woman relinquishing her baby if she is assumed to be honorable, trustworthy, respected, hard working, financially stable and responsible. It just works out better if the AP is all those things and the “birthmother” a bad girl…

Heather.PNR said...

Cloudscome, you are absolutely right. The stereotype of unmarried pregnant women as "bad girls" is an intrinsic part of domestic adoption as it is currently set up. Writing off certain people as simply unworthy of parenting makes the whole thing more palatable to many.

I think what I am having difficuty understanding is why so many people take the stereotype all the way from "bad girl" to "dangerous for child to be around." There is a huge difference in my mind between (mistakenly) thinking someone shouldn't raise a child and thinking they would actually HARM a child through their presence in his/her life.

It's strange, because I've noticed that even people who view placement as a courageous, unselfish act seem to balk at post-adoption contact. So even though they view a woman positively for the act of relinquishing, ongoing contact with her is still suspect.

Paula F said...

I guess I think that people are afraid of what they don't understand. We have a wonderful relationship with my son's birthmother. After all, without her, I wouldn't have him! Love your blog! Hugs, Paula F

Heather.PNR said...

Thanks, Paula!

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