This week I was asked by a co-worker to give feedback on a specific facilitator on behalf of a close friend is considering adopting. I spent some time on the facilitator's website, and it's pretty bad. Like this level of bad:
How open do we need to be during and after the adoption process?(So frustrating. It's thinking like that which gives open adoption a bad name. Not to mention leads to such unnecessary hurt.)
The degree of openness you have with birth parents depends on your comfort level. Most birth parents want to talk to you by phone and meet you once before the birth. Often times a birth mother wants to be able to talk to you to share her pregnancy with you. Prior to the birth you may find that some birth mothers rely on you emotionally. Often you may be the only person who is excited about her pregnancy. During the pregnancy these women’s lives are somewhat on hold and therefore they are more emotionally needy than they will be after the birth. If you are able to be a friend during this time and open yourself to her it can be the gel that holds your adoption together. At the time of birth when a birth mother is flooded with emotion she will think of who you are and it can reassure her of her decision.
I find these kinds of conversations hard to do by email, especially with someone I've never met. There many different entry points for a discussion of ethical adoption. When talking in person, it's a lot easier to gauge where someone is at and what's important to them. And I remember well how hard it was at first to distinguish between the unwarranted stigmas associated with adoption and legitimate criticism of adoption practices. It was easy to buy into the idea that adoption used to be handled horribly (i.e. the baby scoop era), but that modern open adoption addressed all those problems. What prospective adoptive parent wouldn't want to hear that it's possible to have adoption without tears?
I took a stab in the dark and answered my friend's email this morning. But I'm curious how others would approach a response. What would you say?
ETA: What I said