July 27, 2010

Open Adoption Roundtable #18

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be part of the Open Adoption Bloggers list to participate, or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points--feel free to adapt or expand on them.

Publish your response--linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs--and leave a link to your post in the comments. Using a previously published post is perfectly fine; I'd appreciate it if you'd add a link back to the roundtable. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

A quick note before we dig in: you can follow @OpenAdoptBlogs on Twitter to find out when new roundtable prompts go up. You can also browse all of the old roundtable prompts on this handy page.

I try to find prompts that are broad enough for the whole adoption constellation to participate. I'm afraid this one is very parent (first and adoptive) focused. As always, please feel free to adapt it to fit your own experience if you're in a different role.

We each interacted with at least one professional during the adoption process (agency, lawyer, facilitator, consultant, hospital social worker, etc.). What was one thing that they did that was most supportive of open adoption? What one thing was least supportive?


The responses:

Ginger (first mom) at Shattered Glass recalls a counselor who helpfully encouraged her to be direct about her fears with her daughter's adoptive parents, but was inflexible about what she thought Ginger should need post-placement.

Jenni (first mom) of Confessions of a Mean Girl Turned Mommy contrasts one agency's pushy approach with another who gave her space to develop a relationship with her daughter's adoptive family at her own pace.

Sustainable Families (first mom and adoptee) at Austin Holistic Parenting On a Dime shares how an agency failed to show her the support she most needed in her moment of crisis, offering adoption as the only solution.

Barely Sane (adoptive mom) at Infertility Licks remembers a birth mother panel that was instrumental in their acceptance of openness and a lawyer who told them outright to lie about their open adoption commitments.

Cindy psbm (first mom) says she found an agency worker who listened to her and tried to understand what she wanted, but didn't encourage her to look at many prospective adoptive families and failed to offer post-adoption counseling.

Dr Spouse (prospective adoptive mom) at Who Am I shares how social workers in the UK have been surprised by their embrace of openness and asks for help figuring out how to talk about openness in their profile.

Elly (adoptive mom) says an adoption counselor helped them understand that open adoption is about doing best by the child and notes the differences in the how the two agencies they worked with addressed openness.

Rachel (adoptive mom) of Henry Street appreciated the many ways their Massachusetts adoption agency supported openness, but was frustrated by the Florida attorney who showed no respect for placing parents and refused to set up anything more than annual semi-open communication.

Skyderkl (adoptive mom) at Evil Mommy credits their agency with encouraging her to see things from the expectant parents' perspective, but wishes they had stopped cautioning them against anything more than a semi-open adoption.

Jenna (first mom) at The Chronicles of Munchkin Land tells how a national law network center did nothing to encourage openness or prepare or her daughter's adoptive parents for the legal or emotional realities of open adoption, leaving her to have to seek out a supportive therapist on her own.

HerOtherMother (first mom and adoptee) at Quietly Mothering recalls that, while the agency did educate her daughter's prospective parents about open adoption, there was a total lack of information and support for her.

Rachel (first mom) at The Great Wide Open says that not a single professional that she encountered was not helpful, from the midwives to the agency workers.

Sara (adoptive mom) at Unofficial Mom says they encountered nothing more negative than mild surprise over how open the adoption was.

I am (first dad) at Statistically Impossible recalls a pregnancy counseling center worker who was only interested in her own agenda and an agency social worker who seemed to do everything right.

Lavonne (adoptive mom) at Eyes Wide Open: "Both of our agencies knew that we were very open and willing to be involved in a fully open adoption. Yet, each in their own way questioned us and our motives".

KatjaMichelle (first mom) at Therapy Is Expensive: "I suppose the most supportive act was the facilitator allowing me to fill out a preference form…and the least supportive thing would have to be letting that form be the only word on openness I got (that I remember)."

Thanksgivingmom (first mom) at I Should Really Be Working: "During the course of Cupcake’s adoption, I really only dealt with two professionals: the hospital social worker and the agency social worker. Though I didn’t necessarily recognize it at the time, looking back it felt like one should have been wearing a 'Team TG' shirt, and the other a 'Team Dee.'"

Robyn C (adoptive mom) at Adoption.com contrasts the respect a lawyer showed for everyone involved with  a faciliator's lack of tact and compassion.

Amy (prospective adoptive parent) at Beanie Baby Blog realized not all agencies were as professional and caring as theirs when they had a negative experience with one representing an expectant couple.

Susiebook (first mom) at Endure for a Night: "[P]robably the worst thing that the agency professionals did was encourage Ruth and Nora not to file our open adoption agreement with the state. That would have meant that while all along I was being told that I would have a legally enforceable open adoption agreement, that wouldn’t actually have been the case."

Deathstar (adoptive mom) of A Woman My Age: "What I really needed was just to have someone to help me deal with my emotions, my fears, my doubts."


Ginger said...


JenJo said...


SustainableFamilies said...


SustainableFamilies said...

(Oh ps, I'm a firstmom and adoptee!) : )

Barely Sane said...

Oh... I am SO weighing in on this one!


cindy psbm said...

I'm going to leave my opinions here as I don't have a public blog.

I actually interacted with a few different professionals before and after I placed.
While I was pregnant I found one agency social worker who was very kind and supportive, even offered reading material for financial assistance and parenting! She was very good at listening and really seemed to understand what I wanted.
The ways that she was NOT helpful was when she allowed her intern to follow her into my hospital bed after I had given birth. This intern had a huge disgusting sore on her mouth and a bad cold. Not someone who should be around newborn babies!! Well..at least not mine!
As well, she told us it was a bad idea to 'interview' more than the one pre-adoptive couple(that the birthfather and I choose). It made me feel 'stuck' with them...

The other adoption professionals I interacted with during that time were complete wastes of time. Even the lady lawyer who *I* had to call over a dozen times to get the opportunity to sign the papers.

I was never offered post-adoption counselling except for some information given to me about a birthmom support group. Which I did attend four times. That group did not work out for me, and noone from the place where it's held has ever called me to ask if I'm alright. I don't think they really care, even though I am alright..

DrSpouse said...


I would also really appreciate some advice on this issue - have posted a question in the same post.

Elly said...

My biggest learning moment in open adoption was right at the beginning. We met with an adoption counselor who talked to us about the different forms of adoption. We were talking about open adoption and she very kindly, gently and pointedly explained to us that open adoption is about the child, and doing what is best for them. I think that shaped everything afterwards. Our CA agency was very educational of open adoption and to be honest, it just seemed the norm. The FL agency we finalized with didn't really address it, although this might be a reflection of a) our limited interaction with them and b) the state's bias to a-parents. But I feel like my attitudes to open adoption were positive from the beginning that I was willing to learn and make the effort to make it work as best it can.

Rachel said...


spyderkl said...

Here's mine:

Jenna said...

I'm up: http://thechroniclesofmunchkinland.com/2010/07/30/open-adoption-roundtable-18-professionals/

Following @OpenAdoptBloggers, too!

HerOtherMother said...

Better Late than never?

I'm up: http://www.quietlymothering.com/2010/08/01/oart-18-adoption-professionals-in-open-adoption/

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

Here's my response... thankfully as a first mom I don't have any horror stories to share!


sara said...

my response:


I am said...

Another late comer:

And thanks again for doing these.

Lavonne said...

my response. hopefully i'm not too late?!


katjamichelle said...

Mine is up...not at all helpful, but up


Anonymous said...

Here you go!


(PS I'm having a hard time commenting, so I'm trying anonymously, but it's just me: TG :))

Anonymous said...


I'm having trouble commenting too, but it's me, Robyn C. :)

Amy said...

Here is our latest experience. It's not about open adoption specifically, but about our experience with an agency recently.


susiebook said...


deathstar said...

Thank you!


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