January 30, 2012

Open Adoption Roundtable #34

This roundtable prompt comes from a first mom in an open adoption who no longer blogs but wanted to hear what others had to say on the topic.

She was thinking about her reasons for placing her daughter and how she handles sharing (or not) that information with the people in her life. She realized that her daughter's adoptive parents were often asked that same question by people (i.e. why she chose to place) and she wondered how they answered. This started her thinking about how others handle that choice of what to share and whom to share it with, especially when they are asked to speak on behalf of another party in their open adoptions.

It is likely that we've all had that experience at some time: someone asking us to speak to the choices or feelings of others in our adoption constellation. Perhaps it is someone asking a first parent how their child feels about being in an open adoption. Or someone asking an adoptee why their adoptive parents chose to adopt. You get the idea.

How do you handle such questions when they are asked of you? How would you want the other parties in your open adoption to handle those questions when they are about you?

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 listed at Open Adoption Bloggers 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--please feel free to adapt or expand on them. 

Write a response at your blog--linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs--and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is 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.

***

The responses (so far):

Jenna (first mom) @ The Chronicles of Munchkin Land

Racilous (first mom) @ Adoption in the City

Archane (adoptive mom) @  The Spinning Goth

I Am (first dad) in comments

Geochick (adoptive mom) @ An Engineer Becomes a Mom

Robyn C (adoptive mom) @ The Chittister Children

Other Mother (first mom) @ Dear Sweetheart (auto-play music)

Dena (adoptive mom) @ Red Velvet Wisdom

Meg McK (adoptive mom) @ God Will Fill This Nest

Cindy (first mom) in comments

Cat (adoptive mom) @ Cat's Litterbox

Lynn (adoptive mom) @ Open Hearts Open Minds

Alissabeth (adoptive mom) @ Not a Visitor

Susiebook (first mom) @ Endure for a Night

I Was Anne (adoptive mom) @ Tears of/and Joy

CB (adult adoptee) in comments

Danielle (first mom) @ Another Version of Mother

Venessa (adoptive mom) @ A Journey of Love

Kareydk (adoptive mom) @ Karen's Adoption Journey

Meghann (adoptive mom) @ Everyday Miracles

Mrs R (adoptive mom) @ The R House

Jenna (adoptive mom) @ sparklejenna

26 comments:

Jenna said...

Man, I stumbled around this one for awhile and then had to share the story with Dee first before I could blog it. It's live now: on Chronicles.

racilous said...

That was a tough one to get my head around but here it is -
http://racilous.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/open-adoption-34-what-other-people-say/

arachne said...

I think I've written about some of this before. But anyway, here it is:
https://arachne.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/who-gets-to-know-what-oab-roundtable-34/

Susan M said...

I'm interested to hear your thoughts, Heather, on sharing the kids' and their first families' stories with your extended family in particular. To me this seems like it could be particularly tricky. On the one hand they're family--people with whom, if we have good relationships, we want to share important information. And of course, having said information could help them be better family to their grandchild/niece/nephew, etc. On the other hand, there's still the question of the child's story belonging to him/herself and of course, of the child's first parents' story being their own.

I am said...

To be perfectly frank, I've never dealt with this issue. Most people's curiosity can't get past the hurdle of talking with a first-father. The only times questions along these lines have come up is within our adoption family. Thus I refer the questioner to the person it pertains to.

Geochick said...

Here's mine. It's tough for me because this is all so new, I'm looking forward to seeing what other people say.

http://geo-chick.blogspot.com/2012/01/open-adoption-roundtable-34-those.html

Unknown said...

http://chittisterchildren.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/open-adoption-roundtable-34-sharing-others-stories/

I thought my answer to this prompt was going to be short. Apparently, I had more to say than I realized.

Robyn C said...

I'm not sure why the silly thing thinks I'm Unknown. Blogger hasn't liked me recently.

Other Mother said...

What a great prompt! My response is here: http://letterstomybabyboy.blogspot.com/

Dena said...

My first time to participate in this, so I'm a little nervous.
http://www.redvelvetwisdom.com/2012/02/01/questionsanswers/

Meg McK said...

Just wrote about it...

http://godwillfillthisnest.wordpress.com

Cindy said...

OH wow! This IS a good one!

Here's my response:

Usually, when I am asked why I choose not to parent my placed son I do not handle it well.
EVERY time I feel like the question is a personal attack on my character.

Honestly, I know people are just curious and don't understand that life just doesn't always work the way you need it too to get the things you want or to live the way you wish you could.

I often tell people, when I am asked why I made this choice, that I don't personally believe I could be a single parent, OR that I just did not have enough money.

I have recently been watching a show that involves an adoption theme and I am thinking of changing my go-to awkward answer that I always stutter over, when asked and usually, I sound like I'm having a stoke or something.
My emotion response is so strong, but maybe if I practiced saying a kind of trite phrase like
"I wanted to give him his best chance" or something like that, it wouldn't always be so hard to explain.

The funny thing is that sometimes, when people ask, and I try to answer, and there is someone near by who knows my story and wants to kind of 'defend' me will jump into my stuttering rambling and say something like 'But she still sees him!!!' or 'he knows who she is!!' or something like that.
It is kind of humiliating and encouraging at the same time.
I really don't know how I will ever really be able to comfortably answer people about my decision.
I WANT to tell them, honestly, but I am always afraid that they will jump to all the wrong conclusions about me and I don't know how to handle that kind of situation.

Cat's Litterbox said...

Here's my answer... http://catsfilibuster.blogspot.com/2012/02/open-adoption-roundtable-34.html

Lynn said...

Here's mine: http://openheartsopenminds.blogspot.com/2012/02/answering-adoption-questions-open.html

Alissabeth said...

Here's mine:

http://www.notavisitor.com/2012/02/questions-and-answers.html

susiebook said...

http://susiebook.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/open-adoption-roundtable-34/ Boy, did I find this awkward. =/

I Was Anne said...

Not sure if I was on point, but here's mine -

http://tearsofandjoy.blogspot.com/2012/02/open-adoption-roundtable-34.html

cb said...

It was interesting from an adoptee's point of view to read all your answers.

If I were being asked why my own bmom placed without giving away the actual fine details, I think I would give an answer similar to susiebook's, "She thought it was the best decision at the time.", i.e. I would say something like "she would have done what she felt was the best thing to do, given the options she had and the advice she was given". As my bmom died young, (I would have still been in high school), I will probably never know how she felt after the adoption took place and I feel the above covers all angles.

I tend to feel that one needs to separate the adoption from the relinquishment - I tend to think of being adopted by my aparents as being a bonus to my situation rather than anything to do with it.

My aparents were very matter of fact about my bmom's situation (the usual for the time) and that helped me to understand. They knew that when we children asked "why were we adopted", we were really asking "why were we relinquished", so they kept themselves and their story out of it - that was a separate discussion.

Anyway, I can imagine that whatever the situation, it is hard to know what the right thing is to say.

Btw I've never had anyone ask me why my APs adopted and I don't enlighten them as that is their own business - however, most people tend to think "positive" things anyway so I know I don't really have to say anything. In regards to asking why my bmom relinquished me, I do try to give a bit of a background into what things may have been like for her because I know that most people tend to think "negative" things. It is not an exaggeration to say that if one does tell people one is adopted, then the majority of the time the answer will be "aren't your parents wonderful for adopting you, after all they wanted you", despite knowing nothing about my situation. Actually, my adoptive family is great but that is not necessarily known at the time of of the above answers - thus it is making an assumption on all counts.

anotherversionofmother.com said...

Here's my answer. I struggled with it a bit, but here it is!

http://anotherversionofmother.com/2012/02/05/open-adoption-roundtable-34-why-did-you-chose-adoption/

Venessa said...

Here are my thoughts

http://dlcjourneyoflove.blogspot.com/2012/02/roundtable-34.html

kareydk said...

A bit slow on the draw on this one, but here is my link:

http://karensadoptionjourney.blogspot.com/2012/02/sharing-adoption-information.html

An excerpt: Should people be asking these questions at all? I'm not of the mindset to stand on a soapbox and lecture people about what they should and should not ask about our adoption experience. S and I evade when we feel questions are too personal. It's inevitable that some people are going to say or ask inappropriate things in any personal situation. I remember when my father died being asked repeatedly, "What were his last words?"

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

http://karensadoptionjourney.blogspot.com/2012/02/html

url try #3

meghann said...

Better late than never...

http://www.bflomama.com/2012/02/07/open-adoption-roundtable-34-•-whose-story-is-it-anyway/

xo

mrs. r said...

I was so inspired by this prompt that I finally asked my youngest son's birth mom about the 4 days she chose to parent before making the decision to place. I wanted to hear it IN HER OWN WORDS.

http://www.therhouse.com/birth-mom-guest-blogger-on-making-the-decision-to-place/

sparklejenna said...

I am very late in my response, but wanted to add my 2 cents, you can read my post here:
http://sparklejenna.blogspot.com/2012/02/why.html

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