You would think after starting the adoption process two years ago that I'd feel like I knew a great deal on the subject. I know I know more then I did two years ago though I continue to find myself learning more. I started the process wanting a semi-open adoption though intrigued by the option of an open adoption. Now that I'm adoptive mother I'm struggling to define the openness of our relationship with baby girls birthmother (D).
There recently was a blog competition which was ended due to some "anti-adoption" issues. If I've learned anything in these two years it is no two adoptions are the same, and no two experiences are the same. It seems at times that the adoption world is too divided by our titles: adoptees, birthparents, and adoptive parents with each group trying to have their voices trump the others.
When I put my educator hat on I always try to explain that my experience is unique to the adoption of my daughter. I had educated myself based on the laws in my state and found myself lost when our baby was born in a different state.
As a result of the "blog fight" that erupted I found myself exposed to new blogs with new perspectives. This is what I've loved most about blogging is that I continue to read about the same topics from a new perspective each time I read a blog post. As a result I took time to educate myself further on adoptee rights. I had a vague understanding of my states laws and was happy at how open my state would be for my child. Since my baby was born in another state the availability of her original birth certificate is not available to her. I had spoken to Baby Girls Birthmother about getting a copy of the birth certificate but do not have high hopes that she will ever mail one to me. So after learning that baby girl would no longer have access to her original birth certificate I contacted the agency in PA. The agency has agreed to send me a copy as soon as they receive it.
Whats so frustrating and I think does play a role in these "adoption wars" between "sides" is that there is no consistency. It makes it challenging as an adoptive mother to navigate the system as each state is different. Different rules means a different game in each state. Some states are pro-birth parent while other states are pro-adoptive parent it seems. It creates a "fight" where there should be no fight. We found ourselves frustrated in our PA adoption because we didn't know the rules to the system there. We knew PA was on the list of possibilities but it was unfair to ask us to become educated on the laws of the four states which were possibilities.
As we learned the rules it was important for us to follow them even when we didn't agree. At one point we were given the option of moving baby girl to a different unit at the hospital allowing increased visitation. When I was asked if this was OK I directed the staff to the agency (as legally I could have as much information from the chart but I was not allowed to make decisions). I was annoyed with the agencies stance which was that they were unwilling to contact D (baby girls birthmother) to ask if we could make an agreement for visitation (which would have been non-binding since she had legal rights to visit at any time). The agency felt that moving baby girl to the other unit where there was increased visitation should not occur (in hide sight I realize they too did not have the authority to make this decision). I could have skipped the agency, agreed with the hospital (who were going to create visitation hours for D), but I refused. Some of the staff even hinted to the idea that it could be arranged- but there are laws for a reason.
What makes the process frustrating and I think elicits side taking is that each state does have different laws. There also are different stake holders with different resources. Unfortunately the rules are not always fairly created. Each agency has its own set of ethics. This debate will continue and internal "fighting" will continue.
I dont know that I contributed to the conversation except to admit- that as a new adoptive mother I'm trying my best to respect D, as well as raise an intelligent thoughtful Girl who will turn into a Woman that will likely have more insight then I do. In the mean time I'll continue to try to become as educated as I can on all perspectives.