Monday, March 08, 2010

The Adoption Triad

We have received our preliminary acceptance to our adoption agency, and are waiting only for acceptance into the Thailand program (which is the US staff here in Oregon who know that country's situation, criteria and policies very well). We've received a BIG packet of information to prepare us for our home study, or our family study, which is an invasive, yet necessary, process of having a social worker comb through every aspect of our lives--interviews, home inspections, medical and financial reports, references, etc. We have to pay to get fingerprinted and get several original copies of all of our marriage and birth certificates. It's overwhelming, but kind of nice to have the ball in our court for a little while, because most of the next 2 years it will not be!
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I've still been reading quite a bit, and we'll also be taking a 2 day adoption education class in May. One thing I've been reading about lately is called the adoption triad, or the three parties that are forever linked through adoption: the birth mother (or parents), the child, and the adoptive parents. I read a fascinating chapter in "The Family of Adoption" about the birth mother. (In some cases of international adoption, the birth father is involved, but in many cases, he is not, so for ease of writing, I'm just going to refer to the mother.) This particular book talked about how many birth mothers do not process the grief of "losing" their child to adoption. Many times it is not discussed or even kept secret, or the mother might really want to raise the child, but simply cannot due to her circumstances. Each year on the child's birthday, the birth mother thinks of her baby, and wonders how he or she is doing.
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To be honest, I hadn't given a ton of thought to the birth mother of our child. And when I think of other families I know who have adopted, I am focused on the child and adoptive parents. But as we learn more about our particular process with Thailand, I started tallying the timeline we've been given. The process takes about 2 years, and most of the babies/children are between 14-17 months when the parents can travel to Bangkok to bring them home. That means that the birth mother of Carson & Sydney's little sibling is pregnant right now.
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We've been told that the Holt Sahathai organization operates a kind of crisis pregnancy center, and comes into contact with pregnant woman who need counseling. The main reasons for a birth mother to plan for adoption for her baby is extreme poverty, or the inability to parent as an unwed mother. Whatever her reasoning is, now I can't stop thinking about her. She probably knows she's pregnant, and is trying to figure out what in the world to do. Maybe she's trying to figure out a way to make it work, but eventually will decide to allow her baby to be adopted to give him the best life possible. Those of us who have given birth know how attached you become to your unborn child. It's almost indescribable. My heart aches for this (young?) woman as I think about how HER heart will ache. How can I even begin to comprehend how agonizing that moment will be? It causes a bit of survivor's guilt, really. Her loss is my gain. I will forever be grateful that she had the strength to make that choice--even if she hasn't even made it yet. Our deep desire is to always speak with love and respect for this woman that we'll probably never meet, but always cherish.

7 comments:

Sweet Mama Jame said...

I will be praying for your sweet child's birth mother~~ "Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty, theres nothing our God can not do!"

Carrie said...

I love your heart. I'll be praying for the birth mother as she processes everything. I will also be praying for you as the Lord continues to prepare you and your heart for the newest member of your family. Hugs & blessings!

nabz said...

wow - beautiful perspective! thank you jen!

Diane Davis said...

does the agency do anything with semi-open adoptions? meaning the birth mother would not know where you live, but through the agency once a year you send pictures and updates, etc. some birth mothers do not want this because it brings up too many emotions, but i think research is showing this is the best way to go because severing the link completely between birth mother and child is traumatic. with this, the birth mother can also send pictures and updates and you can share that with your son or daughter in a way that lets them know how loved they are in your home and across the globe. i don't think this means child and birth mother has actual contact (altho some do) but being completely cut off causes more intense grief and loss in children than having some sense of power in knowing. and there are other ramifications. for those of us that have our birth parents as our caretakers, we take for granted basic things such as family medical history. i have adopted friends who have had health issues as adults and they still experience grief in not knowing the medical questions and if there is a history of issues in their genetics. if there is a way to keep lines of communication open in a way that makes you feel comfortable, that might be something to think about.

the reasons you mentioned for adoption are the reasons i am grieved over adoption. i understand adopting orphaned children, but having to gift a child to a family because of poverty is just heart breaking. in a perfect world, i think we would all care about issues of poverty so birth parents could raise their children to have full lives in their own culture and with thier own family lineage. yes, i know we don't live in a perfect world but i do think about this large scale global issues (and the same ones in my own commuity) often. poor parents can love just as deeply, but the lack of resources do impact quality of life. it's just all so sad.

btw... i'm not opposed to international adoption, i just think it is heavy in terms of what kids are missing out on because of poverty (as an example).

i think you have a wonderful heart and i am so glad that you are expanding that with knowledge too. very good stuff, indeed. and knowing your heart, i know you will be praying for birth mother and family. that is a gift you are giving her RIGHT THIS SECOND and i believe that is a connection of love and compassion.

proud of you. love you.

signed,

your long winded friend. :)

Lisa P said...

Possibly, I would never have had these thoughts in my entire life, had I not read your blog today. That is some heavy stuff--and it makes the world feel small and connected somehow. Love this journey. I met a friend this weekend who is just starting to look into international adoption. I'm linking her to you and a few others. She's excited to read your stuff.

Lisa P said...

Possibly, I would never have had these thoughts in my entire life, had I not read your blog today. That is some heavy stuff--and it makes the world feel small and connected somehow. Love this journey. I met a friend this weekend who is just starting to look into international adoption. I'm linking her to you and a few others. She's excited to read your stuff.

Lisa P said...

Possibly, I would never have had these thoughts in my entire life, had I not read your blog today. That is some heavy stuff--and it makes the world feel small and connected somehow. Love this journey. I met a friend this weekend who is just starting to look into international adoption. I'm linking her to you and a few others. She's excited to read your stuff.