The Open Adoption Experiment

How does it feel to be in an open adoption?

One Adoptee from an “Open Adoption” Tells Her Story

Back in 2005, I was still managing the now defunct MSN Anti-Adoption Insights. This was back when the “message boards” were about to be replaced by more advanced forums and blogs, soon to become the social media that we know today.  Sadly, most of the wonderful posts on what we lovingly called AAI were lost when MSN removed them all, 

“Pink Bubbler” joined the board as an 16 year old adoptee in 2005. She didn’t share her real name, or where she was from. She shared her story, her viewpoint, as an adoptee living through an open adoption. And then, she disappeared into the internet. I have never heard from her again, though I would welcome a follow up, now 8 years later. Until she, and the many other adoptees living through open adoptions come of age and speak out, we only have glimpses of what being an open adoption adoptee is like.but thankfully, this one was saved.

Until that day comes, We have PinkBubbler’s Open Adoption story to think about. With the exception of the sub-headers added for search purposes, nothing in her story has been edited.Over the years, I have heard stories told that sound much like this one. Like, Pink, I also see Open Adoptions as experimental. Partly, I do believe that the motivations for Open Adoptions, though an improvement upon the secret closed system, are not 100% pure. While I fully acknowledge that it must be better on one had for a child to be able to know their origins through life, I also believe that Open Adoption is used all too often as a carrot to wave in front of a considering expectant mother in order to get her to relinquish. That said, I do also acknowledge that many adoptive parents and also birthparents, claim that a true open adoption can work. To that, I must respectfully say that it seems like they work, from your perspective. However, I am more interested and will be more apt to believe that they work when the adoptees say so.

 

The Open Adoption Experiment by “PinkBubbler”

Before Open Adoptions

Popping the bubble of open adoptions

Two people fall in love – have a baby and suddenly life changes forever. They are now “mom and dad.” They dream of the first day of kindergarten, the first high school dance, which will also be her first “real date.” They may start saving for a college fund, and dream about the day she gets married and has children of her own. But for some people, these dreams are shattered before they are ever given the chance to dream these dreams, and instead of dreaming, they are grieving.

These are mothers who become pregnant too soon, unmarried, never fell in love, don’t have enough money or they believe that you don’t start saving, but you must have it all in place before she’s born. This isn’t the warped mind of a young girl, but rather the myth that society perpetuates. There are too many couples who cannot have children of their own, there are too many adoption agency owners that need to stop at the bank on the way home and there is only one way to fulfill these needs. As with many things in life, for each profit – there must be a victim; in adoption there are two parties who profit, those who get the baby and those who make the money – there are also two victims. Those who leave the hospital empty handed and empty hearted, and the child, who leaves the hospital – not alone, but still just as empty hearted.

In the 50s, 60s and the 70s, little was known about how adoption would affect the children. Without a voice of their own, society assumed that children would fare well by simply being transferred from one mother to another. Since we have no conscious memory during that time, it must have seemed like a simple solution. They can erase the fact that the “bad girl” became pregnant at age 15, 16 or 17, and a couple who are married and financially secure but unable to have their own children can finally have the family they have always dreamed of.

However, this “perfect solution” failed miserably. In time, the adopted began speaking out. Angry that their records were sealed, furious that their families mistreated them, upset that they didn’t know where their red, brown, blonde or black hair came from, and devastated that they were “unwanted children.”

Open Adoption Circa 1988

Thus in the 80s began the “Open adoption experiment.”

What a perfect solution to the problem! No longer will these children grow up and not know their roots. They will know what their biological parents liked to do, what they looked like, their athletic ability or lack of. They will now know that they were in fact loved and that the transfer from one mother to another was an act of unselfish love.

I am a product of this experiment. I was born on December 24th, 1988 and I was soon transferred from one mother to another because my first mother, known throughout my life as my birth mother, wasn’t married to my birth father. She was 16 years old and still in high school. There were dreams that her parents, my first grandparents, expected her to fulfill and of course there was a couple who were unable to fulfill their dreams of having a houseful of children, known throughout my life as mom and dad.

I have been told that December 24th, 1988 was a cold and cloudy day. The black clouds meant much more than a weather forecast of rain to come; it was the day that the lives of four people would be profoundly and forever altered; much more like a forecast of doom, rather than rain. I went home with my new family, my new name and a new life. A life of promises made from one mother to another mother and my first mother went home to her old life; one of high school parties, dates and the prom.

Contact in an Open Adoption

My second mother would begin to write letters to my first mother during my second month of life, updating her on what I was wearing, what I was doing, my sleep schedule or lack of one and to remind her of how thankful she was for the gift she freely gave, ‘the gift’ being me.

I would grow up never having to question who I looked liked, where my strawberry blonde hair came from or where I got my green eyes, because I had a picture of my first mother taped on my vanity mirror. I would also have a photo album full of pictures. Photographs of the time when I was still with her, while she was carried me inside her body, photos of her holding me in the hospital and photos of her handing me to my second mother. I woul also have photos of her high school graduation and some of her with college friends holding each other with big smiles on their faces; I would never have to wonder where my smile came from.

The first visit between my first mother and me took place when I was 2 years old. I don’t remember it but I was told that we met at a park and that I was a happy toddler who ran and played carefree that day. After that day, the visits became an annual event. I would soon learn that once a year, I would be able to see my first mother while my second mother would continue writing letters about my progress every 3 months.

By the time I was 6 years old, an increase in our visits were mutually agreed between my two mothers, and my first mother and I would begin a new type of relationship. My second mother would hand me the phone to say “hello,” to brag about my teacher, or what art project I may have made that day, or to tell her about my new shoes, or my new pretty dress.

Enter a Birth Sibling in An Open Adoption

I remember the day that I found out my first mom was having a baby. I was barely nine years old, and confused because she wasn’t married. I worried that my little brother or sister would have to be given up for adoption and I asked my mom if we would get him or her. When she explained to me that my first mom would be raising the baby, more confusion set in.

When I was still 9 years old, my biological sibling was born. My little sister. It was just before Thanksgiving vacation. I went to bed knowing that by morning, she would probably be born. I would be woken up in the morning to the news, but what they didn’t know; I was awake until almost morning crying into my pillow and praying that she would arrive safely and unharmed. I think I cried myself to sleep. The next day, I fell asleep at my desk and was sent home by the school nurse.

I was unable to see my little sister until she was 10 days old. My second mother took me shopping to buy her a present and I picked out a small, brown stuffed hippopotamus. My second mom was less than thrilled with my choice and wanted me to choose something else, something cuter. After begging, pleading and pouting, she decided on a pink bunny for the baby, and agreed that I could have the hippo for myself. Today that hippo is my favorite possession and he is kept on my bed, maybe someday I will give him to his rightful owner.

Throughout my life, there have always been separate family vacations, and separate birthday parties. We would celebrate my birthday at home with my adoptive family and then get together the weekend after with my first mother and my sister. Family vacations were confusing for me because  either I wasn’t invited or allowed, to go with camping with my first family, something they did on a regular basis. I can recall the feelings of jealousy vividly.

At about the age of 12, I started becoming an out of control pre-teenager. I would test my both my first mother and my adoptive parents constantly. Because I was given so many things, there were so many things for my adoptive parents to take away due to bad behavior. I would lose my video games, my cds, and my phone privileges. Eventually I would start losing my visits with my sister and because by nature I am a fighter, I would lash out and make things worse. I was unable to see first family from the age of 13 until the winter of 2004, age 16. But every year, like clockwork, a basket on Easter, a present on both Christmas and my birthday would arrive.

Last year I finally learned that if I truly wanted something, I would have to keep my emotions tucked inside and play by the rules. It’s still working.

What An Open Adoption FEELS like to an Adoptee

I look at the photographs of my childhood and I can see the big smiles, and all the gifts under the Christmas tree. I can see how most people would look at me and see a happy adopted 16.5 year old girl. Most people would think I am lucky to have two families, other adopted people may think I am fortunate to know my genetic history, my heritage and where I came from. But what I see is different from what other people see; I can plainly see the pain behind the smile.

  • My memories are more than just visits with my first mother and my sister. My memories are of a constant battle between happy appearances with an inner turmoil.
  • My memories take me back to that cloudy and dreary December evening. The day that my life would drastically change and the person I was meant to be would never be.
  • My memories take me back to the day that I was a ‘happy’ toddler running around the park, laying my eyes upon my first mother for the first time in two years. I must have learned very early. My memories take me back to that horrible night, etched into my brain is the memory of pure terror that my little sister would die, or I would never see her, or she would be given away. I will never forget those tears in my pillow and all the prayers said that night in fear.
  • My memories take me back to being a little girl who fell in love with an ugly hippo and wanted desperately to give it to her 10 day old sister, but was unable to.
  • My memories take me back to the feelings of jealousy and inner rage, each time my first mother would pull out of the driveway with my sister in the truck. We would stand on the porch and wave. Damn that hurt.
  • My memories are of missing my sister’s Kindergarten and first grade graduation.
  • My memories are built around being what some refer to as a chosen child, but I call it being broken at birth.
  • My memories are of fighting feelings of being unloved and unwanted, even though I was constantly told how much they loved me.
  • My memories are of sitting on the same fluffy pink vanity chair and staring at her picture, the picture that was still there, throughout all those years, while trying not to allow the tears to smear the makeup I was putting on.

My life is not a solution to a problem or the fix for another problem. I am angered that I was a part of a failed experiment and that my life was devalued by trying to prove that it could work.

On Friday June 10th 2005 at 11:15 am, my little sister will graduate from the second grade. Of course I won’t be there.

 


Are you an Adoptee from an Open Adoption? Adoptionland is waiting to hear your point of view. Please, feel free to send me your adoption stories and I will post them here. I can give you credit or keep you unknown; whatever works for you.

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About the Author

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Musings of the Lame was started in 2005 primarily as a simple blog recording the feelings of a birthmother as she struggled to understand how the act of relinquishing her first newborn so to adoption in 1987 continued to be a major force in her life. Built from the knowledge gained in the adoption community, it records the search for her son and the adoption reunion as it happened. Since then, it has grown as an adoption forum encompassing the complexity of the adoption industry, the fight to free her sons adoption records and the need for Adoptee Rights, and a growing community of other birthmothers, adoptive parents and adopted persons who are able to see that so much what we want to believe about adoption is wrong.

108 Comments on "The Open Adoption Experiment"

  1. El Natural | May 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm |

    Wow! What a great piece!! I feel EXACTLY what she is saying, except from the birth mom’s aspect. I’m constantly jealous of the APs in our not so open adoption.

  2. Laura Schwartz | May 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm |

    A powerful and painful story. So many similarities to being in a closed adoption. We of the closed adoption era fight for our information but, it appears, it’s not just information we need.

    We need to belong in the families to which we were intended to belong.

  3. I’m very bothered by adoptive parents who would use visits with her first family as a punishment for bad behaviour. That is so wrong!! Who would ever tell their child “If you don’t behave you can’t go see Grandma this weekend.”? No good parent would do that.

    I can only hope that not all “open” adoptions are like this.

    • My son’s ‘open’ adoption is like this – although we were cut off when my grief and voice of regret became too loud. We were cut off when he was just 19 months.

    • Oh you have NO IDEA..contact can be the ultimate form of manipulation by adoptive parents who are threatened by their child’s love for their natural family…it can be used as a way to punish the child and/or punish the natural family..and it is HORRIBLE, but it happens all the time.

  4. “Last year I finally learned that if I truly wanted something, I would have to keep my emotions tucked inside and play by the rules. It’s still working.”

    This hits home. Very powerful writing. We need a lot more of these perspectives and they need to be given to prospective mothers who look towards drinking the open adoption kool-aid. I always thought that open adoption would cause a lot of identity crisis questions for the adoptee. This is why family preservation should be first choice.

    When I found out that my firstmom had offered me for adoption to her cousin, I was relieved that the husband had declined (wanted only boys) and a big part of that was because I felt that it would be very confusing and painful to be raised by a family but know that my firstmom was nearby relative and raising her family.

    I hope this smart young lady provides an update.

  5. This is among the first first-person account I’ve read from an adoptee growing up in an open adoption. I expect in a few years, we’ll be hearing more.

    I have come to understand that there is a difference between contact and openness — they are not the same. I wonder if PinkBubbler might feel like even though she had contact, maybe she did not have openness with either her first or second moms. And I wonder if this is why she felt she needed to suppress her feelings and hide them from her mothers.

    Like you, I would love to hear an update from a now 24 year-old PinkBubbler.

    I agree that no matter what parents like me say about how well our open adoptions are or aren’t working, the proof will be in what our future grown children say about it.

    • ” I agree that no matter what parents like me say about how well our open adoptions are or aren’t working, the proof will be in what our future grown children say about it.”

      I’m glad to hear we are in agreement about this. When I hear good honest parents, who truly are trying to do everything right, and believe that they can mitigate any of the pain for the mothers or issues for the adoptee with an open adoption, I worry, true concern about them. Because we just do not know yet. And I can imagine that some of those adoptees might very well be loud and vocal and angry. Of course, some won’t, but I think it will be such a shock to all who believed that open adoptions can make it “all better”. I just hope we can all prepare to accept for the truth, whatever it might be, when the adoptees tell us all. I pray we listen.

      • Lori can answer this better than I can but I think what her goal is it not say that her ways can help “mitigate” pain for the two other sides of the triade. But that their goal is to better prepare to deal with the pain that is there. Recognize and support those people rather than silence them.

        As with any situations like this I think you are more likely to hear from those who have either really good or really bad experiences. It’s the ones in the middle who won’t be vocal who may end up being the majority of the population.

      • Parenting, adoptive or not, has a 20-year feedback loop. By the time we figure out what worked or didn’t, it’s too late to change course.

        Which is why we must find ways to be open to each moment. Open to tuning in to the child. Open to tuning into ourselves and our subconscious motivations (like fear or insecurity). Open to listening to others who have come before us, and listening in a discerning way.

        This is why I believe that open-heartedness goes a long way to staying on an intuitive course regarding What Is at any given moment. We will not get rid of adoption — it has existed throughout human history. We can aim, however, to “do” adoption in the most open-hearted and respectful ways possible, dealing with our own issues so they don’t become our child’s issues.

        Thanks for this dialogue, Claudia. I have learned a lot from reading here and elsewhere, sometimes places off the typical AP beaten path.

      • Have you followed or read the on-going research on truly open adoptions done by Dr. Ruth McRoy and Dr. Hal Grotevant? They have been following, for many years, a large cohort of children raised in closed adoptions, semi-open adoptions and completely open adoptions. Actually, they have identified twenty seven different levels of relationships and some change over time. There is no problem free adoption, but the many inputs of individuals raised in truly open relationships is positive.

  6. I wonder how my son will feel once he finds out that because of my grief and regret – and my refusal to be quiet about how this adoption ‘went down’ – we were cut off from him. It’s been just 3 days shy of 7 months and the ‘twice a year pics’ have not been received. The ‘keepers for now”s agency case worker apparently emailed them a couple weeks ago after my inquiry for the ‘twice a year’ photos that the post-adoption support agency person said we would be getting, but still there’s nothing. Just silence, my punishment for not being a ‘good’ and/or ‘happy’ b-mommy.

    Because of this, I can totally relate to her comment, “I would have to keep my emotions tucked inside and play by the rules.” But there is no way in this lifetime I will ever stop telling our story. Not until the day I die.

    I, too, would love to hear an update from PinkBubbler. I’m hoping that she has been able to give her prized hippo to her sister, and build the relationship she always wanted with her first family.

    I hope that she cannot be ‘punished’ by losing visits anymore.

    My heart broke reading this (yet again), thinking of my son.

    I will never put him in the middle or make him choose, but I will not lie either. I just want him back, as I have ever since the day he left.

  7. Wow. I knew open adoption was like that, but I never heard the voice of an open adoptee before. That young girl felt just like i did, and still do, even though she got the new and improved adoption of today. Boy I wish she would pop back into our lives. Her more grown up perspective would be interesting to hear. The more I grew up, the uglier adoption seemed to me. At my age now, it just seems like the most ridiculous idea. It’s on par with Santa and the Easter bunny. Comforting for some, but just a fairy story, after all. The adoption Fairy doesn’t exist. She doesn’t sprinkle little unwanted boys and girls with magic adoption dust that transforms our DNA into replicas of our adopters.

    It’s just a creepy awful, downright chilling way to live, for the kids and the adoptive parents too. It should not be done. I feel that my entire life was given away when my mother left me. I can never really feel happy, and I don’t expect I ever will. I have a wonderful family, my husband and 4 children. I actually, consciously built a tribe. I was so hungry for a blood connection. All I ever wanted was my own baby, my first relative. I married young and started cranking out the kids. I love them all like no one before. They were part of me!

    My adoption was always there, my first day of school, my wedding, the birth of my children. I was alone in the world, with no one to call kin. Cruel, cruel world.

  8. Get out of my head, will ya Claud? LOL. I spent all day discussing open adoption with friends, and on my blog, and said exactly what you did – latest social experiment…we need to hear from those this was foisted upon. I see we are starting too.

  9. zygotepariah | May 24, 2013 at 11:36 pm |

    As a closed records late BSE adoptee, I’ve often felt that it would be terribly confusing and frankly soul-wrenching to be part of an open adoption.

    Quite frankly, often the only thing keeping me sane is knowing my mother wanted to keep me. I couldn’t imagine knowing that she would be perfectly A-OK with only seeing me once a year and so forth — in other words, knowing perfectly well what she was doing, and giving me away anyway.

    I see why it’s termed as such, but I’d argue that it actually isn’t an “experiment”. After all, this implies that someone cares about the results. Given how many states and provinces still have sealed records, it’s obvious they’re not listening to the voices of the previous version of adoption; why would they listen to the current version?

    • Damn good point. Which brings us back to the motivation.. was it truly for the better meant of the kids.. or was it, as I suspect, a change in the marketing due to reaching a new audience of producers and compel them to relinquish?

      • zygotepariah | May 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

        I’d like to *think* it was for the benefit of adopted children, but let’s look at it another way.

        We know there are laws in place for the protection and safety of children, such as child labour laws. We know every state and province (since I’m Canadian) has laws regarding OBC access and other adoption records. Why then doesn’t every state and province have laws for the legal enforcement of open adoption? I mean, if it’s all about the children and such. I think this is rather telling.

      • True open adoption relationships are focused on the children who will become adults and NOT on the adoptive or birth parents. It takes education and support to get past people’s fears and help them to see that adoption is a complex form of family building. Birth father families also need to be included. To my great sadness, some have used openness as a form of marketing and it makes me angry.

        • “It takes education and support to get past people’s fears and help them to see that adoption is a complex form of family building.”
          The problem with this statement is, it twists about three times to finally rest at bs.
          It twists because:
          1. ‘education’ on every level in this society is programmed by the same tribe who own the government, the advertising/marketing/govnt.spin agencies, the drug companies, the doctors, shrinks, banks, seed companies, religions and probably about five other systems that don’t currently spring to mind.
          Which means ‘education’ can not be trusted any further than any of the above mentioned. Education institutes have ‘programs’. AI and robots get programmed.

          2. Support. To get past fears- How? In my 43 years of experience, fears are there to protect from harm. Irrational fears are a phobic response due to lack of some critical nutrient, usually zinc or iodine.
          So would I pay someone (or get sponsored by the govnt.) to talk to someone about my fears, knowing that they have been educated by the same people who have put this twisted system in to place?
          Sounds reasonable.
          Not. When I wanted to talk to someone about adoption and relinquishment back in 1995 I’d already been through the fires of hell via my own alcoholic father, and mother who couldn’t care less if I’d paid her millions. Middle-upper class fun. I had no one to talk to because I’d spent my life telling everyone that everything was fine, as per mother’s instructions.
          My ‘help network’ in my eighth month of pregnancy was a female councillor, wearing darkly colourful clothes and who struck me as unstable (weird ability that adult-children-of-alcoholics develop), and who, sure enough, ended up answering my questions until she cried openly in front of me. Then I knew I was literally on my own and I couldn’t garner enough help from the world to save myself and my child as a unit.
          My great fear was parenting a child without an ounce of financial, familial, moral, social or peer support. I was already $10G in debt. and hadn’t even joined the ‘workforce’.
          Open adoption was dangled like a lifeline. I wish just ONE WOMAN had stopped me, sat me down and told me it was a noose.

  10. After reading this piece I have some questions that I would love to hear from now for this 24 year old adoptee (which may not be possible):

    1) As Lori alluded to was it a contact based open adoption or was it truly an open relationship based adoption? Because there is a huge difference. The former is not what an open adoption was intended to be?

    2) What were the adoptive and birth/first parents perspectives?

    3) Did this adoptee ever go to some type of therapy to address these concerns as a child, teenager or adult? It might have been in her best interest that it happened at the age of 9 when her sister was born at the latest.

    4) As Andy alluded to, why were taking away visits to her sister seen as an effective punishment? It seems to me that there are more effective ways to punish a rebellious teenager that are less emotionally damaging?

    Overall I think we can learn from some of the mistakes that may have been made here in this open adoption. Will we ever get one that is perfect? No, but then again what in life is perfect. My chidhood and teenage years were hardly rainbows and sunshine and I had incredibly supportive parents who did all they could. The idea here is to improve future open adoptions and not repeat the mistakes of the past. Because until something drastic happens in the US and society in general, adoptions are not going away.

  11. Adoption cannot be done right, open or closed. Separating a mother and child will never be the right thing to do, when the woman is healthy and able to raise her child. It is not in the child’s best interest to be taken from their mother. The excuse of giving the child a better life does not work, because a child will not have a better life if it is separated from their mother. Period. There is no way around this. I am not talking about abuse or neglect. Even in severe cases I do not believe a complete severing of maternal ties is in the child’s best interests.

    • Not every situation is the same. Not every adoptee reacts to being adopted the same. Not everyone hurts as much as you do (the level of hurt differs but still exists). Not every adoptee has the hate for adoption and adoptive parents that you do. I have a close friend who was adopted (closed adoption) who struggled with being adopted at times. Her sister who was adopted didn’t struggle with it. So again we can’t treat every adoptee, expectant parent or birth parent the same way even though you may think we should.

      • Of course not everyone feels the same, but many of us do. If adoption hurt even one of us, then it’s not universally a good thing. You will not know if the child you adopt will be happy or not. No one knows, but if there’s a chance that you’re hurting a child by separating her from her mother, why do it?

        • In the words of Forrest Gump, life is like a box of chocolates you never know what you are going to get. Assuming that a child will be happy or disturbed is foolish.

          It’s not the adoptive parents who make that separation, it’s the expectant parents who make that decision. Whether they want to or whether they are coerced or forced is another matter.

          Let me ask you a question whether or not my wife and I adopt does it really make a difference in the big picture? A child we would have adopted won’t that child just be adopted by someone else? So I don’t see why you continue to try to convince me not to pursue adoption when it really makes no difference.

          • My adoptive mom often told me, if it wasn’t me it just would’ve been the next person in line. It was not comforting. You keep trying to seek approval for what you want to do. It doesn’t matter how anyone else feels, so why bother? You say you are fact finding, but when faced with unpleasant facts given by people who have lived adoption, you try and discount them. We have all heard about happy adoptees. It’s great that they were able to deal with all that adoption brings and managed to be ok with it. Some of us are not. Thats all.

          • I’m not seeking anyone’s approval. To be honest I don’t need it. How my wife and I choose to live our lives is no one’s business. I am also not trying to fact find. I am perspective finding so that I can gather that perspective to form my own opinions to help make better decisions.

            What I’ve learned by hearing so many sad stories is what not to do if we pursue adoption. Right now we aren’t ready to make that decision. We are still grieving our IF and are not ready to make that decision one way or another. It would be foolish to make any decision right now. But if we do pursue adoption and are privleged enough to do so that being supportive by just listening and recognizing pain exists is how best to approach the pain that an adoptee and/or birth/first parent has. Telling someome that they should be thankful for what they have doesn’t erase pain. Only recognizing that pain exists can help a person cope not erase pain rather than making it worse by putting it down.

            I apologize that you feel that I am trying to discount your grief and pain. That was not my intention. I am sorry to hear your pain impacts you as much as it has. I am also sorry that it sounds like you did not get the support you needed from your adoptive parents. My point was that whether or not my wife and I adopt doesn’t change your hurt, any adoptee hurt or any first/birth parents hurt nor does it change the issues with adoption. So I don’t understand why you seem to be trying to convince me to not adopt when if I don’t in the big picture nothing changes.

            • Greg, you simply don’t get it and you are engaging in the time-worn practice of cognitive dissonance. without a willing supply of adopters, there would be no market- and if social support existed for young mothers as it does in the UK and Aus. there would be almost NO infant adoptions. You say to Marylee, oh, sorry your adoptive parents didn’t support you enough, as if you think you are so supportive you could help any adoptive child through the pain and hurt.

              On another topic, I am not sure that open adoptions really work; here is why- mothers who express natural grief and remorse for giving away the child (something the child needs to hear) enrage the AP’s by undermining their legitimacy. The compliant b-mommy who shows up for recitals and a few things a year- is acting like she sanctions the whole arrangement (indeed, she must for it to persist) and has a hands-off relationship with her child. All of it points to one thing- kids should not be adopted unless parents are incapacitated, a threat to them, or dead. The whole premise of adoption is someone is out there who can parent better than you– giving away a kid is fundamentally SELFISH. Period.

          • Does it make a difference? That’s a good question.
            It can’t change any of our pasts for sure. But can it remove some pain? Personally, I can say that it actually does. Not saying that MY happiness is contingent upon your life choices, but when I do hear form the many pre-adoptive parents who have written to say that they WERE planning to adopt and now, will not or form a expectant mom who tells me that she is keeping her child because of something that touched her, I DO feel better. I feel like MY loss and pain has some meaning because it help prevent another family form having the same issues, feeling the same pain, etc.
            Now in the over scheme of adoption as an industry.. does YOUR choice effect anything? Well, just you and your wife might be a drop in the bucket. But every body of water, no matter how massive is made up of just that.. many drops. SO I say every drop does count. It’s like that horrible pro adoption analogy that I hate about the damn starfishes.. “but I can save this one”. Plus, I add in a hearty dose of the Breck Shampoo: Ok so you guys decide that you cannot adopt ethically and know that no matter what you do there will be most likely negative consequences like the grief and loss and you don’t care to be responsible to take a chance of making another human being carry that load for your benefit. I bet people will ask you “why didn’t you adopt” and you might actually tell them. Maybe over the next 20 years you tell 50 people and that causes THEM to question their beliefs. Maybe five more of them go on to find out more and they tell 40 friends…
            Plus, if you do not choose to adopt, you keep your 30K in fees. Maybe that won’t hurt any one agency, but 10 prospective adoptive parents deciding NOT to adopt could hurt a small agency. Maybe they close their doors and there is one less aggressive agency putting out misinformation. which DOES make my life easier in a tiny way.

          • Claudia,

            You should know that you and your followers have made a difference for me personally. Because of reading this site along with other reading I’ve done, if we do pursue adoption we will not make the mistakes that others have made in the past. We will not pay for any pre birth services or provide the expectant mothers with gifts prior to a placement. We will not close an adoption at any time. We will support the adoptee if they are sad or have grief from being relinquished.

            Does this mean we’d have a pain free experience? No way. Nothing in life is easy. It doesn’t mean either that the adoptee wouldn’t have issues we wouldn’t have to support them on.

            I disagree with you though that us not adopting changes anything. If we were asked why we don’t have children and why we didn’t adopt the answer would be “We aren’t able to have children and adoption was not for us”. It will be more about our infertility than adoption and that is something you should understand. The infertiles who don’t adopt has more to do with the idea of raising a non biological child than it is the ethics issues of adoption. So if we don’t decide to adopt the $30K we would have spent would get spent by someone else. There are thousands of hopeful adoptive parents that will take our place.

            I also disagree about the agency closing down. If one closes down all that means is that business goes to another agency. It just fuels the larger agencies and creates a monopoly with the larger agencies.

      • Why would you foist an adoption on someone knowing there is a high percentage chance of psychological harm from it?

      • Thanks so much for this posting. I do not doubt there are negative adoption experiences for all parties involved, but I do know there are also positive adoption experiences. Parenting is a complex matter whether it is a child you’ve given birth to or one that has been adopted. I am very disturbed by the extreme anti-adoption sentiment this site seems to encourage. I understand that for some people it has been a negative experience where they feel their voices have been silenced. I believe they do deserve a forum to speak out. That said, to espouse a total anti-adoption stance also seems to negate the positive benefits that adoption has and can offer many people.

    • Agreed. I think that’s actually why it’s being done.
      We’re ruled by some pretty psychopathic individuals these days.

  12. TheMiddle | May 26, 2013 at 9:13 am |

    I wish I could add words of wisdom. Every person affected by adoption has a different view. I would love to hear the updated version; I’d also love to hear her sisters version because who knows what the “kept child’s” life is like? It’s possible that the adoptee had the “better” life. Maybe one day we will get to read all of the sides; until then, we all share our experiences & hope that someone gets it.

    I was a “kept child” & at age 30, I found the hospital bracelet, receipt & photo of my 1/2 brother who looked more like me then my 2 siblings. My life made sense; I realized that every time she looked at me; I was a reminder of the son she wanted to keep but CC forced her to let go. She named & Christened; kept for a few months until a home was found. That my son made her feel like she was given a 2nd chance to raise the son she lost. A few months before my son & I walked out the door (we moved back home after my divorce) she told me to get the eff out & leave HER son.

    I used to think he was the lucky one. He was raised by parents that wanted kids; not by a mother who told you that you were not only an accident but your birth was the worst one she had. How I was a miserable child because I wanted to be outside; to run & play.

    Finding his baby stuff; I registered where ever I could. I hoped that he was not someone that myself or the oldest dated. Who knew if my cousin dated him?

    It took 10 years to find him but we did. No clue how he knew his mothers name. He had a great life; no desire to see where he came from. His adopted sister registered; they told him to do it too; just to see if any of them would be successful.

    I finally found someone that looked like me. His mother voiced her displeasure (to us) at what features he took from what parent. She had an opinion on her 2 new grand kids; how the girl was cute because she resembled me & us while the boy resembled his mother. Yuck she said. What’s funny is he knew who I was from my job. He grew up not far from us.

    At some point the back stabbing began; he was now in & I was pushed out. My son who was the apple of everyone’s eye was now pushed out too.

    Turns out there was one more secret. She had an affair & guess who may not belong after all? Even with a DNA test on my dads deathbed I was accused of lying. I was made to feel like I was the one who cheated all those years ago.

    Moral of the story is NONE of us know who is better off. Every teen goes through some sort of issue; identity crisis.

    I know girls that kept kids; they were horrible mothers. How the kids haven’t been removed is beyond me.

  13. I was raised by my biological parents. I had pain. I’m not arguing either for or against adoption. However, I’m sharing that I still had pain despite the fact that I was raised by my biological parents. We CANNOT “fix” the pain of someone else. It’s IMPOSSIBLE. LIFE is pain, and then we die. What we CAN and should do, however, is acknowledge the pain of others, and in that acknowledgment we empower them to deal with their own pain. Like I believe Greg said earlier, no one solution will “fix it” – even empowering mothers to raise their own children will not “fix it.” What Lori said earlier is that there is a difference between true openness in adoption and having an “open adoption.” “Open Adoption” is touted by every agency as a “cure-all” and it’s not. But just as being convinced that “open adoption” “fixes it all” is not an accurate perception, neither is being convinced that keeping kids in their biological families “fixes it” an accurate perception. Each person on earth is different. The experiences that we have shape our beings as well as the genes we’ve received. Our genes affect how we view each situation we are given, and each previous situation we encounter shapes as well. There IS no solution. No “one size fits all.” We all have to deal with our own pain. We simply need to work on being aware of the pain of others so that we empower them to deal with their own pain the best way they can.

    • Monika,
      I do not see how by your comment you are tied into adoption at all. No one ever said that just being raised by one’s natural parents would lead to a pain-free life. I resent it when non-adoptees try to dismiss my experience. IMO, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • I’m actually a birth mother, but my point remains valid. You have no idea if your life would have been better if you’d been raised by your biological parents.

        • Yes, actually I do. Please do not speak to me about what my experience was like when you know nothing about it.

      • Oh and by the way, I was not trying to dismiss the pain of anyone. However, what I was saying is that making others responsible for fixing the pain of someone else does NOT work. Only the person who experienced the pain can work through it and let it go. Your pain is ONLY hurting you. It’s not hurting anyone else and it will NEVER hurt anyone else.

        • Actually, it has hurt my very loving natural mother a lot to know that adoption caused me pain. I was born in the forced adoption era and my mother did think that any child would be very hurt by given away by one’s own parents. This caused her pain as well. I guess I know my own life and my own experiences better than you do.

    • zygotepariah | May 28, 2013 at 8:40 am |

      We are not talking about pain in general. This thread deals with the specific pain one adoptee feels concerning her open adoption. I therefore find your assertion that “neither is being convinced that keeping kids in their biological families ‘fixes it’ an accurate perception” bizarre. Had Pink Bubbler been kept by her biological family, her specific feelings of pain vis-à-vis her open adoption would not have existed in the first place and thus would not need to be fixed.

  14. birthmom1993 | May 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm |

    This story is sad! I had a wonderful relationship with the parents who adopted my child. We had open contact at least 3 times a year, we shared all our birthdays and christmas and the birth of my other children. Once my child was 12 her mom let her spend weekends with our family and we welcomed this with open arms! I actually felt truly blessed when I would see ALL of my children together! How could I be so lucky to have such a wonderful open adoption! The summer my child graduated and turned 18 things went down hill real fast. All the sudden the child thought she should live with me now that is was 18 and we should have this mother child bond that would be a force but unfortunely it was just not a normal mother child bond it was different! The child stayed for 3 months with my family did not want to attend school or get a job. I found out allot about the child. Always manipulating my young children. lying constantly and would constantly try to cause problems in my marriage. When confronted about this the child wanted me and the younger siblings to be family and no one else was welcome. “new family that was rightfully hers all along”. Well of course this lead to me asking the child (well now 18 year old woman) to leave (there were so many more troubling situations). Our relesionship is much different now. I constantly receive messages of what kind of person I must be to have given a child up and now won’t let the child be with my family. This has been 18 months of mean emails filled with lies hurtful words and then sending meassages to the my younger children trying to get them to convince me to let their half sibling live with us. The pain is so bad that I have now had to cut her out of my life competely! Sad to think that my once soooo perfect open adoption has turned into a closed adoption once the child turned 18! Bottem line! We all have different expectations of what our adoption will be like but do we really know what the future will hold? I am still extremely close to the adopted family after 20 years we have a bond! As for the child I thought I was doing the best for I think adoption give the idea that the child could bounce from mom to mom and manipulate situation to the childs advantage! I hope to have a relesionship again one day but I can’t have this relesionship full of lies and manipulation it to harmful for my other children! I love my children ALL OF THEM! But I can’t let one spoil the whole bunch!!

    • Wow. That’s hard for an adoptee to read. This poor innocent baby really got screwed by life. She thought she belonged to both families, now she has found out she belongs in none. How alone she must feel. Can’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch! And you’re still close to the adopters. And all this was done in the best interests of who exactly? Certainly not your daughter.

      • I agree with you Marylee. This poor adoptee got rejected twice just because she was born at an inconvenient time. It sounds like she really wanted to be a part of her original family all along. Hence, her desire to be fully integrated in the family at age 18. And then all she got was that she wasn’t good enough (again). For the first mother to remain close to the APs while rejecting her own daughter is like parents being closer to an ex-son or daughter-in-law after a divorce than they are to their own child. This is a rather chilling story.

      • TheMiddle | May 29, 2013 at 10:37 am |

        It’s hard for myself as a mother to read.

    • I am so sorry to read of your situation with your daughter. She is obviously experiencing a lot of pain if she feels the need to bring other down and manipulate other people.

      If you don’t mind I’d like to ask you some questions. Did your daughter ever talk or show emotions about her grief and pain with being adopted as she was growing up? If so, how was it addressed? By that I mean did she go to therapy or talk it out with you or her adopted family? Now that she has shut herself out of your life has she also shut herself out of her adopted parents lives? What is her relationship with her first/birth father?

      I wish you and your family the best.

      • The relinquished daughter didn’t shut herself out of her first mother’s life, the first mother cut the daughter out of her life completely. Just what a child who was originally ‘rejected’ by her first parents needs. {insert sarcasm}

        • When her daughter made the decision to manipulate the other siblings, attempt to break up her morher’s marriage and use words to hurt her she made the decision to be cut out of their life. This girl needs help but there is no excuse for hurting others. The daughter is not the only child her first/birth mother has. The mother needs to also look out for her other children which was exactly her point.

          • TheMiddle | May 29, 2013 at 10:56 am |

            Girls are a LOT different then boys at that age. Both mothers need to step up to get her help.

          • Agreed on getting her help which is why I had asked whether she had shown signs of emotional distress in the past and if she had went through therapy. If the daughter is lashing out now chances are it is from feelings that had grown stronger over the years.

        • birthmom1993 | May 29, 2013 at 11:10 am |

          Wow pretty quite to judge the situation!

      • birthmom1993 | May 29, 2013 at 11:00 am |

        Greg
        There is so much more to the story then meets the eye of course!
        We did go to therapy all together and seperate and birthmom and child and adopted mom and child.

        I would also like to mention that I did not just turn my back on her she stole over 5000 dollars from a chequing account and took off on a plane. I am currently seeking help so I can learn how to accept her and make our reletionship better. As for the birthfather he meet her at 18 and he paid for her to come meet him and a holiday for his family including her only to come back and find out she stole things from his home before she left. When confronted with the situation she flat out denied any wrong doing and said she would never have anything to do with him again! She also no long wants anything to do with her adopted mom because she stole about 5500 from adopted momsr bank account and denied it although it was captured by camera. Thank you greg for the comment and questions instead of judging a birth mom who thought she was doing everything to make this already hard situation
        comfortable for everyone!
        I did open adoption so she would feel no abandonment issues
        I stayed in close contact to always answer any questions she may have had
        I attended every dance recietal school fuction birthday party and ect.
        I went to therapy with her.
        But what could I have done to stop the lies and the stealing?
        Hurt! Scared! Confused! BROKEN! I love her dearly and just want her to get help so we can all make it better!
        But she has ran 13 hours away and won’t confront the past!

        • TheMiddle | May 29, 2013 at 11:19 am |

          Thanks for adding what you just did; it is helpful to have more info. It would have been helpful to have it in your 1st post. You have to understand that everyone is replying off of the limited info you gave.

          Does anyone know if she is doing drugs? It sounds like she is.

          • birthmom1993 | May 29, 2013 at 11:36 am |

            Sorry first time I have ever went online and dicussed this! And I didn’t know how deep to go or if anyone would want to read so much about my problems! But now I see that its pretty hard to find advice and opinions without telling the whole story! And I don’t like making her look bad I LOVE HER! I have been informed by my therapist that it may be a good idea to get some advice from other birthmoms and adopted mom and children of adoption! I do not believe that all her problems are stemming from this adoption or will I take 100 percent responsibility for her actions
            I also think that her adopted mom needs to take control of this drastic situation!
            Oh adopted he walked out at age 2 to start a newe family with his then 18 year old girlfriend! So yeah I don’t know why she is having issues? DUH! So my question to everybody is at what point do I accept my responsibilty in tis situation and when do her adopted parents?
            Also I do not believe she doiung drugs but I do know she lives with an recovering cocaine addict and is her nanny cuz she says its easier then getting a real job!

          • TheMiddle | May 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm |

            Try doing a search on facebook for some closed groups. You can also see what this link has http://www.openadoptionsupport.com/“>Open adoption support

            You can also try starting your own blog where you can take your time putting in the info; so that hopefully you can get ideas.

            The AM should take control; but at this point; if you can collect links of places to read; then perhaps send them to her & see where it goes.

            If I find anything else I’ll bring it back here.

        • @birthmom1993,
          I’m sure you had the best of intentions. But to think that by having an open adoption your daughter would not have any abandonment issues was unrealistic. I’m not sure where you got this belief. From an adoption agency perhaps? Personally, I would not have been able to handle being given up while seeing that my siblings were kept. It sounds like your daughter has a lot of issues caused by being adopted. Once a child is given up, the relationship will never be the same. Adoption has a very profound effect on both the mother and the child. And a lot of that effect is negative.

          • Do you not have any compassion for anyone who is not an adoptee? I maybe overstepping my boundaries here and I get that you hurt and hope that you are getting the support you need.

            The “I told you so” attitude does not help this birth mother or her daughter. It can’t change the past. What’s done is done. This woman was nice enough to come here and she her story to sit here and judge her is wrong IMO.

          • birthmom1993 | May 29, 2013 at 11:55 am |

            Trust me if I had it to do over! would I have done things differently?
            YOU BET! I would have!
            So are you saying that birth moms should not have other children? That’s not fair! One of the reasons I placed her was because I was 16 and didn’t have the stability or the means to take care of her! My goal was to achieve that stability so I could go on to have family!

            • listen to yourself, birthmom1993, ” One fo the reasons I placed her was because…my goal was to achieve that stability so I could go on to have family”… she WAS your family. so you got rid of your family to get stability to have another family. You DON’T make sense, which is why she may not be making sense right now. You say “she needs to confront her past. It is YOU who needs to confront your past. You say the a-mother needs to “take control of the situation”- why don’t you accept some responsibility. And so forth…

          • Greg,
            Your response was rude and uncalled for. You completely missed my point. Learning more about birthmom1993’s story, I do think she had good intentions and was trying her best. I was not being sarcastic. And yes, my comments will always be from the pov of the adoptee and I will always advocate for the child.

            @Birthmom1993,
            I did not say you should not have had other children. I was speaking from the perspective of an adoptee and how it would feel to see that other children were kept. It’s the same thing this whole blog post is about. Pink Bubbler wrote about her pain that her younger sister was raised by their natural mother.

            I questioned whether you got the belief that open adoption would eliminate any feelings of abandonment from an agency, because agencies are known for doing and saying whatever they can to get a relinquishment. That is how they make their money after all. I do not think it is your fault if you had mistaken beliefs about how adoption would affect your daughter, if that is what the supposed ‘experts’ led you to believe.

          • Robin,

            I think there is a difference between having a certain POV based on your life story and not showing compassion for other POV. I feel for all sides with adoption and understand that everyone hurts. You have every right to feel the way you do.

            I just felt that you were being unfair to birthmom1993. I apologize coming across as being rude.

        • I am so sorry. I really do wish you and your family the best.

          I knew there had to be more to your story which is why I asked those questions rather than jump to any conclusions and unfairly judge you. I was curious as to how you had approached the situation. Regardless it’s impossible to judge your situation when none of us have walked in your shoes. I won’t do that.

          • birthmom1993 | May 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm |

            Greg
            Just to let you know the adopted mom and I made our arrangement work perfectly for 18 years we worked hardd on supporting her being open honest trusting and depenable we did numerous seminars on open adoptions and even were guest speakers on how to make open adoption sucessful. I honestly believe we were a success story (well as successfull as an adoption can be) but honestly don’t you think sometimes it just maybe that something else beside this adoption could be the problem?

            • I have no connection to the adoption triad, but I have read a lot on these forums since following the Veronica Brown case. To Birthmom1993, you keep looking for a reason to throw the onus off onto your child or the AM- from the get go you talk about jettisoning this kid so you could achieve stability and go on to have a family– everything about your actions screams eluding responsibility and putting the problems on someone else. Now that the kid is 18, wow, it’s her problem now that she is an “adult” and you want ppl on this blog to tell you as much. The adoption itself is a primal wound- maybe if you looked at some of the things you did when she was growing up- all the time you spent with your kept children kept rubbing salt in the wounds– people who steal often do it b/c someone took something from them psychologically. You took something from this child- her birthright. At some point, you need to own up to your role in this- no doubt some adoptees are outwardly functional and don’t “cause problems” but this child may never get over being adopted. You could start by apologizing for not being able to care for her and ask how you might support her in moving on to getting a job, etc. I think it’s time for you to spend more time with this child.

          • You did everything you could for her. Sometimes there are things that are out of our control. I do think there are times that pain comes from something other than what it may appear on the surface. So I do think some of your daughters pain could have nothing to do with being adopted and maybe to do with something you don’t even know.

            But I am someone on the outside who has no experience with adoption. So what the heck do I know. I appreciate you sharing your story and really hope for the best.

            • @ Greg, I do not think you are suitable to adopt a child. You don’t understand any of the wounds described by adopted children- here we have you acting like a yes-man for this birthmother and the two of you are acting like co-dependents. Yes, at some point, people are responsible for their own adult actions- but I think you miss the point here that unnecessary adoption is profoundly damaging to a child – some more than others. And make no mistake about it- this was an UNNECESSARY adoption. Everything about this birthmother is ME ME ME, MY feelings, MY kept children, MY finances etc. This child was dealt a psychological blow- she was effectively abandoned by her birth mother- her bio siblings were dangled in front of her face for years and the birthmother puts everything off onto the AM and the child.

              In regards to you, you were given advice to look at kids who are available for adoption from the foster care system because their parents’ rights have been terminated. Instead of being honest and owning the fact you want a womb wet baby with no (perceived) psychological scars, you make up a ruse about not wanting to bond with a child to have the child taken from you– if the child has no parents- and you do your job right, you would then have a family. Your attitude reeks of control-freakery- hey, if the kid doesn’t know their parents, you should be able to control what they are exposed to and the child shouldn’t have any pain, right? you don’t get it- infant adoption is a MAJOR LOSS to the child no matter how you slice it.

              • @Greg….Please completely disregard CD’s opinion of you. The fact that you are researching adoption and are willing to learn whatever you can tells me that you are definitely suited to adoption.

                No parents are perfect…and neither are there any perfect children. Jump into adoption whatever way you are able to do so, and learn and grow as you go….be real with you child….and welcome their questions and concerns….and help them through it the best you can, knowing that you are giving them the best of yourself….and that will be enough.

                • yes, by all means, ignore the dissonant voices and continue on with your self-serving fantastical thinking…

              • You need to shut up. You are rude abd awful. So just shut up. This is coming from an outsider reading these comments. Your comments should be deleted and you should no longer be able to comment

        • TheMiddle | May 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm |

          Best of open adoption blogs – http://openadoptionbloggers.com/

        • She won’t confront the past? I hope so, nothing in the past to be proud about, is there? Child abandonment, playing the happy birthmommy, tormenting her by having other children who were good enough to be kept and not even asking her adopters whether you could have her back, now you were ready to be a mother. You have ruined her life, it’s no wonder she is trying to return the favour, but ruins can be rebuilt, if she wants to cooperate. I just hope you can contact her in time, before she ends as another of those adopted convicts. LOVE HER, and hate everyone who took her from you.

    • TheMiddle | May 29, 2013 at 10:36 am |

      I was a kept child that had a mother that resented me because I resembled the son she did not keep. She also had another secret that affected my life.

      I also have a daughter born in 93; who has a lot of emotional problems due to my divorce & her fathers rejection.

      I have an idea of what your daughter may be feeling. While you have had years to adjust to putting your daughter up for adoption; she has a lot of things going on right now; slamming the door in her face IMO is not the right thing to do no matter what you think she’s doing.

      Being a teen is hard. Our bodies adjust to hormones until we’re in our 20’s. We go from being minors living with our parents; to being adults & trying to figure life out; all the while these hormones are raging.

      We do not know what the AP’s are doing to help her; but she really needs counseling; counseling with all of you there. Everyone needs to listen to her feelings; then at some point when she has shared & is calmed down; the explanation that legally she belongs to them & that the adoption was not 18 years of “baby sitting”.

      Please do the right thing & help her before there is no child to help. She can end up doing drugs or drinking or committing suicide. She is very fragile right now. She needs support; not to be cut off.

      • birthmom1993 | May 29, 2013 at 11:21 am |

        I am trying to make this better
        She also has to realize that I spent 18 years trying not to take her adopted mothers place I never ment to hurt anyone and I just want her to get help she is hurtin big time! We all are! One day my prayers will be answered I sure hope!
        But its really hard to help someone who has robbed about 10000 and left on a plane! I will not give up trying to help but now it just has to be from a distance cause I need to keep my other children safe. I will always be there and I hope that we can ALL make this work!

        • “She also has to realize that I spent 18 years trying not to take her adopted mothers place”

          I read as: “She has to realize that I tried for 18 years to deny I am her mother, that I have been rejecting her actively as a daughter for 18 years.” I guess she does, very much so, have you ever told her, why you did that? I fear she felt that as “I do not love you, I regret not having aborted you.” You have been nice to the wrong people, poor heart.

        • I think you and the adoptive family are amazing. At what point do our children begin to take some responsibility about their choices? Isn’t that also part of growing up? Therapy, with all involved is great if she wants it; if she is ready for it. I don’t discount her feelings, whatever they may be; but she has some chips in the game too!

  15. The late Dr. Joyce Brothers and other experts of her era touted that closed adoption was THE SOLUTION to unwed pregnancy. And we’ve now seen how badly that social experiment turned out. I have no faith that this new fangled open adoption will fare any better. There are certainly huge advantages to knowing who one’s natural parents are. It is certainly better than the huge void those of us from the BSE had to deal with. However, I think it is the being given away that hurts, regardless of whether or not the child knows who gave him away. I don’t think that any relinquishing mother today should even have the option of a completely closed adoption.

    There are so many potential pitfalls with open adoption. What if there are several adopted children in a family and only one of the first mothers keeps in contact? What if the adopted child has bio-kid siblings? First of all, s/he has to deal with being the only child to be given away and then what if her first mother or father doesn’t keep up their end of the bargain? How painful and humiliating for the adopted child in the family. And what if the first mother moves on with her life and doesn’t keep in touch anymore? What if she marries and moves overseas and never sees the child again?

    Greg mentioned that adoptees are hurt to a greater or lesser degree by adoption. I agree, but have also heard many stories of individuals who thought they were just fine with being adopted and later felt their self-destructive tendencies were caused by low self-esteem resulting from having been given up.

    Greg,you also wrote that would never go back on your word. I don’t think it’s possible for you to say that. I believe that the majority of PAPs never thought that they would close an open adoption and never dreamed that they would ‘rehome’ their adopted child. But it happens all the time.

    If you want to do something good for adoption, Greg, the best thing you can do is to encourage any expectant mother to keep her baby and to help her to do so (although I do realize this is a conflict of interest since you want a child). I realize there are some e-mothers who absolutely do not want to raise the child, but I believe their numbers are much lower than most people believe. Just look at the number of blogs and comments from first mothers who thought they were doing the right thing and the time and then realized relinquishing their child was the biggest mistake of their lives.

    • TheMiddle | May 27, 2013 at 10:35 am |

      He can google adoption agency reviews & read the ones from the girls that have relinquished. He can read confirmation on how they were not given options to keep their child even though it was a crisis intervention center.

      They all say the same thing; how they were promised the sun, moon & stars until the paperwork was final; then no one would take their phone calls.

      I read one by the mother of one of the girls. She told how their health insurance was billed; they were expected to pay what insurance did not cover. They also said she should get counseling under her own insurance; which was not offered in network. Not sure if it was Bethany or the Cradle.

    • Robin,

      To answer some of your questions that you raise on open adoption, I suggest you read Lori’s book. It gives great insight into what a true open adoption should be and the challenges that come with it. Even an open adoption that works it seems like it comes with many challenges. It is hardly pain free but it can work so to speak if the adoptive parents and birth/first parents are both selfless and work together.

      As to your parts that you address me in. I do think its important for an adoptive parent to create a supportive not repressive environment to grow up in. The low self esteem later in life could be the result of being repressive on the surface seeming ok but deep down they aren’t ok. An adoptee must be supported. Does it make their pain go away? I am not sure. But I don’t think their pain would be as great as it would if they repressed it or felt they had to repress it with the fear that if they didn’t they’d hurt either or both sets of parents.

      You are right that its impossible for me to sit here as someone who has zero experience in the situation to say I wouldn’t go back on my word. But would the adoption be a true open adoption if that ever became a thought? Again in that case it would be more of an open adoption in terms of contact rather than a true open adoption. But for me, I don’t think I could live with the guilt of closing an adoption. Plus it wouldn’t solidify myself as more of a parent it would expose me as an insecure self centered person who one day would face the consequences of that decision. It’s something I couldn’t live with.

      For me I don’t think I nor anyone else should encourage an expectant parent(s) considering place their child for adoption to either relinquish or parent. I think they should be educated on their options. But that shouldn’t come from people like us. It should come from people who walked in their shoes; those who relinquished and those who parented. They should understand the risks and sacrifices that are involved with each of those options. But ultimately the decision should be theirs.

      If my wife and I pursue adoption, if we are interviewed by an expectant parent our goal will just be to get to know her/them and for her/them to get to know us. Whether or not the baby is placed or even placed with us we have little to do with. But we are not even there yet.

      I am not sure what your experience was like with adoption but it sounds like you have a lot of pain. I hope that you receive the needed support you deserve and wish you the best.

      • I am sure that either you or an agency will be able to convince a young mother to give up her child so that you and your wife can raise him or her. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be a mother who later starts a blog writing about how she feels she was totally coerced into relinquishing, and that her child didn’t fare much better being adopted after all.

        • How do you know that I will even try to convince an expectant parent to relinquish their child? I don’t think it’s fair for you to sit here and say that. I understand that you have a lot of pain as an adoptee but that doesn’t give you the freedom to unfairly judge me on things that my wife and I haven’t even done. Just as you are telling Monika that she doesn’t know you or your life experiences, you don’t know me or my life experiences.

          As for the scenario you are describing, it’s something we can’t control. If we were in that spot and the birth/first mother blogged to deal with her pain how she felt coerced into relinquishing her child I would not judge her for it. As for her feeling the child wasn’t better off, that is something we nor her would be able to answer.

          • Greg,
            All I can hope is that if you and your wife do end up adopting a child that you will LISTEN to what the CHILD says about his or her experience of being adopted. Many people at this blog have told you the negative side of adoption and for the most part you have simply argued and insisted that we all see another side to it. Imho, that does not bode well for your success as an adoptive parent. Adoption does affect each child differently, but an adopted child needs to be listened to and respected for his own feelings and experiences with adoption without being told he is wrong or needs to look at it in a different way. Especially when the child’s feelings about being adopted do not fit the adoptive parents preconceived notions or how the APs would like things to be.

          • Robin,

            Again you are judging me unfairly. I have tried to argue is that not all adoptive parents/PAPs are the same and that just because I am someone with IF who is considering pursuing adoption doesn’t mean we feel entitled to a child and are insecure about it. I have also tried to argue that everyone’s experience with adoption is different.

            What my intention has not been is to say that adoption is easy or that it’s pain free. I have not intended to downplay anyone’s negative experience with adoption.

            I am aware of how difficult adoption is which is why my wife and I have not even begun the process of selecting an agency let alone fill out the paperwork and homestudy process. Having just been diagnosed with my IF less than six months ago we aren’t ready for it yet.

            Let me give you my background as a person so you have a better idea of who I am and why I believe you never judge a book by its cover. At the age of 3 I was diagnosed with a learning disability (ADD) at the time my parents were told that I would never be able to function in a classroom. Throughout my childhood teachers and school administrators would constantly try to hold me back from becoming a mainstream student. My parents wouldn’t have any of that they knew I was capable of more and supported and fought for me. Their support was a huge reason why I was able to become a mainstream student by the time I got to high school and eventually earned a college degree in 4 years. If it wasn’t for my parents I would have left a lot of potential on the table leading to a disappointing adulthood.

            So I agree with you about support for the adoptees feelings no matter what they are. I wouldn’t downplay their feelings or tell them to be thankful for what they have. I would listen to them no matter what they had to say and support them for as long as we are both alive. But I am not going to assume they don’t care about being adopted or that they hate being adopted. I would go in with an open mind and prepare for anything and everything that would come with it.

            So again I ask that you not assume or judge what I am when you really have no idea about what my intentions or feelings are. Nobody knows but me just as the case with yourself.

      • Greg,
        There are many children in foster care who have been abandoned by their families and who have no hope of reunification. Is this something you would consider, giving a home to a child who really needs one? Although these children are usually older than the under age two which most PAPs are interested in.

        • Robin,

          Let me first ask you, how many foster children you have adopted? The reason I ask is that if you are so convinced this is something I should “consider” then I am sure you have fostered a child who really needs a home. Please do tell me how easy it was for you to become a Foster Parent.

          To answer your question, yes we have looked at Foster Care but it is not something that is for us. I don’t think I could handle the emotional pain of Fostering a child getting attached to the child only to have them taken away. We have already had our hearts broken with IF and I don’t think I would be able to handle those challenges. I would rather continue to give money to charity and maybe do some type of mentorship than Foster parent. Foster parenting is not building a family or becoming a part of a family it is providing a home for someone who doesn’t have one. The people who are Foster Parents are amazing people but I could not do what they do. It doesn’t make me a bad person for not wanting to go through it. I would be a bad person if I went through it knowing I would suck at it and then end up sucking at it.

          • I was referring to adopting a child who has been in care but is now legally cleared for adoption.

          • Again I ask how many children you have adopted through Foster Care?

      • Oh, good grief! Your flippant attitude toward adult adoptees with the obligatory “I hope you get the help you need” is just too condescending to stomach. Consider that we wouldn’t NEED help if we had been allowed to stay with our mothers. Adoption is unnatural and cruel. There is an emptiness and anxiety in our very core that a person who was raised with his birthmother can never understand. As Robin stated, if you really have a heart for children and “have so much love to give”, do it in a way that actually benefits the child. Help that young mother keep her baby. You could use the money you would have given to the adoption agency! Infertility must be a nightmare. I’m sure you mourn the loss of the children you dreamt of having. Don’t console yourself by inflicting and even worse fate on an innocent child.

  16. open adoption is painful closed adoption is life threatenly painful (and too many time reunion leads to a grave) and just read greg he wants someone else’s child and he is going to argue (bully) til he gets one

  17. in one out of about a 1ooo do the natural parents beg sw to take their baby in 999 then, the sw lies, coerces and forces a baby away, do they tell you that you got the only one that was unwanted? of course not, they tell you that they didn’t soul murder a mom just to supply babies. believe me this is only about money, a mom is bawling her eyes out and a person taking the baby because there is no money to do that? if no one payed them they would not be legally theiving

  18. I would not have called this a real open adoption; semi-open is like sitting on a fence for a long time and getting very uncomfortable! There was nothing natural in these relationships; no real building of trust. When there are two birthdays, etc., there is no blending of family.
    There is no way to do an adoption without significant loss; true open adoptions do work but there is still pain to be addressed.

  19. I was raised in an open adoption. I also blog about it.

    I guess I could take part in the discussion of ‘open contact’ as opposed to ‘open understanding.’ But here is the main problem: A child from either still gets to watch as his/her first family leaves together, experiencing that grief, loss and abondonment, time after time.

  20. While giving child for adoption, every birth parent wanted to remain in touch with their child. They wanted to be aware of their child health and looks. For those parents, open adoption is best choice.

  21. Reading thru all of this makes me really wonder what became of this family….bring up the subject of the “kept child” strikes home to me and I wish that I would have written more about this earlier.
    I am the “kept daughter”. I was never aware that my mother had a child before me until 2010. Literally my life, my children, my families life changed forever. Who, what and where I came from actually became a question to me. I was filled with so much anger towards my mother, and those that knew that I had a sister. You see I knew nothing regarding adoption, I was thrown into a world that was completely new and filled with lies and secrecy. Although I made many friends that I cherish to this day on fb, I never quite felt like I “fit in”. I do want to clarify that this reply is also “relating” to my feelings in 2010. I received so much support during my search and reunion for my sister, but again, I wasn’t an adoptee, f/n/b mom. I had a very difficult time understanding my mother’s choice and since my mom is extremely physically and also has some mental health issues, I had to try and explain, (please forgive me) “why did grandma give her baby girl away”? My children are young, I take care of my mother, she lives with us, and I found myself trying to explain questions that I didn’t understand because my mother couldn’t answer them. I harbored so much animosity towards my mother. How could she keep such a secret from me? I lost my brother and I had a sister? There was so much confusion.
    I was very lucky as in I was reunited within 2 months of even finding out that I had a sister. My reunion has been complicated for many different reasons. I think that one thing is that instead of “throwing in the towel”, I choose to try and educate myself the best I could on how my sister felt about being adopted. I read every book, sat in chat rooms for a long time. I realized not too long ago that I never really had the chance to process my emotions. I was more concerned about everyone else’s feelings that I almost forgot that I had them.
    In journaling on vacation I realized really how much adoption had affected my upbringing and I never realized it. You see growing up I never was close to my mother. She was extremely close to my brother who was 18 months younger than me. My mother married my father (who is not my sister’s) not long after the adoption. I was born 2 and a half years after my sister. My mom and dad divorced when I was around 4 yrs old. I was always close to my dad and actually “resemble him” more than my mother. Growing up I always thought that the reason why my mom and I were never close was that I thought that I was always a reminder of my father to her. I thought she looked at me as a “constant reminder”. This may sound crazy to some, but sincerely my mom and I have never really bonded and I really had those feelings.
    I have to also share that my mother has had over 50+”nervous breakdowns” in her life. When I started writing about my childhood I really became sad because I truly believe now that my mother probably had major issues with bonding with me because of the adoption. She never spoke of it or grieved over the years! What I had as anger and hurt became replaced with empathy towards my mom. She doesn’t really have the ability to talk about it now. I don’t blame her, I most certainly don’t blame my sister. I am sad. Very sad! I truly think that adoption stole my mother’s heart and soul and destroyed her! I know she loves me! But “kept or adopted” siblings are the collateral damage.

  22. Greg Forbus | January 14, 2015 at 9:33 pm |

    Hi all,

    It has been very heart warming to read this entire blog. It is very interesting to hear other peoples POV’s. The man upstairs created us all different for a purpose. One thing he has yet to do is make a mistake. Regardless whether we are the AP, BP, AC, Kept Child, we all have our part to play as we are all here for a reason. I am the product of a 14 year old girl and 18 year old boy who was gave up their child back in 1978. Both Birth Parents were also given up at birth. I was a blessing to my adoptive parents because my dad was sterile. I later received another adoptive brother and sister because I wanted someone to play with. They both had been in foster care for a couple years and had psychological problems throughout life and still do. I had a great childhood and a loving mother that still at (Im currently 36) will do anything in the world for me. My Parents divorced when I was in middle school after my dad lost his father due to cancer and turned to wild women and alcohol and drugs. Our relationship ended with the divorce.
    Even though I had a great childhood I always felt I didn’t belong or somehow I was different and have always been a loaner type person. I have had a couple partners in life but I always seem to destroy anything good that comes my way because of the internal rejection issues. It is like a deep pain that will not go away. I have had and caused my fair share of drama and rebelliousness in my early 20’s but now at 36 and single again the pain seems to surface, regardless of how fabulous and great I have made my own life to be.
    I see all these stories and posts of all different sides of the equation and they are all so unique and different. Its really amazing to me when you step out of the box and look in…..
    I have always known I was adopted from kindergarten age “you are the chosen one” , but I just want to know or see what the Biological Parents look like and the kind of life they have had since they are still so young. I hired a Private Investigator today and I should have addresses and phone numbers to contact them by tomorrow. I was lucky enough to have the same Attorney/Judge that finalized the adoption 36 years ago release all my adoption papers with their information and their family information so that I could finally bring closure to this.
    This was a closed end adoption, and I have spent 15 years off and on trying to locate the birth parents. I had the information a few years back but decided not to peruse it, because my partner at the time said it would make my life worse. I have to disagree because my life is now what it is because I chose to break the cycle. I have no hurtful feelings towards either Birth Parent. I love kids and plan to foster soon. My life was a blessing and I want to bless others as I can.
    My brother and sister met their biological mother at her funeral, and that’s when I decided I have to know before that happens to me. I have never felt blood connected to anyone. In my life it has been proven. “Love is thicker than Blood.’ and Money and Material things cannot buy a child’s happiness. They just need one thing called love.
    My brother and sister have had some of the same rejection issues that I have, actually worse… My brother and sister were mentally and physically abused in the 4 or 5 foster homes they went through at age 2 to 5, so you can imagine what that does to ones soul for life.
    I really wish Pinkbubbler would post an update, but if she is 24, we will probably not hear from her until shes 30. This thing just takes time and I personally think 90 percent of adoptees struggle through life because no one is there to help and understand what we are really going through on the inside. I hope this changes for the future generations and for those parents out there that are looking to adopt. God Bless your souls!!! You are truly some child’s angel!!!
    I apologize for being long winded, after reading everyone’s post, I just wanted to briefly share mine.

  23. Reading a lot of these comments are disheartening to me as an adoptee that came from the open adoption era. Unlike the writer of this truly heartbreaking piece, my birthmother was the one to cut off contact and growing up I still had so many questions about her. I have searched for her off and on with a great deal of emotions that are attached, but my adoptive mother has been nothing but encouraging of me. My younger sister is also adopted, and it was truly an open adoption. Distance kept them from visiting in person until she was about 20 years old, but they had contact and have a very healthy relationship. I don’t feel at all as if I am part of a “failed experiment” as Pinkbubbler phrased it. I would never say that adoption is perfect or easy, but it certainly doesn’t make every adoptee feel broken. Just my thoughts.

  24. I’ve spent the last few months surfing open adoption stories to see the basic psychology of adoptees (I’m a birth mother of an 18 yr old daughter). She’s just left home and has gone studying. She seems to be okay, according to her A.mother, with whom I have a decent friendship.
    But I’m pregnant with my third baby, and with ‘our’ 18yr old leaving home I’m suddenly filled with sad, deep, curiosity for her- does she hate me as a (so-called friend, ironically studying to be a councillor) stated matter-of-factly, or is the status-quo unchanged- she loves her A.mother in spite of the usual teenage struggles against her parents.
    If she could live with me for a while, would she choose to, or does she think I’m too strange, too much a stranger.
    They’re all good people, my daughter, her siblings and their parents; but does she wish I’d kept her after all? I want to write to her from a truly open angle, not the pleasant open-adoption via her A.mother, via email, but directly to >>>her. It’s a sort of instinct I think- I feel such a pull towards her, to let her know I wish I’d tried harder to keep her. From where I am now there’s no question. I have to think hard to remember the circumstances and they flood back with such awful clarity. Circumstances were pretty hideous at the time. I would have kept her, to hell with the insane logistics, but for finding her current parents at the last moment. It was instinct that saw her off 18yrs ago, and instinct now that makes me long to be direct with her. But I don’t want to freak her out, and certainly not her A.mother.
    Anyone?

  25. Cate, Reading in to this.. it seems that you do not have the opportunity to directly contact your daughter? That the Amom is still guarding the gate? Being that she is now 18 and at least party out of the home.. I would say that now is the time that you suggest that perhaps you could have direct contact with your daughter. Don’t ask. Tell them that you want to. Truthfully, you have a right to.. and she has a right to you as well. It’s time to start removing the middlemen even if it is with a gentle shoehorn. Since she is newly out of the house, it is almost a natural time for you to be able to contact her directly. Oh, sure you’ll have to play the nice game and not freak the APs out, but I would find a way to get her contact info. Have you tried finding her on soical media like facebook where you could just talk to her directly?
    If you instincts are telling you that your daughter needs to hear the truth form you.. then she probably does. Somehow, even with out raising them.. we do know our children.

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