Friday, November 11, 2011

Some of Our Hard Decisions Regarding Adoption

Oh man!  So much has happened since I last posted.  This post will likely travel a long and winding path, be forewarned!

As I've stated a couple of times before, we're just getting started in the adoption process.  We've completed the home study visit, and have most of our government clearances and documentation.  We finished and turned in our profile book a little while back.  Our friends have sent in their referrals.  Now it's the hurry up and wait portion of the adoption process.  Man, that's hard!  I've always been all about instant gratification...

We went to an awesome meeting at our adoption agency last night.  It was a "town meeting" kind of thing, where the authors of the White Sugar, Brown Sugar blog came to gift us with the benefit of their experience.  We talked about so many things, like:

1. Transracial adoption: you see, we've decided that we're open to any race and any gender.  We understand that raising a child that's not the same color as us presents a whole list of different concerns for new parents.  As much as I'd like to believe in color blindness, that's a little naive.  We're still researching how we're going to handle those concerns, but we're so excited about this decision.

2.  Open adoption: this is when there is contact between the birth family and the adoptive family.  Where they know each other's names, and may even have regular meetings.  It looks different with each situation--we've ultimately decided to take our queue from the birth family that ends up picking us.  They're going to be giving us such a beautiful gift, and we just want them to get what they need from us in order to feel secure and assured about the adoption.

When we first started this process, we were convinced that the ideal situation would be a closed adoption.  I was adopted.  It was a closed adoption, and it worked for me and my family.  (Back then, that's really all they did.)  My family was very open about my adoption (and my older brother's adoption as well), so it became just a word.  And I love that.  I could talk to my parents openly, and they knew that my curiosity was natural, and not a poor reflection on them.  I didn't have many of the hang ups that some adopted kids have.  I was taught that my birth mother allowed me to be adopted because she loved me, and wanted what was best for me--it wasn't a rejection, but a beautiful gift.

But I always had questions.

Do I look like her?  Do I sound like her?

My parents knew (from the social worker that handled my adoption) that my birth mother played violin.  They started me on violin when I was 4 so that we'd have that connection.  Does she still play?

And then later, when I found out I had P.C.O.S., or when my dad was diagnosed with a form of cancer, I had questions about my medical history.

When I turned 21, my parents gave me a letter from the social worker that gave a very brief history of my biological parents.  It was great to get that letter, but it did open up more questions then it answered.  I discovered that my birth mom was mostly German and Irish, while my birth father was Native American.  And it's so cool to know that I have Native American blood running through my veins.  I just wish I could know how much, or what tribe.  Or have that part of me taken seriously--especially since I don't look Native American.

All of those questions are really just noise, though.  Important noise, certainly, but not the heart of the issue.  What it really comes down to, but is so hard for me to express, is: would my birth family be proud of the woman I've become?  Would they look at who I am and what I've done, and know they made the right decision?

So Thad and I made the decision that even though open adoption may be harder for us, and it may look terrifying right now, it's probably the best decision for our child.  I'm really going to have to suppress my fear and insecurities as a mother in this area, but I truly believe it will be totally worth it.  I just keep thinking about how great it would be if I could answer my child's questions about their biological family--how much better would it be if their biological family could answer those questions?

We talked about so much more with the group last night--things like money (adoption is expensive!!!), and biological siblings, hair care, and the privacy of our children in a "Facebook" age.  Thad and I were so glad to meet up with people dealing with the same decisions!

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