(truly) open adoption

I’ve been wanting to broach this subject…it’s a touchy one – and very controversial.

The naysayers say that birthmothers who relinquish want to have their cake and eat it too.  My friend Claudia said it best: “Where is all this birthmother cake they speak of?”  I know I don’t have any cake.  She says she doesn’t have any cake.  I don’t know any birthmothers who have cake.  And I don’t know a single one of us who’s had a cakewalk of it.

No one questions both biological parents’ need to be involved in the upbringing of their child in a divorce.  That’s why joint custody is given to both parents in a lot of divorces, or, at the very least, both parents get to be involved in some capacity in the ongoing process of parenting.  Is co-parenting from 2 different households the ideal parenting situation?  Usually not.  Is each person 100% happy with the arrangement?  Again, usually, no.  But when they entered into the legal arena of divorce, it’s what they were signing up for, and they knew it going in.  So, too, when people are asking a woman to give them her own flesh and blood, what makes her desire to be part of her child’s life any stranger than that of the divorced parent who wants to be a part of his or her child’s life?

Our culture is very skewed when it comes to how we view adoption.  How many times have we heard it said it takes a village to raise a child?  Children are very resilient.  The only confusion about anything is the confusion that we create and impart into their minds.  In the days when denial was my medication for survival, I always said, ‘I never wanted my son to be confused about who his mommy is.’  It would only have been as confusing as we’d made it.  If we could have been able to wrap our heads around it, and really done the searching into it, we could have made sense of it in our own minds, and that’s how we could have made it work – just like divorced parents make it work.  But that’s not the world we knew back in 1992…

Or better yet, instead of adopting a woman’s baby, why not adopt a mother and child, or even a whole family?  Who knows…maybe my husband and I will get the opportunity to do this someday.  I can’t see it as anything but a win-win.  In fact, it’s how our world used to be, and it wasn’t all that long ago.  I know people who say that whenever they messed up as kids, their butt was anyone’s to swat, or whenever a child was hungry, wherever that child happened to be whenever he or she got hungry, then that house is where that child ate.  My mom, who is 85 years of age, grew up that way.  She had a rather cruel and certifiably insane mom (yet my grandmother did not get any kind of certification, or documentation, or therapy of any kind due to the secret world of status in Delta society and plenty of money to protect her) who didn’t want Mama around most of the time, and her dad was very industrious with a very large farm operation that kept him busy from sunup to way past sundown, most days.  Her dad died when she was 14.  Her sister, my Aunt Jean, was married by then and she and my Uncle Doty took Mama in.  She’ll tell you to this day that Jean and Doty were who raised her from that point on.  If she hadn’t had that village to look after her, who knows where she’d be – or if she’d have even been in this world to have lil’ ole me!  I know this: she was (is) a great mom, and I think I have that village to thank for a lot of it.


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