Today seems fitting that I blog about communication in adoption. I had the opportunity to write an article for a little ditty called America Adopts. Really, do you know how cool it was(and it was cool, it made me cry), to see something written by me, published on a website, that wasn't mine?!!!!! That reaches so many people?!! I cried, I posted it all over facebook, i cried some more... I called my family, friends, everyone. It was like I didn't know it was going to be published, that is what it felt like, it was HUGE.
I touched a little here and touched a little about it in the article.
So what am I blogging about communication here for? Because there is so much to it. There is so much to communication between a birth parent and an adoptive couple. Or, a hopeful adoptive couple, and a expectant mom. Words never seem adequate in dealing with adoption, and all that surrounds it. Its truly like a relationship... such as marriage... And if you go HERE you can see an awesome post written by my Open Adoption Open Heart family. And it really is much like a marriage.
I was able to talk to my dad today a little about openness in adoption. How it differs from one couple to the next; from one birth mom to the next. I explained that there may be a couple who wants total openness, and the birth mother doesn't want anything, or very little, or just a little more than little, but not quite all the way. Then you have birth parents who want it OPEN, and the couple doesn't. Or they do but not quite all the way. My dad said, "I think that if I were to adopt a baby I don't think I would want so much openness." I thought, you also thought that if you ever had a child become pregnant out of marriage that you would NEVER place that child for adoption."
I distinctly remember after placing my parents talking to me about that; not placing a grand child. And while they knew it ultimately wouldn't have been their choice, they said that it was something that had discussed before. And they felt that they could never let that child go. Then... you had me... and I became pregnant... and I placed, with 100% support from both of you:). Not only that, they agreed and felt the same confirmation that I did, that this was right. Things never happen like we plan them. Things never go the way we have them written out, in our minds or on paper. CONSTANT CHANGE.
With that, I come to communication. While there are some closed and some open adoptions, there is still the necessity for communication. It is HUGE, PERTINENT, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, to be COMPLETELY HONEST with an expectant mom/couple. Do not promise what you can not deliver. Do not agree to things that make you feel uncomfortable with. All parties in adoption need to be confidant in what they are doing. It doesn't make it easy, it doesn't make it fun, but it helps. If you do not want openness, let that be known from the very beginning. If you want openness, how much do you want? How much can you handle? Be open to the feelings of each other, of all parties. Be willing to listen to their needs, desires, and hopes, and be honest with them. Make sure there is a line of communication open so that, if the need arises, that levels of openness can change. Some open adoptions have closed; because of a need, or a fear. Some closed adoptions have opened. Keep the lines of communication so that there will ALWAYS be clarity in your relationship.
Holy my moly how hard it is to have clarity always, but if you come up on something that makes you uncomfortable, discuss it. Work out what the problem is, or what you are happy with, and find a way to either fix/change/better/let go of the item.
Birth parents, we need to remember the reasons we placed these children, and the reasons why we chose the families. I hate that not all adoptions were a choice, that some were forced to place their children.... in those moments, I pray for peace and comfort for those who have been so utterly hurt. I had a list of reasons up on my cork board of why I chose them. I had a list of even more reasons of why I chose this for him. I had to read them a lot that first year. But as it became easier and easier, those reasons were confirmed upon me in many many instances where I could SEE why he was placed.
Make sure, that you have clarity in your choices, your abilities, your situations. Because we can't work together to better the life of these tiny babies, if we can't work together. I believe that 99% of the time, a birth mother doesn't want to have a relationship just because of the child that she is placing. We are building relationships with these people who we have chosen to be the parents to these angels. We didn't place because we already had a relationship with these babies(though we do have relationships, and feelings, etc), but I placed with this couple because I LOVED THEM. I missed them when they left, I missed not being able to call them when their number was right there... I needed to let them know that i loved them. And the only way we can keep doing that is if we communicate the need.
As if it is all that easy right, to just say, "Hey, this is what I need." and BAM you got it. Its not ever that simple, rarely its that simple, there is usually a lot of work:). Sometimes you ask for something, and they say NO, or they say Not right now, sometimes... they don't respond at all.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE respond people! PLEASE It is AGONIZING when birth parents send a letter... or text... or email... and get NO RESPONSE!!! It is truly gut wrenching. Especially when its about something important that they want to make sure they didn't do something wrong... or they just want to know what works for you guys. Talk about feeling like a pile of crap... nothing is worse than not hearing from you adoptive couples, after placement. It would be better to tell the truth and respond, even if it saying "we don't want contact anymore." than NOTHING. At least we will KNOW.. The Unknown will kill ya. I have had that experience... i still like to believe that they didn't get the letter. I will forever believe that. Until i am told/proven otherwise. But it hurt, because it was important about them. Cause I love them and thought I did something wrong... Please, be honest. Even if it might cause some momentary pain, being honest is BEST. It eases so much pain, and brings so so so much clarity. We cant be better ... we cant support you and sustain you... when we don't know.
I know that there are Adoptive couples who have experienced this same thing on their end. There is a reason they are sending us pictures... or emails... or letters. They love us, I know they do. They want to know how you are to. At least, it seem so much that way. Sometimes it isn't that way either.
WE have to be OPEN to talk, and receive when we are given. Both Positive and Negative. We can't grow, and progress in the unknown. Communication is KEY in any adoption relationship. We have to remember that... And while this is MY OWN opinion, I think its so true!!!
Without communication, I wouldn't be here today, sharing like I have been lucky to share! I am blessed. And I pray for those who are struggling, and hurt, and broken. We are here! I am here.