I have to say that before I was placed with my B & D, it probably would been pretty accurate to describe me as “pro-closed adoption”. However, I am about a month or so away from adopting them and we have an open adoption with their birth mother and we are building one with the extended family. We are only about 2 months into this and I can’t honestly determine at this point whether it is a good or bad thing, but so far it has been good. Tough, because of all the emotion that is involved, but not because bio family is difficult to deal with (so far anyway) and I pray that it stays that way.
Everyone I know has advised me not to let them have a relationship with their birth family, mainly because my kids are in the foster care system. I would have to agree that in the vast majority of children adopted from foster care should not have contact with first parents, but in my case my kids were not taken due to abuse. Their mom did “technically” abandon my oldest son, but she left him in the care of other adults who decided that they did not want to raise him and my youngest son was taken at birth into care due to mom having an open case plan.
My kids parents eventually signed over their parental rights due to making bad life decisions, and the fact that the judge was going to terminate anyway because they didn’t follow case plan. But anyhoo…They did not physically abuse the children, they just couldn’t get their lives together long enough to take care of them. They really aren’t the horrible, despicable (sp?)people that society makes first parents out to be.
We had been doing phone calls and this past Saturday, we had our first visit with mom and the boys paternal aunt (who is also one of the people my oldest son used to live with prior to him being being put in foster care because his relatives decided they didn’t want to raise him). It went pretty well. I thought that it would be extremely awkward, but it wasn’t. I was hesitant at first because I did not know how my oldest son was going to react to seeing her, but he was so happy. It took him a few seconds to realize who she was, but then he looked at me with the best smile in the world and said Ma (referring to me) this is my mommy!(referring to first mom) and the smile on my oldest sons face the entire day really help to ease my reservations.
Mom and Aunt were great too… They both totally respected me as the boys mother. They asked my permission for everything, for example my son wanted some of his aunts hot chocolate and he told him that he had to ask his mommy first. I didn’t care if he had the hot chocolate or drank out of her cup, after all, he did live with her all of his life until 5 months ago and I am sure he has drank out of her cup in the past…so to me it was no big deal, but I REALLY respect the fact that she didn’t take it upon herself to just do it.
I must add that I am under no obligation WHATSOEVER to have any kind of contact with them and I have to admit I initially agreed to it because I felt sorry for birth mom, but I really do think that it will be good for my oldest son who experiences A LOT of grief at the loss of his first family. I thought that he was going to pitch a fit when she left him, but he just waved to her and said bye mommy I love you. His paternal grandma whom he used to live with came out to the car when I dropped bio mom off (Mom lives with the paternal family) and my son immediately said, No I’m not getting out the car, I’m going home with my mommy (he was referring to me) This really help to ease my concerns about the tightness of the bond he and I share. Although he clearly loves his first family, that doesn’t diminish the love he has for me and vise versa.
I pray that all our visits are this good..we are going to the zoo this weekend, I’ll let you guys know how it goes, after that we won’t have any visits for a while as I have some things planned for the following weekends and I REALLY don’t want to overdo it with too much too soon and besides that I do have a life outside of them…(but I have my fingers crossed that the zoo visit will be as good as the first visit)
I don’t know what the future holds and I won’t be so bold and naive to say things will always be rainbows and butterflies, but so far so good….
Oh BTW…..D wasn’t having any part of them. His mom hasn’t seen him since like 4 or 5 months and the aunt had never seen him.
Open Adoption: A Beautiful Thing?!?!?! – ONLY time will tell…