Friday, August 12, 2011

Not equals

I had another dream about Brit.  It was the very best one yet. 

In the dream her parents were super busy with the twins.  For whatever reason, I was at their house for a visit and they essentially handed Brit over to me to let me entertain her and take care of her without any oversight by them.

It was wonderful.  We played.  She talked.  I was amazed by how she was putting words together.  And she trusted me.  She even snuggled her little head on my shoulder. 

It was amazing.

I sure do miss her.  Funny to think about missing someone who has only seen me once for two hours in the past year.

So when I woke up, I sent a text message to her BF.  He and I are still very friendly even though we are not a couple.  We will occasionally hang out together and we talk on the phone at least every few days.

In the text message I told him I had the dream and I would really like to see Brit again.

He texted back that he would too and wondered if we should try to contact her dad to see if we could set something up.

Later that evening, BF and I sat down and talked about how we wanted to handle asking.  We are afraid to ask too much.  We don't want to push them away.  Or make them feel like we are asking them to do something they are not comfortable with.  We wondered if we are asking too much.  We wrestled with timing and consideration of what might work best for them.

As we sat there talking about the visit we wish we could ask for, it struck me how carefully we tread so we don't offend.  Two professional, emotionally balanced, grown adults who are currently parenting 5 children of our own.

I was reminded that this is the inequality of power in a relationship that birthparents often refer to.  We are terrified that at any moment we could be shut out of our child's life.  If we push too much, say the wrong thing, behave the wrong way.  The list could go on.

I know potential adoptive parents worry about all those things too when the matching process is going on.  I have heard how APs hold their breath until the moment the termination papers are actually signed.

But then, it is over.  No more best behavior required.  They have the child and now get to make all the rules.  For 18 years, maybe even longer.

But for birthparents, we have to live every day post-relinquishment knowing that our open adoption could close at any moment.  Maybe because of something we have done.  Maybe because of reasons we aren't even aware of.

We are not an equal in the adoption triad.  No matter what people say.  Birthparents are rarely considered equal in the adoption relationship. 

Now, I don't believe everyone in the adoption triad should be equal.  I firmly believe the child should be the focus of every decision.  Adoption is something they have no control over.  Birthparents chose it.  Adoptive parents chose it.  And our children are the ones who have to deal with all of the decisions made by the adults.

But I wish that we as adults in adoption relationships didn't have to deal with the human need to claim our authority when it comes to the children.

And I know this from a limited perspective of being a divorced parent.  I have had to learn that while I may not like or approve of my ex-husband's parenting, decision making, or even the way he speaks to me, I cannot sever the relationship my children have with their father. 

He will always be their father.  I cannot pretend that he isn't.  Even if they had a step-father who was the greatest father ever to them, they still deserve to have a relationship with their father.  I don't get to decide whether or not they know him. (Understanding that I would NOT allow a relationship with a man who was abusive to my children - which is absolutely not the case in this example.)

I have to repress the feelings I have of control over my children and remember that this is not about ME, but about THEM, and what is ultimately best for them.  I would love to run away with them and start over with a life where I didn't have to share them back with a man who does not have an ounce of respect or consideration for me.

But it is not about ME.  It is about the CHILDREN.  And not being near their father, with complete access to him, would not be what is best for them.

So I put aside my pride, and move on.

Yet, in the open adoption relationship, there is potential for the birthparent to be completely discarded.  No explanation required.

It just doesn't seem very fair.

Back to our conversation about visits with Brit.  BF and I both decided that we would like to ask that we get at least two visits per year with Brit.  (Remember they live 10 minutes from us, this is not a logistics nightmare.)  I think this would help me know that if I just hang on for X many months, I will get to see her again.  Right now, I have complete uncertainty about if or when we will be allowed to see her again.

So we wrestled back and forth about when it would be easiest for those visits to happen.  We want to be super considerate of their schedules, and the complication that they have with two brand new infants.

We decided to wait until next week and email Brit's dad to see if he thinks that might work for their family.  BF is going to do it, man to man (which, can I say I respect SO much).  I love how both of the fathers in this adoption relationship are willing to talk to make this relationship as easy as possible for the mothers involved.  I bet that doesn't happen often.  Another area I should count as a blessing.

So we will be good birthparents.  We will wait patiently.  Ask for the minimum and pray that we will be granted time with Brit.




10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand? You and the bfather had the chance to raise your daughter but chose not to! Now you expect to have a relationship with the child while you both are "raising" the children you kept? How is the child suppose to feel not rejected (you each have children you are raising and didn't want to raise her)? I would wait until the child wants to meet you and the bfather then intruded in her life. After all, if you wanted to have a relationship with her, you would have raised her.

~Katie said...

The above comment is ridiculous and that is the most polite way I can think to say it...
Hope it went well and you get to see your beloved Brit soon.
I'm so sorry you feel so vulnerable in the relationship. I wish my kids BM's would take an interest in their lives. You are an awesome BM! Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Katie:

How is my opinion "ridiculous? Let's be real here Lisa placed her child for adoption while she kept her three boys. The bdad placed his daughter while he kept his children-don't you think the child that was placed will feel rejected regardless if the bparenrts visit or not? How wants to know their bparents had older children they kept but they didn't want to do the "hard work" to keep them? Why place a child if you are a parent already? Or why place a child and then want to have a relationship with them?

birthmothertalks said...

It's a ridiculous comment because you don't the situation that led Lisa and the birthfather to choose adoption for her. If your reading her blog you would read that they are no longer together and she wanted a two parent family. One time I did ask the question why she was placed for adoption and she was raising her other children in the same circumstances as she is now. She explained it pretty well but basically her situation was very different when she had her other children.
She is a divorced parent and so am I and that is very hard on the child and Lisa wanted to give her daughter a chance at having a two parent home.
She wants a relationship with Britt because in her heart she not only knows it's best for her and her family but it's best for Britt to know where she came from.
Lisa, I hope you guys get a good response to a couple visits a year and hope that leads to a more closer relationship that you crave with her family.

Anonymous said...

It's a ridiculous comment because you don't the situation that led Lisa and the birthfather to choose adoption for her. If your reading her blog you would read that they are no longer together and she wanted a two parent family. One time I did ask the question why she was placed for adoption and she was raising her other children in the same circumstances as she is now. She explained it pretty well but basically her situation was very different when she had her other children.


I HAVE READ lISA'S BLOG AND AT THE TIME OF HER BCHILD'S BIRTH, SHE AND THE BFATHER WERE TOGETHER. TO ME IT MAKES NO SENSE TO PLACE A CHILD WHEN YOU ARE A MOTHER ALREADY AND EXPECT TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CHILD YOU PLACED? DO YOU THINK IT'S"FAIR" TO THE CHILD TO BE "REMINDED" THAT THEY WERE THE ONLY ONE GIVEN AWAY? HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOUR BFAMILY WOULD COME TO VISIT AND INSIST THAT YOU AND YOUR BIOSIBILINGS ARE SIBILINGS BUT YOUR BMOTHER DIDN'T WANT TO RAISE YOU AS SIBILINGS TOGETHER UNDER THE SAME ROOF WITH THE SAME PARENT(S)? MAYYBE lISA SHOULD WAIT UNTIL THE CHILD WANTS HER IN HER LIFE NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

birthmothertalks said...

I have more I could say but out of respect for Lisa I am not going to take my time to argue with you.

LisaAnne said...

Dear Anonymous,

I understand why you might not be able to empathize with me about these feelings. I cannot expect that anyone else would be able to understand the complexity of feelings that come with adoption and relinquishment.

I would guess by your comments that you are neither an adoptive parent, nor a parent who has ever placed a child in another's arms to raise him/her in your place. Maybe you are an adoptee who has felt abondonment. I do not know nor is it mine to guess nor judge.

For me, being a birthparent is a very difficult role and it was an agonoizing decision I made at the time that I made it. But I did what I thought best for HER at the time.

I never ever want my daughter to feel unloved or rejected by her BF or me. Because that is the furthest thing from the truth.

I could have chosen a closed adoption if I did not want to remain an active part of my daughter's life. But I did. And I still do to this day. I chose an open adoption on purpose. I wanted to maintain a relationship with the child and her parents.

I am hopeful that Brit does not ever feel the pain of rejection that you speak of. But I cannot guarantee that she will not.

But I will do my part to be as much part of her life as I possibly can to reduce the chances of her feeling that way.

And I will continue to pray for our situation and relationship with her adoptive family to continue to grow and become fullfilling to all of us involved.

I hope you continue to follow my blog and you get to watch the beauty of open adoption as it grows.

Janine said...

Lisa, how did the conversations with Brits father go? been thinking of you (hugs)

LisaAnne said...

Thanks for asking Janine.

We still have not emailed Brit's father. BF and I decided to wait until school was underway a little bit since her dad is a teacher and the school year just began.

I am just waiting and being hopeful.

On Loan From Heaven said...

Oh my goodness... I wanted to comment and then read the previous comments and now I'm all thrown off!! Ignore, ignore, ignore!!! YOU are amazing. PERIOD!!

Now... on to MY comment...

"I have heard how APs hold their breath until the moment the termination papers are actually signed.

But then, it is over. No more best behavior required. They have the child and now get to make all the rules. For 18 years, maybe even longer."

This makes me so so sad :-( WE are AP's. A severe injustice has been done to you, my dear and I'm so so sorry. I know that every 'open' relationship is different but these AP's give other AP's a bad rap and that's not ok with me... simply not ok.

We meet Hannah's birthparents a couple times a year and text, email, and talk all the time in between... I WISH that for you... and not only for you but for that sweet baby girl. She deserves to know you and know of your undeniable love for her. Unfortunately, her AP' are responsible for instilling in her that love and respect for you and they aren't doing a very good job at that.

Can I have their number, please??

;-)

Joking. Kind of. But really.... can I?

I'm praying for you. I am LOVING catching up on your story and journey and I'm proud of you and love you... for what that's worth coming from a stranger :-)

On to the next post... which I'll probably comment on :-)

Lindsay