Adoption creates families. Open adoption when the birth parents have the final say in who adopts their child is a marvelous win-win situation for everyone involved. It's complex just like all relationships but it has a level of transparency that is crucial for the child. I don't understand why anti-adoption people are still so vocal and seem so determined to discourage others who are considering adoption.
When you plan to adopt, especially using open adoption, your intent becomes very public. Anyone can find your information, see your photos and gain access to your adoption hotline through your online profile. People trying to adopt are encouraged to acquire toll-free numbers and not to use their personal phone numbers. The new phone number allows a potential birth parent to reach out to you to start the process. This number also allows people who do not like what you are doing to contact you. During my 16-month wait, I received several phone calls from prison inmates and one person trying to sell me her baby.
Creating your family is a beautiful thing but you do this in front of others who may not understand and/or don't like what you are doing. You have to realize this quickly in the process. If you are different in some way from the "typical" potential adoptive family such as a member of the LGBT community, single, non-Christian, etc, the likelihood of harrassment from anti-adoption individuals will increase.
I was lucky. I was never targetted by someone who was anti-adoption though I had other biases to deal with in person. As a member of several online adoption groups, I hear frequently of potential adoptive families being harrassed by others. I don't understand their stance. Most of the messages that are shared about those conversations are full of negativity and religious extremism.
We are a long way from the "baby dump" times when pregnant teens were sent away to have their babies and give them up to rejoin their normal lives. People are still pressured into adoption which is never a good thing, but now birth parents have so many more options. I am a huge fan of open adoption since that was my chosen approach, but I highly recommend that anyone who is considering this path for their child to do their research. Talk to several agencies, not just one.
Adoption is a positive thing. If everyone is educated about what is happening and the process has the highest level of transparency possible, it can be a beautiful thing. Adoption made me the mother of the happiest little boy on the planet. We talk openly about how wonderful his birth mother is and our hopes that she will choose to connect with us in the near future.
Don't let the negativity and harrassment of a few people keep you from exploring this option. Yes, there needs to be some changes to the laws that govern adoption. We need to talk more planily about the fees involved and the legal process, I believe we will get there when we agree to have real, open conversations about this, not through attacks to the people trying to become a parent.
I adopted my son four years ago. Adoption is a beautiful, complex process that most people outside of it don't understand. I know that. I remind myself of that constantly, but I still whince when my family members introduce my son to others as adopted.
My Dad moved into Assisted Living this year. He is surrounded with new friends. Instead of having us nearby, we are there for special visits several times a year since he lives six hours away. My Dad has educated his new friends about his family with picture books and stories.
Now it's Christmas. We made our way six hours down to see him. My Dad is excited calling the hotel constantly to find out when we will be there. Once we arrive, he wants to show off his grandson. Ok. But every introduction comes with the words, "This is my adopted grandson."
I know it's coming. I brace for it. People can look at us and see that he is adopted. We are not the same race. It's quite evident. My son knows that he grew in another woman's belly but that I brought him home.
I hope one day that I get over this. Why must people state the obvious when they introduce my son?
To explain, let me flip this around:
My son knows what the word adoption means. He now associates that label with himself. My mission now is to get the few people who decide to introduce him to others with this adjective to stop. Why can't he be just my son and someone's grandson?
P.S. Once again, I got the question from someone who met us this holiday season asking what was my son's country of origin. WTF. I find this question so strange. When I say, he was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the person who asks seems so shocked.