Thursday, August 6, 2009

So Close(d)

So….we did eventually get in touch with S. And she’s great. Very easy to talk with, mature, and articulate. She lives on the other side of the country and is due in mid-September. Most significantly, she checked out our web site and is very interested in placing with us.

Sounds like an easy match, right? Not so much.

She doesn’t want any contact after birth. She is very adamant that she knows it would be too difficult for her. She is not interested in photos or updates or anything.

And to make it more complicated, there would be no contact with the birthfather or his family either. Plus, she has another child – who would be our child’s (half?)sibling – with whom we would also not have contact.

We know, from our research and conversations with current triad members, that relationships in adoption - like in all of life - change. Often, those that start open, end up closing. Or those that start closed, end up opening.

But we cannot count on that.

I had a great conversation with an a-mom earlier this week. When I shared our dilemma with her, she said that initially, her birthfamily said they wanted no contact too, but that the relationship they built during the match forged the trust and appreciation she believes actually made it possible for them to place their child. She is convinced that if they hadn’t had a lot of contact before the baby was born and if the family hadn’t been convinced that they would continue to have contact, ultimately they would not have been able to give their baby up.

I also talked with a dear, long-time friend who's followed our path with great empathy and support. She sounded kind of astonished when I told her we were struggling with the decision about whether to match. She knows how long and how desperately we’ve wanted a child. And she’s married to a very normal, well-adjusted good guy who was adopted and has no more than a faint curiosity about his birthfamily. Couldn’t we have a healthy child without openness? M. and I agree that we probably could.

M. and I have had to re-evaluate – and re-re-evaluate – our commitment to openness. We know it is unlikely we’ll find a situation that is “ideal.” Is lack of openness one of the things we are willing to be flexible about? How important is it going into a situation agreeing that openness is the best thing for everyone involved, especially the child?

This morning I called our counselor and told her that we have decided to pass on this situation.

I feel sad.

I feel sad that we won’t be parents in September. I feel sad that S. will have to go through the difficult process of finding a family for her child again. And I feel sad for a child that will most likely be raised without knowing her or her relatives.

This was a very difficult decision, but it is the right one for us.

(Going through another six months without any additional contacts would, I know, really test that conviction, so please, please, please….)


Leigh said...

Hi Kristen - I'm so sorry to hear that this didn't work out for you. I hope that the right match for you and M will materialize and that you'll realize you made the right choice by sticking with your instincts.

It's such a hard choice for you to make as I can really see both sides. Like your friend said, I know several people who are adopted (adults, parents of friends) and they don't have any interest/need to know their birthfamilies (sad for me to personally think about but it's true). And then on the other hand, I know that when I first placed my daughter I didn't feel comfortable with meeting the family and didn't want a fully open adoption even though they were open to that idea. I felt that it would be too painful, especially in the beginning. Like, how could I really "let go" and heal if I still saw her and interacted with her? But now that time as passed and she's getting older and is maybe asking more questions about me, and I'm older too and more comfortable with the situation, I am very curious about whether or not I can have more contact/communication with her.

So...all in all, a very hard choice indeed. But I'm a huge believer in trusting your instincts and if it didn't feel right then it probably wasn't. I think your future child will be so grateful to know that you two cared so much about his/her needs and feelings that you would forego immediate happiness in order to give him/her every possibility.

Bobby said...

I'm sorry to hear that. Our situation was sort of similar with a different ending. Our birth mother already had 2 children, the youngest one is only 10 months older then our daughter. She initially wanted no contact, even said she was treating her pregnancy like a surrogate situation--she's carrying our baby, that's it. She put up a brave front at the hospital. When Sabrina was 4 days old, I emailed to see how she was and to ask if I could send a picture. She said OK, and then wrote us the most wonderful email about how seeing the baby made her feel so much better, and very happy. I send periodic pics now and again, and I think she appreciates it. She confided that she did take a cell phone pic of her while in the hospital before we arrived. When we go back to L.A. in November for finalization, we're hoping to get her to meet us for lunch or something. So people do change. I can only think telling yourself you want to "get it over" and move on is a way to cope with the impending birth.

Thanksgivingmom said...

Okay, I honestly feel like giving you a standing ovation right now. That and a big ol' hug. Because there IS an expectant Mom out there that wants an open adoption. But the part that really gets me, that darned makes me tear up, is this: If you are willing to turn down a match with someone based on the courage of your conviction to have an open adoption? Then I know you won't turn and run when it gets hard. You're ALREADY making the hard OA decisions and sticking by them. I think this took incredibly strength and dedication on your end - something that will pay off in spades when you and DH become incredible parents :)

Ginger said...

You're amazing.