Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dawning Understanding

We met with our new lawyer, and were very happy with the outcome.  She was helpful and had excellent suggestions, so we've started making contacts with agencies and individuals who could possibly help us.  However, we seem to keep running into the same problem.  Very few agencies do domestic adoptions.  Most strictly do Asian and Eastern European adoptions of children six months and older and those that do work with domestic adoptions mainly place older children.  Even Catholic Community Services, who, on their website, lists domestic adoption among the services they provide, are not accepting anyone into their program, and have no plans to do so in the near future.  It was recommended that we contact CCS of Eastern Washington, but I was told today, in an upsetting phone call conducted entirely in emphatic negatives, that they simply cannot help us because, well, they don't want to.  I told them that Western Washington CCS's domestic program was closed, that we hoped that we could get someone here to do the home study and post-placement evaluation, but the person I was speaking with didn't want to hear possible solutions to what she seemed to believe were insurmountable problems, seemingly couldn't wait to end our conversation and expressed no interest in answering my questions.  Her final parting statement was that domestic adoptions are rare because of birth parents changing their minds.  Now, I believe that to be the real reason behind the problems we are already beginning to face.

It is estimated by "Adoptive Families" magazine that 25,000-30,000 children are placed domestically for adoption per year, and that number is more than all international adoptions combined.  However, the proportion of agencies offering international vs. domestic adoption does not at all reflect this estimate.  It is rapidly becoming obvious that the possibility of birth parents changing their minds casts a heavy and challenging pall on domestic adoption.  In what seems to be an effort to minimize changes of mind and heart, all of the agencies that I've researched advocate completely open adoptions where the adoptive parents and the birth parents choose each other, have extensive personal contact before the birth and continue that relationship after the child has become part of his or her new family.  Upon speaking with our lawyer and family and friends who were adopted, we do not believe that this is a route we wish to enter into the GPS.   The idea that a birth mother would continue to play an active role in our child's life after the termination of parental rights gives me great pause.  As many (indeed, most) young mothers who place their children for adoption are from impoverished homes with little or no familial support and equally minimal education, the maturity level required to maintain appropriate distance would likely be lacking.  We would like to be able to raise our child in our family without the constant specter of jealousy or competition and without the fear of inconsistency from the birth mother and confusion to the child.  I would have no problem with providing the birth mother with photos, but actual contact would not be terribly desirable.  To be vulgar, it would feel far too much like I was playing mother to another woman's child while she watched from the wings. 

It will be difficult to not succumb to the pressure to adopt a child whose parents are not only not in the scenario, but likely not even known.  However, we want this child from the very first second, to be the first person he or she sees, and to be the only mother and father this child has ever known.  I feel as though we are being made out to be quite selfish, but this is what we want.  I hope there will be those who will help us achieve this.

3 comments:

Cassandra said...

In the program my friend went through, the birth mother signed a paper promising no contact. As I understood it, if her kids want to meet their birth mother when they are grown, Ruth will know how to contact her.

Adoption Services Associates (San Antonio, TX) 210-699-6094

KUrlie said...

Do not be discouraged by the rampant negativity sister. It may take time, but you must put forth your stipulations/desires/non-negotiables/hope fors...my mom will call you today (she's been in court a lot the last week.)

xoxo
k

mjbcoug said...

I am sorry you are getting resistance and disapproval from the "accepted" adoption routes and avenues. I am proud of you for sticking to your guns. Adopting a child under any circumstances other than those you dictate would have ramifications you can only BEGIN to consider. Being your ADOPTED brother (from a standard, domestic, closed adoption) I can say that if things had been different for me in any way, my life itself would be different.