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Adoption issues. Early Understanding

Rick Fielding 26 Nov 00 - 12:41 PM
Barbara 26 Nov 00 - 03:33 PM
Barbara 26 Nov 00 - 03:35 PM
SINSULL 26 Nov 00 - 04:01 PM
catspaw49 26 Nov 00 - 09:35 PM
harpgirl 26 Nov 00 - 10:59 PM
SINSULL 27 Nov 00 - 09:18 AM
Duckboots 27 Nov 00 - 04:41 PM
SINSULL 27 Nov 00 - 05:25 PM
Wavestar 28 Nov 00 - 02:09 PM
GUEST 29 Nov 00 - 12:11 AM
Mrrzy 29 Nov 00 - 09:04 AM
catspaw49 29 Nov 00 - 03:22 PM
NH Dave 30 Nov 00 - 12:14 AM
Seth 30 Nov 00 - 12:18 AM
Rick Fielding 30 Nov 00 - 12:22 AM
Seth 30 Nov 00 - 05:38 AM
Ana 01 Dec 00 - 02:58 AM
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Subject: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Nov 00 - 12:41 PM

Hi folks. Excuse the totally non-music thread. (although it's tentatively connected to "performing"

When I posted the "Duckboots makes her debut" thread, about Heather's venture into taking puppetry into schools, to explain "adoption" to very young kids, I didn't realize so many folks would e-mail and PM (which I can't access for some reason right now) with their "take" on the issue.

The process of finding Heather's birth Mom, was fascinating to both of us, and caused me to do a lot of reading about the subject in general. Being a nosy sort, I also have asked a lot of questions to those involved in the process..from ALL sides. One thing I hadn't realized, was how the word itself can be confusing, and sometimes scary, not only to an adopted kid (who has been told about their situation) but to their schoolmates and friends (who as we all know, can be accidentally or deliberately insensitive at times. The organisation that Duckboots belongs to "The Ontario Adoption Council", has been trying to make "adoption issues" easier to talk about, but I suspect some of the "shame factor" still lingers from bygone days. Any thoughts?

Rick and Duckboots


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: Barbara
Date: 26 Nov 00 - 03:33 PM

Fourteen years ago my partner and I adopted our daughter in an open adoption. Lin's birthmom is Rachel, and she was 15 when Lin was born. The family called us when Rachel went into labor, and we all were at the hospital for the event. It was amazing. We all bonded, and have had Lin's birth family and relatives as our relatives ever since -- kind of like when you get married.
We're hoping to have them for Christmas this year (they did us last year). Email wish lists are being exchanged; Lin has been spending a week or so in the summer with her birthmom and half sister (9), and sometimes we have Ashley (the half sister) and some of the cousins here to visit. We do birthdays and the holidays. I personally love it.
There were some difficult times to begin with -- especially since there are not social rules or conventions for this kind of relationship; and I have learned to live with Lin calling both of us 'Mom'.
Still, if the adults can handle it, it seems like the most whole and healing way to do adoption. The agency we went thru allowed the birth and adoptive parents to co-draft an agreement for how much contact would be in place. We picked a more open arrangement than most, and I don't regret it.
The birth dad chose to make himself scarce, so our contact is mostly with the mom's family.
We all had to give up something to make it work, and we all gained something, too. I'd be glad to elaborate if you have questions.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: Barbara
Date: 26 Nov 00 - 03:35 PM

And Rick, check the "personal messages" thread or the help forum for information on how to get to your personal page.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: SINSULL
Date: 26 Nov 00 - 04:01 PM

I adopted my son when he was nine - a totally different situation. He had been in foster care since the age of four months and had so many Moms, he refused to call me Mom until well after the adoption was finalized. The process itself was frightening to him - he thought that the judge could decide that he wasn't "good enough" to be adopted. I am not sure how he would have reacted to a puppet show in a school setting. He probably would have pretended it had nothing to do with him. We went through some very hard times but always loved each other. Things ar good right now. I bask in the sunshine.


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Nov 00 - 09:35 PM

I have a few things, but I also have the flu. Could someone send me a gun?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: harpgirl
Date: 26 Nov 00 - 10:59 PM

...absolutely NOT!!!!!

I have deep admiration for all the folks who have adopted and cared for children. The attachment process sometimes takes tremendous courage, determination, and commitment!


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: SINSULL
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 09:18 AM

Spaw - that's what you get for hanging around hospitals. When are you going to learn?
Actually, it's just your body telling you it's OK to be ill. Relax, this too will pass. How are the boys? No flu, I hope.

Sorry for the drift.


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: Duckboots
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 04:41 PM

Barbara and Sinsull (what does your Mudcat name mean?) thanks so much for sharing your stories. Not all situations work out as well, but demystifying the word adoption can probably help those who choose to keep their situation "private" as well as those who discuss it more "publicly".

Duckboots


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: SINSULL
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 05:25 PM

Sin = Sinclair, my mother's maiden name.
Sull = Sullivan, my maiden name.
I was supposed to have been named Mary Sinclair Sullivan and have always regretted not being able to use Sin Sullivan. Mudcat and the Net solved the problem.
As my son has matured (thank God) he has come to terms with being adopted and loves to tease people who see a strong family resemblance. Also, he is half Iranian/half Hispanic. People never get the combo right.


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: Wavestar
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 02:09 PM

Sinsull, a friend of mine is adopted, and he's Guatamalan/ Pakastani/Irish. People give up. He's one of three adopted children, I never knew until I visited his home and met his parents. It was fine - I looked at his sisters, and thought "Three very different children, parents that look nothing like them but obviously love them. He was adopted." A similar thing happened when I (on one of my many 'the world is too small!' discoveries) asked a woman in the Orkneys if she knew the family of a girl I went to high school with - they had a house there. I described the girl, as I had never met the rest of her family, as having African hair but fairly light skin. I'd always figured one of her parents, but not both, were black. The woman said she knew exactly where they lived, and that Amal was adopted. What a surprise!

On a completely different note, Robert Klose's series of articles in the Christian Science Monitor's Home Forum pages are an ongoing and very interesting commentary on the adoption process acceptance, etc... He adopted his son from Russia when Alyosha was still old enough to remember, and writes about the experience, and his son growing up.

-J


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 12:11 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 09:04 AM

All of the adopted children I know have reason to know they were adopted - either there was cross-racial adoption, or adoption by a gay male couple, or both. All are in fine families. I do know one grad school friend of mine conceived unexpectedly and decided to give the baby up in an open adoption; they also seem to be doing fine. I guess what I see is that it is more the finding-it-out-suddenly-at-age-14 that is so hard on the adopted children, not the knowing it all along. But my experience is extremely limited, and I don't personally know anyone who had an adoption turn out badly. And I have terrific sympathy for people who cannot conceive their own children when they wish that they could. But I don't think I could carry a pregnancy to term knowing that it wouldn't be my baby at the end, so I also have a great deal of admiration for women who can.


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 03:22 PM

I certainly admire what Heather is doing. Even in this day and age, adoption still carries a "stigma" and any education that can be done to take that away is a plus.

Not all adoptions are happy stories and not all are tales of sadness. One of the biggest strikes against adoptees and their adoptive parents comes from lack of knowledge and misinformation based on years of either outright or hidden bigotry toward adoption in this culture. Educating children to the nature of adoption at an early age is a project worthy of great effort and I have great admiration for the fine work Heather is doing.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: NH Dave
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 12:14 AM

Both my brother and I were adopted, and we each adopted children, two Columbians for him – he taught in the American School down there for many years, and one for me. I don't know what pressures are put on kids in this situation today, but when we were growing up, we knew from as early as we could understand the concept that we were adopted, and made to feel special, having been carefully selected by our adoptive parents. This gave us something to fall back on should school yard banter turn nasty, "I was chosen/wanted, but your parents HAD to take you!" While this could easily get you a fat lip, especially if the tormentor was an accident, it did deflect the onus from us onto others.

Neither of us tried to look up our birth mothers – it was much harder then, and not as prevalent either, but my son's natural mother contacted us and then him, and he has a good relationship with her, and has met his natural father as well. He seems to be OK with the whole situation, and we have no problems with it, so things are cool.

I think where things go really badly is when the parents never even hint that a child is adopted, and then someone in the extended family lets it slip inadvertently, or maliciously. Now the kid is all wrapped up in the imagined reasons that he or she was never told from the beginning. The child may decide that the parents were ashamed of the circumstances of the birth or the adoption, and hence of the child as well, or feel that the parents have mislead the child due to trust issues, further driving the child from what was a happy family.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: Seth
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 12:18 AM

My wife and I adopted four older children at different times bween 1984 and 19992. Our kids all came from different families ( two were half-sisters)and were 13, 12, 11 and 8 when they came into our lives. All had experienced abuse and crazy parenting and foster parenting by the time they got to us with their things in black garbage bags. I've seen so many foster kids and throw away kids moving with those ugly bags-we call it foster kid Sampsonite. All my kids had a moutain of guilt, suspition, anger and unmet needs that we had to deal with right away. This was the most intense and exhausting fifteeen years of my life (so far!)MY world was shaken and turned upside down by the experience. I would say to anyone who is thinking about this that you will be having life with all the jalapenos you want. I don't regret a thing, though we went through a lot of grief, anger and pain to get to where we are now. My kids love their parents and we love them. My oldest daughter, now 31, is loving and caring and is working to save the childhood of other kids. My son is in prison, but we have a very warm personal relationship. My other daughter is on the road somewhere, and my third daughter is in China with us. IF you contact me on my personal mail, I'll tell you more about it. Seth from China


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 12:22 AM

Heather's personal odyssey (finding her "roots" so to speak) turned out well. It's resulted in a whole bunch of nice and interesting people in her life, but there's a fifty fifty chance when adoptees take this step that the results may not be pleasant. We had many long talks focusing on how she might handle serious disappointment. Naturally someone with a very curious nature may want to take that chance, but many are very content to leave the unknown alone.

On our honeymoon (in Scotland) we went to the Records office in Edinburgh, and talked them into speeding up the process. When I watched her reaction upon opening a long- sealed envelope, it was fascinating. Heather Docherty found out that she was born in Lanark and christened Donna Grace Gibson. Mr Smart-ass here could only think to say (with a big grin) "Wow, does this mean I get a discount on my next banjo"?

Eventually after an interesting process we met (and saw pictures) of lots of her relatives. Finding folks that she "looked like" seemed to be very important to her, and I truly believe resulted in a new jolt of self-confidence.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: Seth
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 05:38 AM

Because all my kids were older kid adoptions, we had to deal with birth families for each of them. My youngest daughter dealt with the issue of "birth" mom and "care mom" by bringing both of them to her fourth grade class, introducing them as " most kids only have one mom who cares about them, but I have two! Pam was my first mom, and Leslie is my mom now." As far as the other kids were concerned, that settled it, and as far as I know, she never took anymore crap on that particular issue. I thought at the time that it was something quite amazing that she did, and years later, I still think so.


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Subject: RE: Adoption issues. Early Understanding
From: Ana
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 02:58 AM

Rather than being a big deal / different etc., adoption is an integral part of many non-white cultures. In NZ for instance adopted children ("whangai") are a very important aspect of family organisation. Many Maori (especially those living more rural areas where the old ways are still very much a way of life) arrange the whangai of their first child to a grandparent. This is very important for several reasons - often the mother will be seen as too young (in terms of wisdom as well of age) and the older person has responsibilities to pass on knowledge. Alternatively when a parent already has several children it makes good use of resources for some one else to raise the child (particularly if it is a childless couple). The child is raised knowing who it's birth parents are. Lineage (or whakapapa) is the essence of who that person is. Those who have lived before are still bound to the living - their bones are ours. In Maori society a child belongs to the family (whanau) not just to the birth parents - in belonging, this means that all have a responsibility to the child. Well that's the theory anyway!!! Ana


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