Open Adoption Roundtable #18

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be part of the Open Adoption Bloggers list to participate, or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–feel free to adapt or expand on them.

We each interacted with at least one professional during the adoption process (agency, lawyer, facilitator, consultant, hospital social worker, etc.). What was one thing that they did that was most supportive of open adoption? What one thing was least supportive?

I’ve been fighting this prompt for awhile now. I feel like such a cliché when I start to write that there was no one who helped me, but it’s true; the professionals I dealt with when I was making a plan and placing Cricket screwed me with my pants on. Wah wah, little birthmother. Have some cheese to go with that whine.

So let me skip straight to the half that seems doable; probably the worst thing that the agency professionals did was encourage Ruth and Nora not to file our open adoption agreement with the state. That would have meant that while all along I was being told that I would have a legally enforceable open adoption agreement, that wouldn’t actually have been the case. That agency did plenty of lying, both to me and to Cricket’s moms, but that one stands out for me as particularly destructive in the long term. I might never have found out if Ruth hadn’t told me (after filing our paperwork with the state). And if I had found out—those would have been some dark days.

I should say that now I’m actually meeting with a social worker at Catholic Charities who also does adoptions, and she’s whip smart and super helpful and into adoptions only when needed and those adoptions being open, and she’s helped me a lot. Right now I’m feeling vaguely grouchy and hostile, and I’m hoping that she’ll help me figure out why this afternoon. But she wasn’t actually involved in Cricket’s adoption, so I don’t think she really counts. The social worker who did Ruth and Nora’s home study was apparently also a gem, but I never met her. These are the best that I can come up with.