Roundtable time! This one is another chance to think back on the origins of our open adoptions.
Do you remember the first time you heard about open adoption?
If you need some further prompting: What were the circumstances? What was your reaction? If you grew up in an open adoption, do you remember the first time you heard the label applied to your relationships?
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 listed at Open Adoption Bloggers 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–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
I’ve been a reader of Savage Love for a hideously long time—so when Dan Savage wrote a book about adopting his son DJ, I bought and read it. He and his husband Terry used OA&FS in Seattle, and he wrote about the process in some detail. It wasn’t until after I had placed my son that I read something he wrote wishing his son’s birthmother would die.
Savage made open adoption sound pretty good; it never occurred to me that it might look different from the point of view of the woman sitting across the table from him, eating lunch and waiting to lose her child to the eager couple picking up the tab. DJ’s mother was homeless, no longer involved with the boyfriend who had gotten her pregnant, and only had housing because the adoption agency was providing it. Dan and Terry seem both desperate to like her and very ready to judge her, in an emotional mix that has become very familiar to me after several more adoptive parent memoirs and blogs. (Not, NOT that every adoptive parent falls into this emotional trap. But too many do.) She is so brave/how could she be so irresponsible.
For what it’s worth, Savage and his husband seemed to treat their son’s mother decently (as recorded in his memoir).
Yesterday I reread Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother, a book that makes me crazy. I keep it around in case I ever need some kind of irritating pick-me-up. The anger that gets directed at pregnant women considering adoption by not all but too many adoptive and prospective adoptive parents really freaks me out. There is some level on which I just don’t understand it. I don’t have any money, but I’m not enraged by the rich people who seem to spend more money than I’ll ever see in what seem to me stupid ways; I’m pretty plain, but I don’t resent the gorgeous. That desire to scratch out the eyes of women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant makes me recoil every time I see it. You don’t deserve a child, I don’t deserve a child—no one deserves a child. Many people are able to parent, and they come to that in a variety of ways. Being poor, or single, or fertile, or all those things and more doesn’t make someone a whore. And yet these books—The Kid, Secret Thoughts, and others—contain ~*~hilarious~*~ “Dear Birthmother” letters that let the resentment and stereotypes flow freely. How handy that these people will end up in lifelong relationships with the people they so despise.