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.
Write a response at your blog–linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs–and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is fine; I’d appreciate it if you’d add a link back to the roundtable. If you don’t blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.
It is likely that we’ve all had that experience at some time: someone asking us to speak to the choices or feelings of others in our adoption constellation. Perhaps it is someone asking a first parent how their child feels about being in an open adoption. Or someone asking an adoptee why their adoptive parents chose to adopt. You get the idea.
How do you handle such questions when they are asked of you? How would you want the other parties in your open adoption to handle those questions when they are about you?
On what must have been our first visit to the Emerald City post-relinquishment, we ran into a friend of Ruth and Nora’s while driving from one place to another. “Oh, hi Susie!” she said. “I recognize you from the pictures!” I actually cringed, not just a mental cringe but a real life, actual muscles, socially awkward cringe. What I really want is neither fair nor possible; I want never to come up in conversations between Ruth and Nora and their social circle. I don’t want people to know my name, or why I relinquished, or who could give up such a perfect child, or whatever other answers to questions I never want asked.
Setting aside my unrealistic wish, I would choose for Ruth and Nora to be as close-mouthed as is practicable: Why did she place? She thought it was the best decision at the time. What is she like? Quiet. I’d honestly rather that these strangers-to-me assume that I’m a drug-addled prostitute than have any real information about me. Ruth and Nora have never asked my preferences, and I’m sure that Ruth is pretty free with details, because that’s her nature. I try not to think about it.
I can’t think of a time when I’ve been asked to speak for Ruth or Nora; while it’s certainly true that lesbians can bear children, no one seems surprised that a queer couple might adopt if they want to parent. I also don’t tend to talk about them, and at this point—having moved once or twice—am surrounded by people who wouldn’t know to ask. My birthparenthood is mostly invisible.