Monday, June 11, 2012


...I don't understand the issues that UK adopters (i.e.those whose children were in foster care) have around contact with birth family, because Baby Spouse was not in his birth home after birth. And if you have frequent contact you are just a long term foster carer. I would love to be an advocate for open adoption but I think my views are just being dismissed.  Interestingly I think that a lot of US adopters from foster care have a lot more contact than we imagine we'll have.

We are Baby Spouse's parents. We cannot wish Nella and his birth father away, but we are not foster carers. We are permanent. We are here - she is not.  We want him to recognise her, to know who she is, to see where his features come from (though some of them will come from us, in the same way that couples who have been married for a long time come to look like each other). We don't want him to grow up with a fantasy that she is an heiress who would give him a fabulous life. We don't want him to suddenly decide to seek her out, without support, in his teens.

Nella is not a lovely college student who would have been perfectly capable of parenting, but decided not to. As you will have gathered, there were multiple issues and reasons she would not have been able to parent Baby Spouse. This is pretty common among the situations we were shown while we were waiting. We still think they should have contact and we resent the implication this makes us less his parents.

In other news, I had a GP visit with Baby Spouse today for a long-running but minor issue. I was a little puzzled by the nurse-practitioner's body language when starting to talk about what the issue might be. I understood a little more when she told me that the issue might be something originating before or at birth, and which I would have been vastly less likely to cause than someone in the situation that Nella was in.

You can see why I might not totally be on board with the idea that Baby Spouse has been unaffected by the circumstances surrounding his origins.

(It looks like I managed to press Publish after only writing a bit of this. Sorry)


Emily said...

I have an issue with the term "foster carer". Carer sounds like we take care of pets or plants. Its cold and impersonal. The reality is that we are parenting thee children. In the US they call us foster parents and with good reason. These children might already have mothers and fathers but we are doing the daily parenting.

nh said...

I think that a lot of UK based adopters don't understand open adoption and the reasons behind it. And to be honest the idea both excites me and scares me. My boy's birth mother couldn't parent him for his safety, does that mean that they shouldn't see him until he's 18 - that's probably unfair on her. But what about the potential damage that could be caused by a visit - even supervised...and she had supervised contact to the boy and siblings, and mostly nothing bad happened, but there are some things in his notes that made me go 'oh'.

I wish for her sake I could do something about it. I wish for her sake I felt able to send photos. I wish I could reassure her more than I am able to with a once a year letter. She worries about him, and the others, I know that because we had that meeting.

I think that we could learn a lot from open adoptions and the potential healing that helps an adopted child. But honestly for me, it's a struggle to accept the harm that has been caused, as well as accept that there might be more.

I view his foster carers as extended family, and if we had contact with birth family, I would hope I would be able to see it in the same light.

I can't imagine an adopted child without some issue at some point arising from adoption, be it in a closed or open adoption. I think that you are amazing for the commitment that you have taken on. And I am sure that it will help baby Spouse in the future.

I'm not sure that I've made much sense. I hope you can follow what I'm saying... part of me wishes for that openess, but part of me is scared and glad it doesn't happen.

DrSpouse said...

That did make a lot of sense, actually, and thank you very much for that comment nh.

Emily said...

I have been thinking about this subject a lot lately. My last set of 3 foster children have been residing with the family that will adopt them for 9 months now. Those folks will go from foster parents with mandated bi weekly parental visits for the kids, to calling all the shots. They are also adopting a sibling due any day via a private domestic adoption. From what I have observed people in the US who adopt from foster care often have little contact with birth parents once the adoption is final. This is often because those birth parents just aren't safe.

My parents adopted 4 kids from foster care in the 1990's. Some contact was maintained with foster parents but almost none with birth parents.

Everyone I know who has done a private domestic adoption has contact with birth parents.

I now have a foster baby who we might eventually adopt. I am being encouraged to form a friendship with the birth mom. Im not sure how I would feel if an adoption actually took place. She has some issues that are probably similar to Nellas.

Im not sure I have a point here but it is interesting food for thought. Thanks for the post. I meant to add more after my rant about foster carers the other day. I still shudder every time I read that term.