Welcome to the craziness that is my life!

This is my story in pieces. The good ones, the bad ones, and everything in between. It is messy and flawed...just like it's author. I am not a selfliss person...I am not an angel...I am a loud, opinionated, most of the time crazy, Mom. I write here the things I cannot discuss in my "day to day life". These views are my own, from my own journey. Adoption has changed my life forever, some for good, some not so good. If you don't agree with me, that's fine. It's not your story...it's mine. Consider it a manual on "How Not To Act/What Not To Do When You Are Pregnant and Considering Adoption". If you learn nothing else, learn to educate yourself to the long term affects on yourself, your family, and the child you chose to place.

Oh...and please, don't call me "bitter". I prefer the term "enlightened".


***DISCLAIMER-I don't speak for anyone but me...in this story or in life. It is here as an educational tool if anyone chooses to learn something. I appreciate comments always.***

P.S. Just because I don't actively blog doesn't mean I still don't LOVE comments. Yes, I still check them. I guess I would just rather hear YOUR thoughts, than share mine.

If you missed the story, start reading the "Posts of Some Significance" located directly underneath and to the right of this. That's the story in a nutshell.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Michelle's First Research Project...A Right versus What is right?

Most of us can agree that there needs to be some adoption reform in this country. The majority of us believe that "open adoptions" are far more healthy and happy for all those involved versus "closed adoptions". Most of us are in agreement that adoptees have a RIGHT to their original birth certificates. There are lots of things that we agree on. There are lots of things that we don't.

Most of the time on this blog, I share with you all a piece of MY life, or MY story, or MY opinion on something, because after all...it's MY blog. This time, I don't want to talk "my"...I want to talk "why". This post is something different. This post, I want any and everyone who has some insight to lend to leave a comment. I want to hear from EVERYONE POSSIBLE who has been in one of these two situations.

Today, after a very dear friend of mine was devastated by a failed placement (a commonplace it seems in all adoptive parents stories except the ones I chose), it really got me thinking what is right versus what is "a right". Now I am only using that phrase because it sounds catchy. I am not interested in playing Judge and Jury. I won't even toss my own viewpoint into the mix since I technically have no firsthand experience in any of the two situations I am going to describe. But I want to know WHY? I want to gain an understanding that I don't currently have, and I want to share it with you...almost like a research paper. I know that this could get heated, and I am hoping to moderate that as much as possible. For the next week, I encourage you all to spread the word of this project, and let's see what kind of clarity we can reach. Use your blogs, use Facebook and Myspace, use word of mouth. Get people in these situations to speak up, so that I can compile a report of sorts to the two biggest questions I ask daily.

Right #1...An expectant mother can change her mind regarding an adoption plan ANY time before the papers are signed (and in some states for a set period of time after that).

Question #1...If you were involved in an adoption plan, and knew the potential adoptive parents, and had built a relationship with them, AND THEN changed your mind...tell me why. Please do not answer if you did not know them ahead of time. Please do not answer why you did NOT change your mind (although God knows I could talk for days about why I didn't.) I only want to hear from birthmothers who were set up to place and then changed their mind at the eleventh hour.

Right #2...An Adoptive couple can make any and all decisions as to contact with the birthmother once the appropriate papers are signed. Even in states with open adoption agreements, they are not easy to enforce.
Question #2...If you are an adoptive parent who promised a certain amount of contact and then did not follow through on your promises...tell me why. Please do not answer if you are an adoptive parent with great communication with your birthmother. Do not answer if you are a birthmother speculating about why your adoptive parents cut off contact. I want to hear from the actual aparents who said one thing and for whatever reason did another.

I GIVE YOU MY WORD...I will not judge your answers. This is as much a lesson for me to learn to be unbiased as anything. It is simply research. You may comment anonymously if you choose and I will not fault you for it. And because I DO MODERATE comments, I will NOT post any that rip apart someone's honest answers left here.

Curiousity is killing the cat here, and I would like to gain a better understanding.
Until next week my friends...now GET THE WORD OUT!!!!






4 comments:

  1. I am an adoptive parent and adopted two children from my local county. They were approx 12 month and 4 when they were placed with us and then were about 3 and 6 when they had there TPRs and eventually a judicial surrender.
    I believed in open adoption then and still do to this day. I signed a PAC agreement at the surrender fully knowing that it was not an appropriate open adoption for our two children. I actually told the caseworker, lawguardian and judge that I did not know for sure if the prospect of "visits" were in the children's best interest and that either partied mental health would benifit from continued contact. There was abuse and neglect involved in the early infancy with both children and continued verbal abuse even under supervised visits at the county building. When I pointed this out to workers I was told I lacked empathy and a good foster parent would do such and such.
    With the conflict about the visits I had decided to "wait and see" what would happen at a TPR and was told that the judge could possibley accept a surrender with conditions and then would would be forced to either accept the arrangement or find "new foster parents". These children had not truly known other parents and even were with "grandparents" prior to placement. I decided it was in everyones best interest to sign the PAC rather than risk a disruption and pray for improvment in mental health and move forward.
    I met with an attorney for legal advice on the situation and with the county attorney and best case scenario was to make sure that we had a PAC agreement that addressed all issues and provided protection of best interests of children. For instance if mother as not clean and sober, acting inapproprately we would cut visit and reschedule for another time. Missed visits or loss of contact would break PAC discreetionary. Visits would be arranged by written correspondence to our PO BOX and a confirmation of time date would be made a week in advance. It was a complicated arrangement arrangement but in best interest of children.

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  2. In keeping with this not being a long and drawn out story and keep with the part about not keeping an open agreement on the part of an adoptive parent.
    I will talk about the part that made this a morally fine line ( in my perspective).
    We had an informal verbal agreement with the Maternal Grandparents (and still keep in contact) and they continued to see the kids a few times a year and it had nothing legally to do with birthmothers post adoption agreement. The children's mental health improved for the first year in general and did well in preschool and first grade and socially. We had a decent relationship with the grandparents and the kids saw them for very short visits. The birthmother failed to contact within the time frame and instead trying to relay message through the GPs and called the county and accused us as adoptive parents of not providing the PO box address at the surrender. Instead of just giving it to the worker and letting her try to set up visits after the time frame I forced the issue of time frame by "making" her get address from her public defender thus proving that we did provide it and that she was either delayed in setting up visits or had lost the address. I did recieve a letter and it was inappropriate tone and demanding. The return address was not her own but rather she was either vagrant or between places (drug houses) and had provided her parents address. I wrote her parents in a response to one of their letters to us that I would not accept 3rd party correspondence and that she would have to write with her own address and I would not accept phone calls on her behalf. It was a hard letter because I knew that was how there disfuctional family opperated and I did not want the GP to be looking for their daughter under a bridge or in a drug house before a visit. We were eventually told through the Gp that birthmother was getting married and moving out of county and getting married and would return to our area in six months for a wedding. Still no direct address and still relaying messages. Yes, I played hard ball and did not respond to 3rd party correspondence or messages from others. Not what I agreed to and I did not believe the entire story either. Another six months past and there was no po box contact. I sent an abundance of photo with multiple copies and double copies of crafts and report cards and such. I had a general idea that she as a grandmother would save some for herself and her daughter and that was okay with me.
    During that year my husband's mother had cancer and passed away. We visited her in the local hospital often and it was a sad time. One evening on the way back from a hospital visit my husband told me that he saw the children's birth mother in passing on the same city street as the hospital. the next week when I went to see my mother in law at the hospital I stopped in the area that my husband said he saw her which was in a area of subsidedized housing in the inner city. I went to see if I would see her and had some thoughts on determining if I would accept sometype of contact as the expression goes to "keep the window open". I entered the building and was approached by security and when I explained who I was looking for and why I recieced information on her living conditions and reason for an eviction. I have no desire to run her reputation through the mud but want to express that I did not feel that any contact at that time in her life would have been good for the children nor did I want to see her at that point and time. She had left that apartment and had not provided a forwarding address.

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  3. Another six months passed and x-mas cards came from the GP and we exchanged photos and more crafts. We set a visit with the GP and sent them a letter prompted by the children's therapists about boundaries and not relaying messages about birthparent issues and that the visits are for visiting only. This is the part that stays clear in my mind. We met the GPs at a local Mcdonalds and it was a short visit. The grandfather had bad news of cancer and that he only had months and it was very sad. The youngest did not know the GPs outside of the intial visit and the oldest boy was happy to see them but the dicussion kept returning to birthparent issues and we had to excuse ourselves early. On the way to our vehicles I was told by the grandmother that the birthmother has settles down to better living conditions with a sibling in a nice home and wanted visits with the kids. It was a conversation that turned arguementative and confortable as we were near a drivethrue area with much traffic and whinning kids. I told the grandmother that I did not want my decision to let the children's best interest be determined by a mental health professional affect the relationship that we had with the grandparents which was pretty good at the time. She shook her head in agreement about wanting to mantain a good relationship with us but then abruptly informed me that her daughter was going to take us to "court" for visits.

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  4. The day before x-mas eve we recieved a summons to appear in court and finally a viable address was provided on the court papers. It was nothing other than a "hot mess". She was mentally disabled and was entitles to a public defender and my husband and myself both has to retain attorneys and eventually my husband was laid off and we were assigned legal counsel. We eventually were provided a copy of her full petition that included her intial letters with 3rd party adress that were passed the time frame and inappropraite way to arrange for a visit. We had to supply letters from therapist that the visits were not good for the kids and could affect their mental health and that they did not understand that she was not an activity to play with at the county building but rather a birthmothers and the youngest did not know who she was at all or what was being suggested as far as a visit.
    I wrote the birthmother a letter prior to the court appearance but the children mental health wellbeing and about the possiblity of connecting when we felt it was benificial for the children and we had told her that she did not follow the PAC agreement and explained the discreationary clause and what that would mean. Unfortunatley the letter did not go over well and she kept moving forward with the court action which resulted in a law guardians report being read to her stating that the "baby" did not know her and the then 6 year old was afraid of her and did not want to see her at the "big building". That was the part that I feel awful about because it was just plain cruel and my letter was much "softer". We left the court with an discretionary agreement that was a two way written correspondence agreemt of her providing holiday cards and "friendly" correspondence and to keep her address updated and for us to continue to provide photos and reports to an address provided from her. That was January of 2010 and we have recieved nothing from her for an address and both kids birthdays came and went with no cards. It is disappointing for me as I would of hoped for something in the po box other than a petition of late. The grandfather had passed and we sent cards and hospitally gifts to the GPs. We had a private memorial and balloon release at home for the grandfather. The grandmother also has stopped writing and I understand that it would be a conflict of interest for her to request visits while her daughter is not having any at this time. Much of the visits with the GPs were about sending messages and were getting uncomfortable after the Mcdonalds visits last year. I still consider our adoption as an open adoption because we are open to communication in written form and I still believe in my letter that I wrote before the court appearnce that I would be willing to re-examine the visitation situation at a later time in the children's life. I do have regrets on the way the PAC agreement situation was handled on my part before and after the adoption but not as far as my decision for post adoption visits. I also am trying to tell this "story" without giving too much confidential information about my children's mental health issues and the birthmother's mental health and specifics regarding their original removal from her care.

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