How do you deal with
the biological family of the adopted child that may still reside somewhere
More important, how does your child deal with that?
What's the role and position of the adoptive parent in the process?
These and many other
far reaching questions and thoughts are discussed in the latest article
of our counselor Jeltje Simons
I adopted I had some ideas about birth families and the children available
for adoption and it all appeared quite straight forwards. In the case
of adoption every legal tie with the birth family is cut, the child
becomes your own as would have been the case by birth, and you live
happily ever after.. . The reality is of course a little more complicated.
In the past decade there also has been
a huge shift in opinion about what is a good practice when it comes
to birth parent contact. From adopting very young infants and telling
them nothing if they were of similar race, to fully open adoptions where
birth parents and adopters have each other's contact details and can
be in touch whenever they wish. These are the trends, so some people
seek contact with the birth parents before their children are of age
when they can decide. Also when it comes to inter-country adoptions,
TV programs that show great reunions are not helping people to see the
full picture. These programs are just a snapshot of a long process of
loss and pain that lasts years; and the reunion moment, though full
of emotion and excitement, is not the final outcome for most.
Most inter-country adoptions are fully
closed, and that's it. That is also one of the reasons some people choose
inter-country adoption over domestic: it gives them a piece of mind
not to have to deal with all sorts of contact issues, direct (meeting
the birth parents once or more times a year) or indirect (writing to
and receiving letters from the birth family). However, the truth of
the matter is, even if you have adopted a Chinese girl for whom the
chances that the birth family will ever be found are extremely low,
the presence of the birth mother is real still, even if you have never
met her, if you do not have information about her existence: she is
important to your child and so to you.
my children came home I was surprised how much I was thinking of their
birth mothers. And to be honest, I still do think about that woman who
is always in the background. Looking at the facial features of my new
child and wondering if he was looking like her. For the birth mother
he is still the baby frozen in time; for me - the child she will never
really know. I feel sadness thinking of the consequences of the fact
caused by her walking away. Maybe the act in itself made her life easier
at the time, maybe she still thinks of him and wonders how he is doing,
maybe he is a lost memory.
For my child the consequences
of his abandonment have been huge. The neglect he suffered; his trauma,
his difficulty attaching, his inability to really care about people,
animals, belongings; his social problems, his learning challenges are
all the direct result of never having a mother to love him, to soothe
him, to protect him, to attach to him and care for him.