Wednesday, November 24, 2010

24. Education/Adoption Language

When I was doing the high school presentation last Wednesday. We had a powerpoint. One of the slides talked about the adoption language. The positive and the negative. I feel as though everyone needs to be educated in this subject. There is not a day that goes by that I want to correct somebody but bite my tongue.

I found this little treasure on Birthmothers 4 Adoption.

Straight up. I just got out of bed and am writing this. That's how much I needed to write this at 3 in the morning. I know, call me crazy. But it's my day off and I'm going to sleep this craziness off.

I have recently loved some adoptive parents profile's today on facebook. (I know above it says that the positive language is to call them parents. I just differentiate on my blog. But when I talk about Dustinn and Val or I introduce them, I say my birthdaughter's parents. Or Olivia's parents.)

One person wrote, "In case you were wondering, birth moms don't "give up" or "give away" their babies, they make an adoption plan. Correct, positive terminology reinforces that adoption is a healthy, loving way to build a family. :)"

That is one way of educating others of adoption language.

As I am talking about educating about adoption terminology. I also want to cover education in adoption itself. On both the adoptive parents side and the birth parents side of education. I know adoptive parents have to go to a certain amount of classes before they are approved to adopt. But how many of them are just sitting in there, just to adopt a baby, and not really listening to the words?

Birth parents are given the privilege to go to counseling or go to support groups. These are the people that need to seek out that counsel and that education. We are looking for advice from our caseworkers, family members, friends, whoever is willing to listen. Are you on to lend a listening ear? Are you one that will research adoption for them if they feel like an agency is not the right place for them?

I would also like to address (which may be a controversial or touchy subject for some): bitter birth parents. You know who you are. We all know you're out there. The one's who felt like they had no choice in the matter. (Some of you who may have been under aged or kept your pregnancy a secret. I understand that situation) But I'm addressing to the girls who went to counseling. Or went to an agency to find refuge. But now, feel like that agency is an enemy. For one reason. These birth parents can't take accountability for their own actions.

I know I've been at fault and have pointed the blame at some of my own mistakes in life. But somethings are just our fault and need to swallow our pride and choke back the words, "I made a mistake." I know it's a hard pill to swallow. But we've all been there. We found ourselves in an unplanned situation. But never once was our child- illegitimate, a mistake, unwanted, abandoned. None of the above.

I've also touched a little bit about adoptive parents needing education. I know some birth parents who have placed the blame on the adoptive parents. Feelings of betrayal and broken trust on both ends. Some can talk it out like grown adults. Some live with these grudges forever, unable to forgive. I know that in some cases it can be an adoptive parents fault. Such as, when they don't follow through with their promises. They have promised an open adoption and once they "got what they wanted." They were free to just live their life as a family and keep us out of the picture. As if our hearts weren't broken enough and have come to love you. You left us high and dry. Now instead of feelings of losing one, we lost three.

Mrs. R posted on her facebook/twitter when she went to the adoption conference at UVU.

"You cannot adopt a child without adopting the birth parents too," Isaac Thomas at the UVU Conference.

I know some girls who have had closed adoptions and have reunited with their birth child. Some issues have come out of the open. Such as, a child feeling they were abandoned. This is the BIGGEST example of uneducated adoptive parents. I say that, because their child would not feel abandoned if the adoptive parents could openly admit the child was adopted at a young age. The child would not feel abandoned if the adoptive parents could talk more about the birth parents instead of keeping it like a deep, dark secret. (I know with closed adoptions and there isn't a lot of information that can be shared about birth parents or vice versa. Or a birth parent has decided not to give out any information about herself. It's hard to educate them to know where/who they are.)

How do I know about that? I went to a school where there were support groups for the students who were adopted who felt bitterness towards adoption. I knew that pain was out there. But this also shows to me that open adoption just seems like a lot better option. Everyone is curious. Everyone has a desire to know who they are and where they came from. How hard is that to understand?

This is when I believe if the scenario when you don't know a lot about the child's birthparents. You let them know with all of your heart that they were loved. That's all a child wants to hear. Is that they were always LOVED. I think everyone wants to know that and feel that. I don't think I don't know anyone who hasn't been curious. So why can't adopted children be curious to where they come from? Why does it have to be shoved under the rug? Oh. Because you want to feel like you were always the parent? They didn't come from anyone else? That's on YOU. Not us.

Me:Did my birth mom ever get to hold me?
Mom:YES! The day you were born for a few hours and then nearly all day on your 2nd day of life. She held you, talked to you, kissed you and cried when she gave you to the Nursery nurse just before she went home. She loves you. She suffered as great a pain as you - maybe even more. She doesnt know what course your life took or that you were deeply loved by another family because of her great selfless act. I was ‘gifted’ with your birth & life. Esp now.

I know some of you can say to me, "You don't understand. You haven't gone through that much in the adoption. You'll see. You'll regret it."
How can I regret something that didn't just change my life? But it saved my birth daughter's? I think birth parents have unspoken of connection. We may not have the same stories. But we have experienced the same kind of thing. Pain and Peace.
We have all experienced a loss. Even though, you may not want to admit it now, you felt at peace with your decision. If you didn't, you wouldn't have gone through with it.
For me, personally, I wanted to educate myself. I wanted to know every single thing in adoption to understand what I was doing. I didn't want someone doing it for me and telling me the research later. I think that's why I have this blog. Not just to talk about my experiences, but for those who are wanting to educate themselves with adoption can understand, it's NOT a bad thing. It's NOT something you just keep in a shoebox in the back of your closet anymore. It's NOT a dreadful thing from your past. It's a life changing experience that breaks you until it makes you whole.
I found this post on Dustin and Andrea's blog. I'm quoting it below.
"Old vs. New. Thinking about Adoption.
*The OLD way of thinking is in Italics, the NEW way of thinking is in Bold.

If I find myself unexpectedly pregnant, abortion and single parenting are my only choices.

There is a third choice, one that has proven to be a success for birth mothers and children–the adoption option. 

I would never consider adoption–it would be too hard.

Which ever choice you make will present many hardships–adoption may be no more difficult than abortion or single parenting. 

My friends and family will think I'm terrible giving up my own flesh and blood.

Adoption is not "giving up," it is giving to–a decision you have carefully made out of love for the future of your child and yourself. 

I'll never know what happened to my baby. I simply couldn't live that way.

The old way of doing adoptions (secrecy and no control) is out. The new way–open adoption–allows you to make the decisions regarding the future of your child and yourself. 

Why adoption? Isn't it just for people who can't have their own kids?

Not necessarily true. Yes, some people cannot biologically conceive, but adoption provides a family for a child, not a child for a family. 

Kids who are adopted have lots of problems.

Not founded in fact. Refer to the Search Institute Study. Children who are adopted have, among other characteristics, high self-esteem and positive identity concerns at rates as high or higher than their peers. 

What about me? I feel it's my responsibility to raise my child.

Your responsibility is to make the very best and informed decision that you can for your child. Studies show that birth mothers who make an adoption plan typically move on with their life, finish their education, have a career, and eventually marry.

From the Adoption Option Committee, Inc."
Not once, in this experience or while I was pregnant, gone into an adoption agency (even though they are pro adoption) stick a gun to my head and tell me since I had a baby out of wedlock that's what I was supposed to do. They told me my options. And we looked into them thoroughly. When it came apparent that single parenting is what would probably happen. Was it going to be my decision to deny Olivia a two parent home with stability? Or a broken home with one parent? I know some people look at it as, "If I would've known all my resources, if I would've known all these things..." Then why didn't YOU find out?! Forcryingoutloud! Not did I ever feel like when I looked at a pass along card that I felt like they were trying to buy my baby off of me. I didn't ever look at adoptive parents as baby snatchers. It's called PLACING our baby for adoption. Val didn't snatch her out of my arms and just said, "Thanks for the baby, see ya!" I placed her in her arms, gently and cried and whispered, "I love you, Olivia." And said to them, "Please let her know that. And take good care of her." I know they were going to. It's just that peace. To have peace, we need all the PIECES.
I know, as a birthmom, that I've always desired to have a baby/be a mommy. Naturally, it's within us. So when somebody who can't have their own children. That desire is taken out of them? Of course not! That is a human instinct to want to have a baby. What is wrong with letting that be known? They are just supposed to live their lives together with no children? While other people are out there getting themselves in situations, where they try to abort? Or they end up staying together in an abusive relationship because they had no other option? I've always understood that I was just going to learn things the hard way. I was going to touch the flame even though I knew it was going to burn. That's why God has given us trials. To understand them, overcome them, learn from them and gain experience. I don't think everything that Dustinn and Val had to go through was for nothing. I don't think everything I went through was for nothing. 
This little angel is OUR everything.
We love you, Olivia.

"Christ never allows the hearts of His own to be shattered without excellent reasons and eternal purposes"

P.S. It's mine and Tayler's 2 month wedding anniversary :) Even though he hates me for waking him up to do this blog and have him read it before I post it. I know he's always going to be there for me for eternity <3 When I wake up next to him every morning, I know I'm a lucky girl!
I love you, husband.


  1. I strongly disagree with several of the things listed in that negative/ positive talk. Did you know that the reason why the term "natural parent" was turned into "birth parent"? It is because adoptive couples found it offensive because it made them the "unnatural" parent. Another thing, I see it as when I turned 18 I was REUNITED with my REAL mom. The mother is the woman who risks her life giving birth, yes, a mother is also the person who raised you but I see her as my real mother. Everything we are is identical from our looks to our personality, from the way we walk to the way we laugh. A parent is the person who loved you so much that they did what was best for you, an adoptive parent is the person who adopted you.

  2. I'll just say that, I do understand the reason why that could be offensive to adoptive parents. It's NOT a big deal to me. But now- that it's offensive to them, it's offensive to you because the term had to be changed? I don't really get it.

    "To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else."-Elder Bednar

    I will just say that I think the last part of your comment was contradictory. I understand that there are TWO mothers. One who gave birth to you and gave you to another family. One who ADOPTED you AND RAISED you. Quite the same thing (when you listed above it sounds like they didn't go hand in hand). I understand it's a birthmothers ultimate love and sacrifice to give their child a new life. But it's also an adoptive parents sacrifice to raise a child and give them everything.

    DNA doesn't make you a mother. BEING a mother makes you a mother.

    Clearly, you know and understand that. And I will leave it at that.

  3. Kara,
    how exactly do your REAL parents feel about this? When I say your real parents, I am indeed referring to the people that Adopted you, raised you, worked for you, prayed for you day and night, taught you right from wrong and loved you unconditionally even before you were born.

    How dare you even say that they are not your real parents? Birthmothers (at least the birthmothers that know anything about adoption and birthmothers that paid ATTENTION to the papers when they were WILLINGLY signing them, because no, you cannot sign them unless its your own free will because it says that on the papers as well) KNOW that once they sign those relinquishment papers, their rights as a mother are gone.

    It says IN THE PAPERS that once signing them, you are no longer that childs mother. So when you sit there and say that because your birthmother 'acts like you', she is your real mother, it's obvious that you have no idea what you're talking about. By reading about you, I see that you are a birthmother...did you even LISTEN when you were signing relinquishment papers???

    THAT is why you are not called the "real parent" because those rights were signed AWAY when you signed the papers.

    Stefanie is SO right about this whole post. I love this post and I love what she says in her comment. she is COMPLETELY right when she says "DNA doesn't make you a mother. BEING a mother makes you a mother."


    I think you owe your REAL parents an apology for sitting there and saying they are not your real parents. Especially after everything they've done for you.