Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Adoption Triad

In adoption circles you hear/read alot about the Adoption Triad. This is a triangle used to describe the role that birth parents and adoptive parents have in the life of the child. The triangle is labeled with the child at the top and the two sets of parents at each end on the bottom. Putting the parents an the equal plane at the bottom represents that they are both equally important in the child's life. One is not higher than the other, they are both equal.

Birth mothers are more than just a 9 month incubator. They are not to be regarded as someone who found having a baby to be a disruption and therefore "gave it away". They should be looked at as someone who loved their child so much and wanted more than they could provide for their baby so they decided to make an adoption plan. They have chosen to make one of the hardest decisions in their life for what they feel is in the best interest of their child. The father of the family we heard on Saturday had a good analogy to use when he was asked how could someone do that. His response is, how could God send his only son to be raised by someone else and then crucified to save a world who doesn't always appreciate the sacrifice? He did it because his love for us is so much more then we can even begin to comprehend.

J and I have a little different opinions on how to approach our adoption. We are both in agreement that we would like it to be semi-open, but we have been differing on what exactly that means to both of us. We are both completely open to sharing pictures and letters for the entire life of the child. We are also open to exchanging gifts on holidays and birthdays. I'm also open to having agency facilitated meetings with the birth mother, depending on the situation. J is not quite as sure about that. We compromised and said we would agree on those terms on a case by case basis. It also would depend on how the child would react at those meetings. If it is stressful for them, we obviously would have to look at doing things differently. The family from Saturday has never met their birth families. The parents would love to meet them, but so far the birth families haven't wanted to. The mom and dad said they would love to meet the families so they can tell them thank you. You could tell by listening to the family how much love and respect they had for the birth parents.

When we've mentioned semi-open adoption we've had some people inform us that we'd have to meet the birth parents. We've done our research and we know what it means. The birth parents are not someone who should be feared in an adoption. Sometimes they get stereotyped as a big monster just waiting to swoop in and take the babies back, which isn't usually the case. I know there are TV specials that say differently, but remember those are a small part of the total number of adoptions that take place. The birth parents are someone who will always be shown respect in our family. When our other family members speak about them, they need to be referred to with respect. If it weren't for the birth parents we would not be able to be a part of this wonderful experience.

Another thing we all need to remember is that an adoption is one of those happy/sad times. We are happy because we are getting another member in our family. The birth family is experiencing one of the saddest times of their lives. They are placing their child with someone else to raise. This will create a huge hole in their lives that will never totally heal. For being willing to do this, they deserve our admiration and respect.

The family from Saturday also told us how their daughter handled the traditional family tree project at school, which really sums up the Birth Family/Adoptive Family roles. The adoptive family is the branches of the tree and the roots of the tree are the birth family. The tree couldn't survive without it's roots and it can become strong and beautiful with the support of both the roots and the branches.

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