December 20th, 2006
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A List for YouApparently when a blogger has existed for a certain length of time, things need to be restated. As always, you can go back through my archives (I started blogging in October of this year) and read through the posts, one by one, to understand the whole picture. I have recently been accused by two different camps of thought of being too negative and, at the same time, painting an unrealistic “too rosy” portrait of adoption. How I am doing this at the same time confuses even me, but, just to be sure, I’ll hit the main points of my adoption journey in bulleted, numbered form so that everyone can understand where I stand.

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1. The agency that we used was highly unethical and, in the end, lied to and deceived me. I was not told that open adoptions are not legally binding in my state until well-after the TPR was signed. I was forced to sign the TPR twice due to a catastrophic (and thus humiliating for me) error on their part. I received no counseling and when I asked for it post-placement, I was turned away.

2. Despite those horrific events, I placed my daughter with a family who is ethical, moral and compassionate. We have forged an open adoption that is not necessarily the norm. We have a fully open adoption, complete with quarterly visits (though, sometimes one or two get moved around due to scheduling). We are open, honest and real. We believe that if people truly want to make an open adoption work, they can but both sides have to be willing to put in a lot of work and, sadly, not all parties are up to the task. Our openness is successful. We are proud of that and we will talk about it.

3. I do not think that adoption is the answer for every unplanned pregnancy under the sun. I do know that I would have been an amazing parent to the Munchkin if I had been encouraged to parent at the time. I do know that some birth mothers would have fared the same had they had any emotional or physical support at the time of their pregnancy or birth of their child. I do know that never offering a woman resources will make her feel as if adoption is her only viable option. I do promote researching and utilizing resources to all expectant parents. Only then do I think that adoption should be researched; after all resources are exhausted.

4. I do not think that adoption is inherently evil. I do not think it should be abolished. I don’t believe this and I won’t believe this.

5. However, that said, I do believe that the world of adoption as we know it is in desperate need of reform. Agencies need to be held to a higher ethical standard than they are currently, both in their actions with expectant/birth parents and adoptive parents. Records need opened for adoptees. More counseling is needed for all sides of the triad, both in pre-placement, post-placement and reunion eras. The list goes on but reform is needed. Just because I don’t think adoption is inherently evil doesn’t mean that I think it should continue on at it’s current pace; things need changed.

6. I have good days and bad. Birthdays are a double edged sword. Holidays are usually bad. Long spans of time without a visit are usually bad. Visits are usually good. I write series from time to time, including the forever running “Love Thursday” that will forever be “positive.” (In fact, I think we should all try to find love in our lives and/or our adoptions once a week. It’s refreshing.) If you think I’m being too positive during one span of time, ask yourself what’s going on at that time. If you think I’m being too negative, is it a birthday? A holiday? Go back and read through the entire blog to get the entire picture.

7. I have a lot of guilt, shame, anger and regret. I have a lot of pride, love and happiness. These are not contradictory statements; they are a fact of my adoption journey.

8. I am currently in therapy to process and deal with the issues that the adoption (and some other things) have created in my life. It took me two years to find this therapist. Sometimes sessions will be negative. Sometimes they will be positive. They will always be honest.

9. I am interested in the trends of unplanned pregnancy, how those Mothers are treated and what can be done to improve their treatment. This stems from how I was treated when I was pregnant with the Munchkin. I talk about it in this blog and eventually hope to foster some change in some form or fashion. Whether a Mother is placing or parenting, she needs support during a pregnancy. Unbiased support, mind you.

10. All that said, my opinions change. My feelings ebb and flow. And that’s okay. I’ve grown a lot as a birth mother over the last three years and with that, opinions, thoughts and beliefs have all evolved into what they are today. In three more years, they will be different. Growth and change are both good things.

Okay. So that’s where I stand. Don’t like it? Don’t read it. :) Happy Wednesday to you all! I must go make some more hot tea and attempt to practice my Christmas Eve solo.

3 Responses to “An Overview”

  1. JudyK says:

    Jenna, very well said.

    I have to admit, I have been baffled by statements made that indicate that you portray your adoption experience in one light or another — recently the comments indicate that you portray your adoption in a “too positive” light. I think you do present a balanced viewpoint, but to be fair to YOU, you recently finished up the November Thankful series and being thankful is all about finding the good in things — correct? I don’t find you to be “too positive” or “too negative,” but instead to have worked with J and D to have made the very best and healthiest circumstance for all of you, most importantly The Munchkin, out of a tremendously complicated life situation. And what you portray is in fact BALANCED. There’s laughter, there’s tears, there’s happiness, there’s anger, there’s the range of emotions if people can follow along and, as you say, see the circumstances surrounding when you’re writing about what you write.

    You keep on keeping on, Jenna. Your points of view, your refusal to pick ONE SIDE versus THE OTHER SIDE is refreshing!! Life is full of greys; kudos to you for allowing for the greys and contradictory feelings to exist alongside one another. It’s life and it’s real. And it’s a part of adoption.

  2. MommyLis2001 says:

    JudyK, I second that emotion…

    Jenna, the very reasons I keep reading are because you wrestle with the gray, neither painting too rosy or too dismal a picture of either side.

    I appreciate the “redemptive” tone you have…while in the midst of a hard situation, never using that as an opportunity to BLAST but as a chance to grow and change.

  3. Peanut says:

    Ok, Jenna I have to post.
    I think you have one of the BEST blogs here, don’t let them ruffle you to much.
    I fully appreciate that you are honest with how adoption emotions can run the gamet. It is never one feeling everyday for anyone is it?
    Those folks who want to focus on one aspect of what you post must be stuck in that phase of their own situation. It’s unfortunate, but it is THEIR issue and I hope you will not allow them to try and make it yours too.
    By the way this is yet another awesome post on it’s own.
    You GO girl!

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