April 15th, 2009
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I’ve been avoiding discussions of the tough stuff for birth parents in open adoption and reunion for awhile. Why? Every now and then I need to turn my focus to more positive topics in order to survive. I’m now in a great place and able to look at the harder concepts of life for birth parents without fear of finding myself drowning in overwhelming emotion.

And so, for the next week or two (or three, if necessary), I’m going to tackle some tough subjects. I felt the need to start the discussion with a warning. Why? When I’m writing a series of positive posts, people complain that I’m ignoring the “realities” of adoption. When I write a series of posts that tackle subjects that can be perceived as negative, I’m accused of being that “bitter birth mother” that everyone complains about and even fears. I figure if I throw up a disclaimer before launching into this very necessary series of posts, I can direct all nay-sayers back to this post.

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I am also writing this post hoping for some help. I know certain harder topics that I am going to tackle in this series, those topics that no one in the adoption world wants to consider, address or offer support to birth or adoptive families (or, you know, adoptees). Someone needs to and, well, it’s going to be me. What’s on my list thus far? Separation. Divorce (various forms). Remarriage. Severe Illness. Death. The process of search and reunion and finding any of these issues. The thing is: I know that there are other “big” issues, often involving the adoptive family, that aren’t discussed. Issues like the ones I’ve mentioned. I can’t think of them all. If you know of another big issue that needs some discussion time, please let me know. It’s time to step up and tackle these things. Pronto.

Finally, I’ll also be presenting at the National Adoption Conference on April 26, 2009, speaking on this very topic. My speech will be of a more personal nature, chronicling my journey as a birth mother through some of these very issues within our open adoption. After that speech, I’ll be sure to share the experience with you. If you feel like sharing any of your experiences with these topics with me prior to April 23rd (the date that my speech must be finalized as I’ll be gone all weekend), I would be grateful. (No names used, of course! Unless you want me to send traffic to your blog.)

It is not my intention to create a smear campaign for adoptive parents as I will also be discussing these issues in birth parents lives as well. It is my intention to give readers who are experiencing such issues a place to come and realize that they aren’t alone in their adoption journey’s detour. I was grateful to have a birth mother friend who had been through similar issues in the year prior to when I had to deal with various issues. If I had been forced to go through it alone, my healing and acceptance would have been harder to achieve.

In the end, life happens. To all of us. No family is exempt from the tougher issues in life. Adoptive families. Birth families. Everyday families. We’re all at risk for big, scary things. Ignoring those facts won’t make them go away. Dwelling on them, however, can cause problems as well. And so, a nice healthy look at issues with the reminder of the positive force we can have on our own lives is the full intent of this series. If you care to join me, I’d love to have you.

Photo Credit.

2 Responses to “Talking About the Tough Stuff”

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  2. kimberlysmom03 says:

    Hi my name is Elsie. I am the birth mother of a beautiful 16 year old girl. Her name is Kimberly. Kimberly was adopted at the age of 1. It was an in family adoption. Prior to Kimberlys adoption I was in rehap for my drug addiction that I am proud to say was also 16 years ago.I have been clean for that long. I have three other children as well. I was a single parent when my sister in law wrote me a nice letter with pictures and asked me if I would consider letting her and now her husband adopt Kimberly. (My brother had pasted away 9 years before) I discussed it with family and counselor at the time and dicided that it would be a good discission for Kimberly and all that they could do for her. The adoption was an open adoption and I was to receive pictures, school reports etc over the years. Shorthly after the adoption was final the pictures did not come to me any longer but went to one of my sisters. Which she kept for herself and did not forward to me. I did not want to confuse Kimberly so I only called on holidays and birthdays. I also sent gifts for her. As the years went by Kimberly had contact with my other Children but I always got cut short on phone calls. Kimberly is now well aware of who I am and we speak on the phone as often as we can. Her Mom takes the phone away from her at times. Sometimes it is weeks before she calls me. Other times we talk everday. Kimberly wants questions answered and I have always told her when you are 18 I will tell you everything. Tonight on the phone Kimberly stated to me that it is not fare that they won’t let her see me. I her been telling her to be patient until she turns 18. I want to answer her questions but I also want to be fare to her parents. I have written them a letter asking to be more active in Kimberlys life and have gotten no response. I hear from Kimberly and I can hear the frustation she is going through. My husband Rob thinks that I should start answering her questions and let her know that I have tried over the years to have contact but have always been cut short and told I don’t have time for this conversation. One excuse after another. A couple of months ago Kimberly was talking to my son and told him that she is a cutter. I called my older sister and asked her if she knew this. She did not and said she would call Barbara and speak with her. In their conversation Debbie told Barbara that maybe it would be good for her and I to talk for Kimberly. I still have not gotten that phone call. I am not trying to take the place of being her parent I would just like to have a realationship with Kimberly. Letting her her the best of both worlds. I am open to any suggestions you may have for me. Thank you

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