Thursday, December 6, 2012

From Open to Closed

Just another reminder to check in and meet our cute little Family of the Week, the Caulk Family! If you haven't yet donated your $1 this week, we sure would love it if you followed the link on their post to donate to help bring home their newest little one. Next, we have a featured post from Jennifer discussing her family's pursuit of an open adoption.

When we first signed up with our agency, we told them that our preference was to have a semi-open adoption, with all contact with the birth family to go through the agency.  After we were matched with our first expectant mother, we found our views changing.  As we got to know her, we could see her in our life, texting, sending emails, etc.  Though that match failed, our feelings toward an open relationship didn't, and we changed our status with the agency.

When we were matched with Isaac's birth parents, we met them later that week at a restaurant for a long lunch.  We talked a lot, and part of it was about communication expectations.  We told them we were open to have communication with the directly, but also agreed to send letters and pictures to the agency several times during his first year.  They were in a time of transition, and were going to move states within months of Isaac's birth, so everything going to the agency was the best solution for them.

We didn't see either of them again until Isaac was born, and even then we only saw his birthfather briefly, while he stood in the hallway waiting for the nurses to take her to recovery after the c-section.  Once they went to court to have their parental rights terminated, we were able to take physical custody of Isaac, but still couldn't leave the state while ICPC was getting approved.  We talked to the social worker, and asked her to pass on our willingness to meet with them before we left for home.  They decided not to meet with us, so our next contact was the letter we sent to the agency, one month after placement.

We've written four more letters.  All of them are sitting at the agency.  Unrequested.  We'll continue to write letters, until he's 18 if we need to.  We want Isaac to know we've tried to open communication, so that he could have a relationship.  That was our promise to him the day they put him in our arms, that we would always support a relationship with his birth family.

We've found out through looking at their facebook pages that they indeed did move, called off their engagement, and his birthfather moved back home.  We've struggled with the decision to contact them on facebook through a message, but what do we say?  How do we not pry or offend them?  How do you gently try to open up a relationship, for the sake of your child?  And if it doesn't work, how do you explain it to them when he gets older? 

For now we just wait, undecided on what to do, and wonder if this closed relationship will ever be open.  

1 comment:

  1. I would ask your social worker before contacting on facebook. I went to a birth panel meeting a few weeks ago and all of the birth parents unanimously agreed the best way to initiate conversation is to send a letter to the agency. That gives them time to sort through their emotions and figure out if or how they would respond.

    Our birthmom is actually starting to distance herself, which I never thought would happen. I email her monthly reports and pictures but she has just said she thinks she wants to wait for our next meeting to be in July. I don't know if she will stick to that or not, but we are fine with whatever she decides. I personally think she needs space so she can heal, but I love talking to her all the time.

    I think it's pretty common that birthparents are very involved in the beginning and when they realize they aren't the child's "mom and dad" they start to distance themselves. I am by no means an expert, but that's what I have personally seen in my life.