image c/o etsy.com
Wynter Kaiser, a birth mother and the founder of the Made to Mother project, wrote an important article that was posted today over at America Adopts. In it, she discusses how the idealized adoption scenario where “a young girl gets pregnant and loves the baby so much that she decides to give it a better home and life than she can offer” romanticizes what is usually a much more complex situation. She fully acknowledges that many birth mothers do feel anguished about their decision and feel a connection with their child that makes them want to play a role in that child’s life, but she reminds her readers that “we are not cookie cutters;” she, personally, appreciates the communication she receives from her child’s adoptive family but does not feel the need to seek it out.
Wynter makes an important point that not all birth mothers want contact with their child or their child’s adoptive family, and that the reasons why are as varied and unique as their stories and lives are. Here at Birth Parent Place we post a lot about open adoption, so we were glad to be reminded by Wynter’s post that one of the most important things about any adoption plan is that the birth mother is empowered and in control.
We encourage women to leave the door open for updates or meetings for a couple of reasons. First, we have worked with a large number of women who initially rejected playing any role in their child’s life but then changed their minds. Second, research has shown that openness is very beneficial for adopted children in terms of their emotional development. For these reasons, we urge birth mothers not to dismiss openness right away based solely on how they feel at the time of delivery; however, we also believe that no birth mother should be pressured to engage in a relationship with her child or that child’s family. There is no right or wrong way to do adoption as long as everyone’s rights are respected.
Do you agree with Wynter that adoption scenarios tend to be idealized or romanticized? How do you feel about openness? Have your feelings changed at all over time?