I’ve been working in the field of adoption for over 30 years so you’d think I’d understand how it works by now! Truth is that although there are some aspects of adoption that are pretty clear and straightforward, adoption is a confusing, ever changing (but ultimately wonderful) path to parenthood. This is the first in a series of blogs that I am writing for the FertilityAuthority about adoption. My focus today is on how adoptive parents and birthparents are “matched.”
Bubba Watson's adopted son Caleb. Adoption was on the couple’s mind from their first date, Watson said, Angie told him that she could not have children. Married in 2004, Watson and Angie, a former pro basketball player, were matched with one-month-old Caleb in 2012 after a four year journey to adopt a child.
Have we become a consumer based society where we feel we can return even adopted children? If the news reports are right, that’s exactly what Cleveland and Lisa Cox did with their son… after 9 years in their home. The couple was charged with one count of nonsupport after “recklessly” abandoning him when they returned their son to the Butler County Children’s Services on October 24, 2013 where they originally adopted the boy at 3 months old.
When it comes to adoption in Tinseltown, there is usually a fair amount of attention paid to celebrities who build their families through some form of adoption. Most of us - even those of us who pretend not to know such things - can probably name a few celebs who have done so. But what about famous people who are adopted themselves? It's nice to see examples of grown up adoptees who have gone on to do interesting, extraordinary or noteworthy things. Here are some famous people who were in some way formally or informally adopted; some were adopted from birth, some grew up in foster care, some were raised by extended family - and some may surprise you.
Davion Henry, a 15 year old boy from Florida, recently made headlines when he walked into his church and asked if anyone among them would be his family. His plea worked, and thousands of people across the country looked into adopting him. But what about other older kids that don’t make national news?
It’s National Adoption Month, and on just about every news outlet you can find stories about families being created through adoption. Stories of “gotchya days” when parents first laid eyes on their children are accompanied by pictures of very happy families. Many times the parents travelled long hours to countries that they had never been to before to bring home their child. This was only possible after months of scrutiny by social workers and foreign officials of their financial, physical and mental health. Except for the infertiles that put themselves through countless medical procedures, adoption is arguably much more difficult than any “normal” pregnancy.
I was adopted, day 1 minute after being born - my Mother, not my biological Mother, was actually the first one to hold me. Many people have asked me about when I was told I was adopted. The truth is, I don't remember. There was no 'big reveal', it was something I always knew - I was told about it in a positive light for as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact, it was always told to me in such a positive light that the only 'big adoption moment' I remember is finding out that my Mom wasn't adopted herself.
(...and thinking - what?! Poor her - does she feel less special?!)
As a lifelong proud adoptee, and now as a woman going through fertility treatments, I'm always riveted to hear the stories of adoptive parents, current or prospective. How they reached the conclusion that adoption was for them, how they feel about it, the looming questions they have about the emotional sides of the process. It's impossible for me not to have feelings on the subject - those feelings and opinions have naturally always been from the prospective of the adoptee. Now that I'm contemplating my future and building my own family, I'm starting to look at it from the other side. What are the things that an adoptive parent should think about? What are some of the emotions that they have to deal with? I'm delighted to have known my story from the very beginning - is that the general consensus on how to go about telling a child their story?
“I’m afraid to adopt because I don’t like the idea of open adoption.” “Adoption scares me because it seems like it will feel like we are co-parenting with the birthparents.” “I don’t want to meet or know the child’s birthparents.”
These are all comments that I hear when people are beginning to think about adoption. They’ve heard the term “open adoption” and fear that it means they will be sharing Thanksgiving dinners and the Senior Prom with their child’s birthparents. I want to use this blog entry to clear up some common mis-understandings about openness in adoption.
Last week I began a series of blogs about the adoption process, acknowledging at the start, that it is incredibly confusing, even for someone like me who has worked in the adoption field for over three decades! Last week I wrote about WHEN people are matched. Now I’ll say a bit about HOW matches occur. Stay tuned in coming weeks for entries about OPENNESS in adoption and one on CONSIDERING ADOPTION IN THE MIDST OF INFERTILITY.
In an interview with the Today show on Tuesday, actress Nia Vardola discussed her journey through infertility and adoption, and aspirations to become an advocate for adoption education.
Known for her role in the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Vardola has recently embarked on a mission to become a spokesperson for adoption, which includes authoring her first publication. Her new book not only highlights references and resources for pursuing adoption, but also details the process Vardola and her husband went through leading up to the homecoming of their adopted daughter in 2008. Vardola underwent thirteen cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF) before deciding to move on to adoption.