Saturday, July 25, 2009

Open Adoption

Linda wanted to know if we had a plan in place for our child if they do not want to visit with their biological family anymore.

I'll tell you about the 3 different open adoptions we have. I'll go in order of adoption.

We adopted Emma in the first year of her life. She moved in with us at 3 weeks old and never left. We had known her Mother before her pregnancy b/c she is the cousin of my then best friend of 15+ years. We have since stopped communicating b/c her views of adoption and mine are very different and she has Bi Polar that she refuses to stay on meds for. Her and her DH also threw the party that my DH misbehaved at. Back to the story before I get on a tangent, we are in a very open independent adoption. Emma's Mother is Nikki, she has actually stayed with us for many weeks and even months at different times. In the beginning, she struggled with a meth addiction and bouts of crippling depression. I knew from the start that I didn't want her to go away, I loved her and she loved her daughter. Regardless of her issues, we have managed to build an amazing friendship. SHe is family. The first year was the hardest. We had to find our way. I had never heard of open adoption. We had to figure out our places. I based the Adoption Agreement in the post the other day on our rules with Nikki. It is b/c of those rules that we were able to focus on being a family with her. As she began to recover from her addiction we were able to increase her unsupervised time with our dd. She has been clean for over 2 yrs and Emma spends time with her and her sisters every chance she gets. It has progress to over nights and now a week there this Summer. Emma enjoys a strong relationship with her extended family, as well. It is always supervised by Nikki. We are trying to work through Emma's strong feelings to both households and how to deal with the sadness that is adoption. None of us would change a thing, it is as close to perfect as we can get.

MY sibling group was adopted through the state so it is different. We wanted a family that could all enjoy the benefits of an open relationship. The SW's all agreed this was the family for that. The parents were just MR and loved their kids tremendously. The more we got to know the scarier they got. We cut off visitation, per DFCS, about 6 months after the kids came home. It seemed to be a scare tactic to force them to drop the appeal. We discovered so many things in the following year and a half. When we finalized their adoption we knew we couldn't let the kids see them. They didn't want to. We did develop a warm relationship with their Aunt and Uncle. They spent the night at our home, attended the adoption ceremony, and spent the entire day with us showing the kids they didn't lose their family. It was incredible then and has continued to be a wonderful relationship. The kids have begun, this year, to take turns spending the weekend with them. They supervise a visit to their Gparents during that weekend, too. The kids decide how much contact they have with the extended family. We do not push them to talk to them on the phone and allow them to call as they wish to. It is supervised with the Gparents, somewhat. I fully trust the Aunt and Uncle and most of the time, don't even know when they are done. The kids have mixed feelings about their parents. Most days they are frightened to think of ever seeing them, others they dream of things being normal. I will take them to see them in prison when they become an adult, if they wish. If their mother does plead guilty, I will maintain communication with her privately. I will not reveal where we are for their protection.

Kiera. I am sure her mother sees this coming. We have done a bit of work on the Agreement and it allows us to open or close it as is necessary for Kiera. We hope that one day it will be open and healthy like Emma's. I will not take any chances with Kiera's safety. It took YEARS to develop Emma's and I imagine it will take many with Jess to build trust. I feel having it in writing this time will make it so much easier for all of us. Hopefully, we will be able to make it work.

The point is, all of our adoptions are as open as the situation allows. Each child is in control of how open their personal relationships are. We vote before we extend any invitation. If any child is against the particular family member coming, we don't invite. For all visits outside our home, they always have the option to do something fun w/o us. There is no pressure in either direction. My son and Cyr refuse to talk on the phone to their Gparents. It is never a problem. They are not expected to give an excuse. I tell the family member that child is not available.

Anymore questions?


Kath said...

Hey Tudu :)

Thank you so much for all your wonderful explanations, and I have nothing but respect for you and the way you try and make sure the adoptions work for everyone, including the birth family!

You asked if anyone had a question, and I was just wondering after reading your last post what a GAC score is? Please don't feel you have to answer if you don't want to, but I thought I'd ask.

Thanks Tudu!

Tudu said...

Sure no problem. The GAC is the General Adaptive Composite score. It scores their overall adaptive skills. Communication, Functional Academics, and Self-Direction skill areas comprise the Conceptual domain. Social and Leisure skill scores combine to make the Social domain. Self-Care, Home or School Living, Community Use, Health and Safety, and Work comprise the Practical domain.

Patches' was a 61 and is in the .5%. She is 95.5% below her peers. Michael's was 65 and he is in the 1% range. Ruthie's is 75 and in the 5% range.

Kath said...

Thank you Tudu!

Abby said...

I *knew* I should have read all of the new posts before I commented on anything! Sorry about that and thanks for explaining the GAC. =)

Jenn said...

No questions - just wanted to say I am deeply, deeply impressed at your commitment to your children and to their extended family. I have no doubt your kids are in the best possible place.