Tuesday, June 19, 2012


After a couple of recent posts and comments, and a few things on other people's blogs (and, to be fair, not on blogs but on scary message boards), I was interested to read these two posts:

Bumping into birth mum  

Gearing up for Father's Day

These present almost entirely opposing views of birth family contact - both families adopted their child from foster care, in both cases their child was removed against the birth parents' wishes, at around the same age, though neither have gone into detail about the issues that led to the removal (and I don't blame them, I won't be sharing that kind of detail here).  Thorn and her partner are both female, so their daughter has no dad in the house, but I am pretty sure if it had been their daughter's birth mother they had bumped into in similar circumstances the reaction would have been the same (i.e. it's not because he's the birth father and they don't have a father on the scene at all).

In both cases their child spent some time in foster care before the adoptive placement (so although it's much more common in the US, Thorn wasn't a foster carer immediately after birth family removal and therefore with ongoing contact with birth parents as part of that placement). Neither family has current direct contact with either birth parent, but it's really interesting (and you can read the followup on Thorn's blog) what the reaction in each case has been to an actual or potential chance encounter.

And yes, I do "know" (as in, speak to on the internet) US adopters from foster care who cut off all contact, or who are even more negative than Stix about contact (and please also see Emily's thoughtful comment on the previous post* on just this topic), but I just thought this was interesting, as the posts were about such similar things.

From our end, we've just printed out what may be our last monthly set of contact photos (I'm not too sure, we are not being monitored any more due to the issues with NLA and their SW, but we may be due another one) to send to Nella, but we still haven't any word whether the other SW has made any contact with Baby Spouse's BF.  The slight medical scare we had turned out to be nothing in particular, at least, nothing that needs treatment or that could be due to Nella's choices, just something to watch. 

We've just put up a photo tree in Baby Spouse's room (this kind of thing, just something we were given a while ago), and it has photos of us, him, his grandparents that he sees (i.e. my parents**), his grandmother that he met but doesn't see (Mr Spouse's mother) and Nella. Mr Spouse asked "what do we tell people when they ask who she is?" (thinking especially of the nosy cleaner) and I said "they are family members".  We will also probably put up nieces, godparents***, aunt, uncle, but haven't got them all printed out yet.

OK, that post is DEFINITELY long enough, and I'd love to hear from my original two bloggers and have them tell me what I've said wrong!

*Sorry about the use of the term "foster carer", by the way, it doesn't actually bother me, even at the moment Baby Spouse is technically in "private foster care" though we have a rather unusual status legally and we aren't sure if in the UK we are legally carers, guardians, or parents. But I don't think it would bother me even if we were doing foster care, I'm happy to say we are parentING a child even if we aren't their parents.

**Or not. Mother in strop, unable to accept any boundaries, and also in delusional state about everything I say, apparently, as she's just sent me a long email saying "you hate me because you won't let me do X, Y, Z" (no, we won't let her, some we can't, some we just don't want her to) but also "and you refuse to do A, B, C" which, erm, we haven't?

***Baptism/finalisation party booked for September!

Monday, June 11, 2012


...I don't understand the issues that UK adopters (i.e.those whose children were in foster care) have around contact with birth family, because Baby Spouse was not in his birth home after birth. And if you have frequent contact you are just a long term foster carer. I would love to be an advocate for open adoption but I think my views are just being dismissed.  Interestingly I think that a lot of US adopters from foster care have a lot more contact than we imagine we'll have.

We are Baby Spouse's parents. We cannot wish Nella and his birth father away, but we are not foster carers. We are permanent. We are here - she is not.  We want him to recognise her, to know who she is, to see where his features come from (though some of them will come from us, in the same way that couples who have been married for a long time come to look like each other). We don't want him to grow up with a fantasy that she is an heiress who would give him a fabulous life. We don't want him to suddenly decide to seek her out, without support, in his teens.

Nella is not a lovely college student who would have been perfectly capable of parenting, but decided not to. As you will have gathered, there were multiple issues and reasons she would not have been able to parent Baby Spouse. This is pretty common among the situations we were shown while we were waiting. We still think they should have contact and we resent the implication this makes us less his parents.

In other news, I had a GP visit with Baby Spouse today for a long-running but minor issue. I was a little puzzled by the nurse-practitioner's body language when starting to talk about what the issue might be. I understood a little more when she told me that the issue might be something originating before or at birth, and which I would have been vastly less likely to cause than someone in the situation that Nella was in.

You can see why I might not totally be on board with the idea that Baby Spouse has been unaffected by the circumstances surrounding his origins.

(It looks like I managed to press Publish after only writing a bit of this. Sorry)