I wanted to address some of the comments on the last couple of posts and give some of my own reflections.
Having the other kids there:
We thought this was strange too, but Amy did tell us that she had been living with her sister and that her niece and nephew had been there through every step of her pregnancy. I think they wanted to give the kids a chance to say good-bye to the baby too. Personally, I think maybe it would have been more appropriate if they had only been there a short time, but who knows what any of us would have done in that situation. This was the family’s first experience with an adoption, so obviously they had nothing to gauge against. I’m sure it would be difficult to figure out what’s best when an experience is so unknown to you.
How Christian and I handled the situation:
I appreciate it that people think we handled it well. We did our best. We were both thankful that this was not our first adoption and that we have been able to educate ourselves about adoption issues over the past few years. We kept saying how overwhelming it all was, but that we knew it would have been SO much more overwhelming if this had been our first experience. I don’t know that we would have handled it as well a few years ago.
We have a completely different perspective on birth moms now than we did before we adopted Zoe. I am ashamed to say that one of the reasons we were first drawn to international adoption is that we would not have to “worry” about birth family. Once we had Zoe home, however, and we learned about corruption in Vietnam adoption and found out that the falsification of paperwork was thought to be widespread, we felt incredibly guilty for that line of thinking. It wasn’t about us and our fears anymore. It was about the loss felt by a birth mom who might not have consented to Zoe’s adoption, or who may have been coerced to place her for adoption. It was about Zoe’s right to her history and the fact that she has been robbed of it. She deserves to know SOMETHING (What’s her family medical history? Is she a member of one of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities? Does she have siblings? etc). We have tried and failed to search for Zoe’s birth family, but we certainly hope to try again some day. Anyway, having had that experience, we wanted to be certain that it really was in Colin’s best interest, and in his birth family’s best interest, that he was with us.
That said, we were not prepared for an “open” adoption, where the birth family would be a part of our everyday lives. Colin’s adoption is semi-open, meaning that we have contact through our attorney. We will send letters and updates on a pre-determined schedule until Colin is 5. I have also exchanged e-mails with Amy’s sister (we set up a generic e-mail address just for that purpose), and we are trying to figure out how much contact is appropriate. We just don’t know the answer to that right now.
Our impressions of Amy and the birth family:
We have seen Amy’s file, so we know that she (and her mom and sister) have had their share of troubles. There was definitely no one who was in a good position to care for Colin. I’m not going to post it all here, but I would be willing to share some of it privately with those who are interested, especially with those who are looking for more information on domestic adoption. My e-mail address is myminivanrocks (at) yahoo (dot) com.
Still, even with some of the stuff we’ve seen on paper, they all seemed like genuinely good people. They were nice, sweet, friendly, caring, and seemed to have Colin’s best interests at heart.
THE END (or just the beginning, depending on how you look at it)