Saturday, December 26, 2015

Delivery day!

Anne is in labor! Baby girl should be here tonight!


  1. Separation and lifetime trauma day. I am so sad for Anne and her baby.

    1. I was tempted to just delete this comment, but decided to reply, instead.

      First of all, there are MANY circumstances about this situation that I have chosen not to share publicly. Some of those circumstances come together to create an overall current life picture that would 99.9% guarantee that Baby Girl would be put into foster care (not be allowed to go home with Anne) if an adoption plan was not in place. So, even without adoption in the picture, birth would still equal separation, and likely in a much more distressing way than her at least getting to feel a sense of control over the type of home and family the baby will go to. Second, I absolutely recognize that many Adoptions can be a source of long - lasting trauma for both the biological parents and the children. I have never denied or minimized that. However, there is no research to indicate that this is the experience of the majority of adoptees.

      I have tried to be sensitive and respectful to all members of the adoption triad in all of my writings throughout this blog, and have no issue with constructive dialogue. Minimal snarkiness would be great, though!

    2. Genuine sadness towards the separation of a mother and her child is hardly snark -- unless you choose to see it that way.

      And just because you haven't seen the research, that doesn't mean the majority of adoptees don't experience life-long trauma, suffer abuse in greater numbers than biological children, attempt suicide at higher rates than non-adoptees, and find themselves over-represented in mental health/addiction facilities.

      And let's be clear, it's far more than an "adoption triad" -- there are siblings, grand-parents, and other extended family members who are also lost when adoption severs biological bonds.

      I truly hope Anne will receive the appropriate counseling and support she'll need now and for all the years to come.

      But, yes, congratulations on your new baby.


  2. Excited for you and your family, and as a woman looking into adopting, I have really appreciated and learned from your story. Looking forward to many more chapters! All the best!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad that you have enjoyed reading and that it has been helpful!

  3. Deborah Engisch PlattDecember 29, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    Adoption of an infant or child isn't something to be reduced to a title of "When the Stork Gets Confused".
    It's meant to fulfill the dream of having a family, by an individual or a couple who either can't reproduce, or who think they are somehow saving a child. Never mind the fact that it begins with the major trauma of loss, grief & separation for the birth/natural mother & her son or daughter.

    The child who is handed over to strangers has their name changed & is given a brand new identity & role to fill. They've essentially been sold to the highest bidder, because after all adoption agencies, the church, doctors & lawyers rake in billions of dollars each year for every child that's adopted. Even the individual states make money off of separating mothers from their children.

    Are you even aware how much difficulty adopted children have with bonding & trust issues, (problems that last throughout the school years & adulthood) substance abuse plus higher rates of depression & suicide?

    Do you know what it's like to wonder where you came from, what your religious & nationality background actually is, who you really look like, or if you have biological siblings?

    There is a great deal of shock & trauma involved in separation, from the birth mother, that can result in forms of PTSD, known as C-PTSD or Developmental Trauma.

    While infants are at a pre-verbal state, they certainly record memories of separation - which can feel life threatening.

    Remember this trauma, or significant event occurs before the child can think logically and can only be processed emotionally.

    The memory of loss is therefore recorded as an emotion of grief and will be experienced as grief many years later - as if it just happened.

    Through no fault of their own many adoptive parents may intensify the sense of loss, isolation & attachment anxiety. Its because they don’t understand the process at work in adoptees.
    Thought I'd also include a few of the studies on the long term affects of adoption - since you don't seem think there is trauma involved for the majority of adoptees: (remember they do grow up to become adults & many are speaking out as to their personal experiences these days) Also take time out to read books on the subject, such as Primal Wound.

    There is a process that is at work created by the premature maternal separation.
    Infants only a few days old can record long term memories. “Infants do not think but they do process emotions and long term memories are stored as affective schemas” (Geansbauer, 2002).

    An infant separated from its first mother will record a memory of that event. Memories of this nature are called preverbal memory representations and they have a unique quality that must be understood by adoptive parents.

    “Infant memories are recalled in adulthood the same way they were recorded at the time they occurred. It is difficult possibly impossible for children to map newly acquired verbal skills on to existing preverbal memory representations” (Richardson, R., & Hayne, H. 2007).

    An older adoptee who recalls an emotional memory will experience it the same way it was felt as an infant. Adoptees can have troubling memories that they cannot identify in words.

    This means that they cannot understand what they are feeling and without a vocabulary they cannot even ask for help. This leads to a cognitive /emotional disconnection.
    “Children fail to translate their preverbal memories into language”(Simcock, Hayne, 2002).

    1. It would seem that you haven't gone through and actually read much of this blog, but there actually is a meaning behind the title that doesn't trivialize the process of adoption. There is a post explaining that. Furthermore, the idea that the baby was "sold to the highest bidder" isn't entirely accurate if you go through an ethical agency. Yes, there are some that operate on sliding scales based on the income of the PAPs. Our agency had a set fee schedule, and the cost of this adoption situation would have been the same whether we were millionaires or made $30k per year. Yes, I am aware about the difficulty that SOME adoptees have with bonding and trust-- I have summarized some of this research elsewhere on this blog. I am not denying that many adoptees do have long-term effects from the trauma of adoption. My argument was that there is no research that would document that this is the experience of the MAJORITY of them. That isn't to dismiss those who do experience that reality, I am simply pointing out that it is not a universal effect. If you go through and read some of the studies I have summarized, I have discussed that there are a few problems with overgeneralizing the findings relating mental health difficulties and adoption. Was the child in foster care before being adopted? Were they adopted as a newborn? Was it an international adoption? Were the adoptive parents honest with the child about the adoption situation and the information they have about the biological parents? These are all things that can impact post-adoption trauma and need to be properly controlled for if doing good empirical research. Many studies don't. I would also like to point out that for every adoptee who has read Primal Wound (yes, I'm very familiar with this book) and felt like it adequately described their experience, there is another one who feels like it does not accurately reflect their emotions or experience. It is not a book that has universal acceptance and support among adoptees. Again, that is not to minimize those who HAVE had that experience, I am just saying that it is not the ONLY experience.

    2. Sorry, I realized that I ignored one of your questions:
      Do you know what it's like to wonder where you came from, what your religious & nationality background actually is, who you really look like, or if you have biological siblings?

      No, I don't know what that is like. I have never claimed to possess a lived experience that gives me personal insight into the struggles of having the identity of "adopted." That being said, this baby will not have to wonder about those things. We are doing an open adoption-- she will have the opportunity to meet her half sister, her biological parents, biological grandparents, and whatever other family she may desire to meet. We have spent months getting to know her biological family (yes, family, not just parents), and we will not only be able to answer all of these questions for her, but will also know how to help her get into contact with them when she is ready to do so. Does this erase all of the hurt that may come from knowing that her parents made the decision to place her for adoption? No, of course not. But it is somewhat of a start.

      But let me ask you this as a follow-up. When a woman makes an evaluation of her life and comes to the conclusion "I could not give this child a good life, a healthy life, a happy life" and she has no family members who are any better of an option (based on both her own evaluation and their own admission), what should she do? Have an abortion? Keep the baby and raise him or her in a life filled with dysfunction, abuse, addiction, and illness? Relinquish her to foster care with the hope that one day she will turn her life around enough to fight for that child, but if not, knowing that the child will bounce from home to home (often multiple times each year) and would seriously risk never knowing what it is like to have a permanent family? Anne made this decision without being coerced, with the agreement and SUPPORT (again, not coercement) of the very limited family that she actually has. She chose us to be the parents that she and her boyfriend were not capable of being. Every adult involved in this situation is at peace with the decision. Yes, it is important to consider the general picture of adoption as it looks today, but it is not entirely fair to just assume that our family, her family, and this child are now somehow doomed to a life of trauma.

  4. Becoming a ward of the state or bounced in and out of foster homes until said child ages out of the system would definitely be a nontraumatic, nonthreatening alternative for adoption.

    Are you people insane?

    Furthermore, as a healthcare worker: ain't nobody making "millions" off of adoption.

  5. Calling adoptees "insane" is a typical response for people who simply don't want to acknowledge that their rosy view of adoption could be anything but reality. There's your snark, Jess.

    But to answer your question: no, we're not insane. We're well-informed.

    And you're right -- no one is making millions off adoption. It's actually a multi-BILLION dollar industry.

    Read ... listen ... learn.

  6. I never claimed to have a rosy view of adoption. I do, however, have a very excellent understanding of hard data from credible, government sources which reports the number of children aging out of the foster system is increasing, and among those aged out children, the rates of suicide, unplanned pregnancy, incarceration, homelessness, and unemployment is truly staggering. In addition, there were 4 child deaths in my county alone this year due to an overwhelmed social services department that couldn't mobilize and revoke the parental/familial custody before the child was murdered. So, yeah. The alternative to adoption is having many children be raised by a state which is neither funded sufficiently nor staffed to prepare them for the real life they encounter upon turning 18. If the state can even get to them in time to remove them from an unsafe environment.

    Is any of the above worse than realizing your mother gave you up for adoption? My anecdotal evidence says no, but that's clearly something that will vary with each child and is largly dependent on their age, the nature of their removal from their biofamily, etc. And I'm well aware that anecdotal evidence is, well, not good evidence.

    As far as my snark, consider it completely genuine for anyone who is against adoption but offers up no alternatives to what the cumbersome, Ill-equipped, largely ineffective state can offer. As far as your listed source, a blog which states it began as a personal soapbox and then became a forum probably doesn't present the most unbiased opinion (because anecdotes), either. I prefer peer reviewed work from credible journals, but everyone has their biases.

  7. I agree that the blog is biased. However, the data (directly from are not.

    Given the number of adoptees who attempt suicide, self-medicate via addictive substances, and require intensive mental health services, I'd say it's no better than being "in the system." And I can say that as someone who's actually lived the life, and shared experiences with many, many others who have likewise.

    1. Yes, it is biased. We experience our reality based on our own experience. I am experiencing the reality of being an adoptive parent based on the reality of having studied, worked with, and seen the most horrific child abuse imaginable. I have seen what the foster system can do to kids. I have seen what living in an immensely dysfunctional home can do to kids. I have seen what being raised by addicts can do to kids. And, I have seen, firsthand, how adoption can be a wonderful thing. I have friends who were adopted. Multiple. All of them are adults, and none of them would describe their adoption as traumatic, nor have any of them attempted suicide, gone through addiction, or had any major mental health diagnosis.
      So, my reality that is shaping my view of adoption is very different than those who are coming from a reality of being hurt by adoption in the past. Those who were adopted and have had difficulties that they trace back to that or those who have relinquished children for adoption and later came to regret that decision are operating from a very different standpoint than I am. We are all biased. Just as my lack of experience with the hurtful side of adoption is biasing me, your hurt from adoption is biasing you. And that isn't an insult or a dismissal of the validity of your perspective, it is just stating that we are coming from very different places in how we view this issue.

      The goal of this blog wasn't to be some kind of adoption warrior advocating that adoption is the best option for everyone all the time. It isn't. In our situation, in Anne's situation, it was. The goal of this blog also was not to spell out what needs to happen in adoption reform or discuss how the whole system needs to be overhauled. There are many problems with the system, and I will be the first person to admit that, and yes, it does need to be reformed. But those are not conversations that I ever intended this to be the place for. The goal of this is to recount our process in a way to help other potential adoptive parents who are also planning to go through the process and are trying to wade through all of the information.

  8. Jess, I am just beginning to look into the adoption process, because of circumstances out of our hands. I just want to say that your blog has given me so much peace, I originally found it because I was looking for information on the home study process. THANK YOU! My heart aches at the comments by others, but in the end they are just their opinions. Hold your head up high and keep helping those that need the encouragement.
    * I will not respond back to negative comments, you can not bring me down. you have your views and I have mine, I will leave it at that!

    1. I am so glad that this has been a help to you! Best of luck as you begin your adoption journey.