Open Adoption Roundtable #34: Sharing Others’ Stories

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. We’re now at Open Adoption Roundtable #34.

How do you handle such questions [nosy and/or difficult questions about your child’s birth family] when they are asked of you? How would you want the other parties in your open adoption to handle those questions when they are about you?

I handle questions about S differently than I handle questions about Laine.

When Jackson was born, I didn’t really think about how some of the stories that I told others might affect him. I wanted to be open because I felt that adoption wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. I was proud of S for placing – it was the Right Thing to Do. Also, S was a very open person. So, I answered questions honestly. I kept back a few things, but mostly told the whole story. Later, when S started making unfortunate choices, choices that had real consequences, I had to ask for help in dealing with them for our family. Finally, S’s choices – well, at this point, one choice she continues to make – often make me angry. It’s hard not to express that sometimes.

Looking back, I really do think that I over-shared. I don’t share everything on the Internet, at least, but I do share with friends, though not with acquaintances. At this point, I try to strike a balance between being honest and keeping some of S’s information private.

When it comes to Laine, I learned a lot from how I handled things when Jackson was born. Also, Laine is a far more private person, and I don’t think she’d appreciate me sharing all that much information about her. I think more about how the information will affect Cassie in the future.

As for how they answer questions about me, I don’t particularly care. I mean, it’s none of my business. As long as they’re not spreading outright lies, they can answer however they wish.

Racilous at Adoption in the City said that she had never asked her son’s parents why they had adopted because she didn’t think it was any of her business. S did ask why we were adopting, and I’m actually glad she did. I think it’s an important question. Ultimately, the answer was that we wanted to be parents. Practically speaking, I told her that because of my medical condition (CRPS), it was a bad idea to bear children, although I might be able to do so. ANLC asked her why she was placing, and I have that answer written down. Laine never asked, and I’m not sure she knows. She’s told us why she placed.

There’s a lot about Jackson’s birthfather that I haven’t shared, although, somewhat ironically, what I haven’t shared is the reason why we don’t know anything about him. I haven’t shared anything about Cassie’s birthfather yet, and I plan a post about that at some point. I believe I’ll be far more discreet than I was when Jackson was born, when I told everyone precisely what I thought of K.

The question that I hate the most is “Why did S place Jackson but not her other kids?” Of course, they don’t use the word “place.” Mostly it’s “give up” although sometimes it’s “let go of” and neither are terms I appreciate. That’s the question that’s the hardest to answer. I tend to leave it at, “She just did” or “Because she made a very selfless decision for Jackson.”

I thought my answer to this prompt was going to be short. Apparently, I had more to say than I realized.

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