adoption again

So I've continued on reading adoption related blogs and forums. Maybe a mistake, I don't know. What I can't help but notice is the lack of adoptees like me. People who really are okay with it, who understand and accept what happened. So I had to wonder, is it because people who are generally fine with their lot in life don't write or read blogs about adoption? Or, if they do, maybe they don't feel the need to comment? I know it can be frightening to contribute an opposing view on a strong blog.

I decided to talk about it all with my older sibling who was also adopted. It was a great conversation and made me feel much clearer about all of the new information I've been digesting lately. I'm also happy to say older sibling has agreed to write a guest post which I'll feel honoured to share with you. I think it should be of interest to those of us who think about adoption from time to time. Two kids from 2 different biological parents, adopted into the same family within 3 years of each other, different stages of "reunion".

Although I look forward to the post, it's definitely freaking me out that my blog will be read by someone who knows me and knows me well, but also someone who I love and respect and damn it, is a much better writer than I.


Spanking magical? I think not!!!

Found myself on a blog that extols the necessity to spank, something which I am opposed to. Will it scar a child forever in and of itself? Likely not. Will it set a tone and affect the parent child relationship in a negative way? You bet. The following is the commentary I made on the aforementioned blog. I thought it may have more of an impact here on my own blog than lost amongst the pro spanking, bible quoting, "God" said to do it, I wonder what I'm going to do when my child is a teen and too big for me to hit? type folks. So, for what it's worth, the following is what I wrote.

I was in line at a grocery checkout and the woman ahead of me reached for a magazine on the shelf. The young boy with her ducked down and cringed as her arm went by him. At the time my now twenty year old was just reaching toddler stage. It was at this moment I had confirmation that what I’d always believed was true. Hitting a child is wrong, no matter what the circumstances and that it was not something I would ever do to my son. That he would never have to cringe around me or fear that I would hurt him physically. I would be one person for sure that he could always feel safe with. People can argue that spanking is a way of “cultivating character, selflessness, obedience and self-control”, but there’s surely no way to argue that it sets an example of these qualities we so want to instill in our children.

The rest of this post is what I wrote in response to a woman who asks the questions, "So I ask again – how do you keep these negative emotions in check? how do you prevent from yelling at your child in anger? or being sarcastic (something I’m doing a lot more these days)? let alone swatting your child in anger…"

“K, you need to know I’m angry right now because you’re not listening. If you don’t stop what you’re doing right now I am going to take your favorite toy away for a whole day, and I won’t be changing my mind!”

“You know what son/daughter? I made a mistake. I said no too quickly and there’s really no reason why you can’t have another cookie. Sorry.”

“You know what? I think one cookie is enough for today because you’ve been eating lots of junk lately, and I won’t be changing my mind.”

“Wow. I can’t believe I just yelled like that. I’m really sorry. What you did was wrong but it doesn’t mean I should scream at you like that. Now, please just go to your room and I’ll tell when you can come out. What you did/are doing isn’t allowed.”

“If you continue to do that while we’re visiting you’re going to have to sit on my knee and not play with the other kids. Alright, you’re not doing as I asked so come on, you’re sitting on my knee for a bit.”

“We’re going to the grocery store and I’m sorry but you’re going to have to come with me. I know it’s boring and you get hot in your jacket but I’ll shop as quickly as possible. Please don’t ask me for anything because I am not buying any treats today. If you do start bugging me for stuff you won’t have any tv when we get home. Do you understand? Great, now let’s get this stinkin shopping done with sweetie, I love you and I know you can do this.”

All of these instances are obviously applied in an age appropriate manner. Remember though, young children understand plenty more than some people think. Very small children just have to be removed from the “Christmas tree” over and over to somewhere it’s an effort to crawl back from and they’ll tire of it. A firm “nooo” and removing them should be the practice. They’re babies and we took on the responsibility to watch and teach them when we decided to become parents. It’s tiresome but staying patient yet firm and consistent will pay off eventually.

If you are feeling especially grouchy one day for whatever reason, warn your child ahead of time. “Oh wow, I feel very grouchy today. I don’t know why and it’s got nothing to do with you but I just want to warn you I may have less patience than normal.”

And another thing, try and remember how YOU felt when you were a child. It’s the least we can do.


Are you going to get a divorce?

A friend was telling me how his daughter's friends at school talk about how they don't get to see their mom or dad because their parents are divorced. He then went on to say that a family member is in the process of splitting up with their partner and that his daughter has had plenty of questions about that, would they get to see their uncle anymore, etc.? I asked him if his daughter asks if he and his wife will ever get a divorce to which he replied oh yeah, she does quite a bit. He said they tell her that of course not, mommy and daddy love each other and that it won't be happening to them.

After my brother died, his 9 year old daughter asked me what would happen to them if their mom dies. Wham! See, my niece and her younger sister lost their dad suddenly and within two years were present when their grandpa, my dad, also died. Two significant deaths within 2 years of each other, so these kids know, shit happens. So I tell them, of course, that it will likely be a long time before their mom dies and they'll be all grown up but I added to that. I added that if something did happen (which it won't) I would help them. That I'd be there in a heartbeat and make sure they were okay and that I'd take care of them. They didn't need to worry. You could feel the relief from the backseat of the car...

I think protecting children from bad or sad things is important but when they're worried or afraid of something that's real, that they see all around them, we shouldn't be afraid to reassure them about what will happen if the "bogeyman" does rear his ugly face, and what our plan is to deal with him.

To my friend I say, tell your daughter you'll be together forever. Mom and dad will never get divorced. But add to that and reassure your children that if it did (though it won't) you'll both love her and see her and take care of her forever. I think you'll feel the relief.


Adoption options

What a can of worms I've opened, in my mind anyway. Of course I've delved further into the world of unwilling first mother blogdom. And they're pissed, rightfully so. To be coerced into giving your child to someone else to raise or to have your baby stolen from you is something I cannot imagine and will never profess to and I applaud their efforts to bring awareness to it. Any person who takes advantage of another in order to fulfill their own need to have a baby, or to gain financially by facilitating such an outrage is engaging in an act that is criminal. From information I can find  in the Adoption Act in my area of the world it is against the law:
 "Paying or accepting payment for an adoption
   A person shall not give or receive, offer to give or receive, or agree to give or receive any payment or reward, whether directly or indirectly,
(a) to procure or assist in procuring a child for the purposes of adoption in or outside of the province; or
(b) to place or arrange the placement of a child for the purposes of adoption in or outside of  the province."

Phew...that's a relief to me. I imagine the possibility of it happening here still exists and that likely it does. In every area of life there are people who don't think the law and ethics apply to them. Enough said.

Another piece of the Adoption Act that caught my attention is the fact that: 
"a judge shall not make an order for adoption of a child unless notice of the proposed adoption is given to the child's birth father."  This I like too because a man has the right to know that a child he's fathered exists and is being put up for adoption.

I've looked over the local licensed private adoption agency's website and had confirmed what I thought I already knew:  "Once the child is placed with his or her adoptive parents, you have 21 days in which to revoke consent. The possibility that you might change your mind is a risk that adoptive parents must accept when entering into a private adoption arrangement."  So for my area it would appear that adoption exists as I thought it did. It exists as a viable option to women or young girls who find themselves pregnant with babies they can not or do not want to raise themselves, and these females DO exist. It is my hope that they realize it before their child is no longer an infant and at an age when they're, sadly, less "desirable" to prospective adoptive parents. The following is taken from the Canada's Waiting Kids website: 
"There are more than 76,000 children in the care of child welfare organizations across Canada. More than 22,000 of these children have parents whose parental rights have been terminated by the courts. What this usually means is that these children have no permanent family and will live in foster care or small institutional placements until they are legally of age.

Imagine the possibilities if these biological mothers had been able to realize they were not in a position to properly care for the children they gave birth to. Or, if they'd had the support necessary to help them be in a position to look after these children. The reality is that when, for whatever reason, a mother can't look after her baby that adoption done properly is a viable option. 

I am aware that some of the children who end up lost in "the system" or are subjected to a life with abusive parents are adopted children. Adoptive parents aren't automatically perfect parents because they have the means to adopt. They get divorced, drunk, stoned. They are not immune to personality disorders, to the inability to break cycles of bad parenting. Adopted children need protection and rescuing too. This doesn't mean adoption isn't a viable option, when done properly.

If society as a whole would just get their act together and put our and everyone else's children ahead of ourselves the entire world would be a better place. I firmly believe it takes a village to raise a child and that people need to think more about what they're doing or not doing to children. That we need to hold each other accountable and keep our eye on each other's children. That we need to have an open mind to what others say and try to teach us. We need to listen to our children and provide them with a safe place to grow up. To remember what it feels like to be a kid. To do a better job than our parents did which in turn will help our children become better parents than we are. We need to admit when we're wrong, and learn from it. This sets an example for our children that it's okay to make a mistake and they'll feel safe in telling us they made one.

This post isn't as tidy as I like. It's a little all over the place but I think that's alright because this topic is very much all over the place. I do think though that it all comes back to doing our part in being the best parent we can be and that is achieved by putting in a lot more thought, a lot less ego, and sadly sometimes relinquishing the responsibility to another who is better equipped to do so.