Okay, so we went to a birth mother panel sponsored by my adoption agency. Quite a lot of people there, but we were the only biracial couple there. And the best looking I might add. It felt terribly awkward to sit in a circle of strangers cautiously eyeing each other. Wow, I wonder what their story is? Are they infertile like us?
There were 2 birth mothers there and they shared their experiences. They were both eloquent, heartfelt and touching. I learned a lot.
One of the things I learned was there needs to be open and clear communication between both parties. It's predicated on one couple's desire for a child and the other's desire for a continued relationship with that child. As much I as deeply want to parent a child, I can't get past the fact that a birth mother can change her mind. That happened to another blogger out there and though she understood, she was devastated.
Boundaries need to be established and respected on both sides. Both of the girls didn't necessarily set out wanting to have a relationship with the child, but they changed their perspective within the first few months after giving birth. They said that they were both deeply affected by hormones after birth and weren't thinking very clearly and weren't really sure of their emotions. Good to know about that now.
Another thing I learned was that as an adoptive parent, I should not just make assumptions about how she feels. That in trying to protect her feelings, I might inadvertently make things worse for her. For example, one girl gave birth and was promptly discharged within hours and no acknowledgement that she even gave birth. No flowers, no cards, no kind words from anyone including her family, adoptive parents or hospital staff. That's too cold.
One of the young women actually had sleepovers with her little girl who looked in the mirror and noticed that she shared the same nose. And had spent a week with her. Not sure I could do that. Given that the adoptive parents hadn't told the little girl she was adopted yet, I found it admirable that the birth mother trusted them implicitly that the adoptive parents would deal with that.
We can name the child, though. Wasn't sure about that. One of the things I used to day dream about was the name of my future child. I had one picked out for a girl. But if I get a girl, I'm not sure I will use it. Can you understand why? Somehow it doesn't seem fair.
One of the young women mentioned that she was looking for financially stable adoptive parents. I felt a little like a fraud, knowing full well that we'd most likely have to borrow or cash in our RRSPs (so we don't go further into debt) to complete the process. Now I understand why people hold fundraisers. We're not celebrities, we're just regular people trying to have a regular life. We have bills. We go to Starbucks (but not every day). We have a dog who sleeps in a bed better than most of the world has. We use coupons and if it's not on sale, we don't get it. If we had conceived on our own, we'd probably own our little overpriced townhouse furnished by Ikea. We'd be living on one salary and anything I earn would go to the baby's education fund.
But we didn't, IVF didn't work for us the way it worked for others. Somewhere in the universe, that makes perfect sense. Having said that, I determine to make as much money as I possibly can. I've already booked a gig for this month on a TV show, now I just need it to keep it rolling. We are also considering looking at Ontario for a prospective birth mother.
There will be an adoptive parent panel next week that we'll be attending. I'll let you know what happens.