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Conflicting feelings about ethics

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

My partner and I are pursuing domestic open infant adoption through an agency in town. We had our mandatory 2-day training this weekend and I'm having some feelings that I would really love help sorting out.

 

My whole experience is colored by the fact that my mom placed a child in a closed adoption in the 60s, who she has tried (unsucessfully) to find. I always knew about this experience, but my family has a very deep history of denial and "everything's fine"-ing and minimizing. She has been very minimizing/neutral in telling me about her experience - basically that it was "just fine" and that's all she wants to say on it.

 

I had SO SO SO many feelings come up at the training and it's hard to separate out what's what. For example, the way our agency works, both us and the expectant moms get to decide general preferences. When an Emom has decided to move forward with an adoption plan, every waiting family that meets her basic preferences gets her profile (general info, exposures, medical/mental health history etc) and we then say if we want her to look at our family book. She then gets all the books from families that said yes and picks one family to meet.

 

NONE of the info from our homestudy, or from the agency, or any party other than ourselves, is shared with the Emom. All she sees is this glossy 15 page photo book that can basically say whatever we want (not *really*, but you know, it's highly editorialized/subjective). This feels like a weird power dynamic. And akin to expecting someone to buy a house after seeing the flyer and maybe doing a walk-through but not ever seeing the inspection report. The other agency we were considering gives eparents EXTENSIVE information, and I think I just assumed that all agencies do that.

 

Am I overthinking? Projecting?

post #2 of 11

Can you just use the other agency?

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

We decided against that agency for other reasons. But I am sure that every agency is going to have something that I don't 100% love, right?

post #4 of 11

I completely understand where youa re coming from, and unfortunately I think most agencies do work this way.  I remember when we were matched with our dd's birthmom, I felt it was supremely unfair that we know all the intimate details of her most difficult struggles in life, and all she knows about us is what we choose to show her in this pretty little book we create. Of course we were honest in our book, but the imbalance felt off to me.

 

I think the best you can do is to be as honest as you can in your profile book and match meeting, and then as time goes on in your open adoption relationship hopefully things even out more.

 

post #5 of 11
Hello Milletpuff! Nice to see you again. We are just starting to look into adoption too and often talk of many ethical issues around it. I see your point for sure, it doesn't seem fair at all. Did the agency share any of the home visit reports from a social worker?
I am noticing that between the two agencies we are looking at that one is more involved than the other. Surely this happens on an agency basis. Good luck to you and yours!
post #6 of 11

A recent post at Rage Against The Minivan said this:

 

Quote:

In theory, an adoption agency cam help to assure than an adoption is ethical. In reality, every adoptive parent needs to research and dig to make sure their own adoption is handled in an ethical manner.

link: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2011/04/why-does-adoption-cost-so-much-and-why.html

post #7 of 11

Our agency only provides what you're describing -- nothing in the home study, etc. However, if you get to meet the expectant family before the baby is born/to help each party make a final decision, you can certainly feel free to ask if they want to know anything else or disclose to them whatever details you feel they should have that they may otherwise not get from the agency. We did not get to meet the birth family before our son came home b/c it was a different situation, but we met when he was still a baby and we told them everything they wanted to know about us. Unfortunately, they had a lot of things that were inconsistently reported to the agency and to us, and were not really willing to get into full disclosure about some of the health issues in the family. It's too bad, b/c we wouldn't have judged them/changed our minds at all, but would have liked to know details, like if the mental illness they kept referring to was due to all the drug and alcohol problems or if they were just associated. (One family member was "depressed" but also an alcoholic -- which came first? Same with another who had a seizure disorder that isn't epilepsy but may be triggered by their meth addiction. It went on and on.... I'd just like to know if I really need to watch DS for signs of health issues like that, or if they are all due to/caused by the drugs and therefore pretty much avoidable.)


 

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Marsupial-mom, that quote is extremely helpful, thank you so much!! Thank you everyone for not making me feel totally nuts. The first people I talked about it with were my partner + two very close friends who are also adopting and went to the training with us, and they are all I think wrapping their own minds around their own isseus surrounding adoption, so they weren't really the best people to talk to about it.


Sesa how "real" did your conversations get with your daughter's birth mom in the match meetings? Did you talk about any intense or personal issues on your side, or was it more about lighter stuff?

 

Hi Max!! :) I know that every agency really does things differently. I liked this agency's approach better. I guess just not 100%! I'm sorry that your baby is still looking for you...

 

Swd I will almost certainly meet the birth mom before the birth, but our agency does have the occasional call from a baby already born. Those make me nervous, from an ethical standpoint as well, and I really am hoping for a very open adoption with someone who also wants that - just seems like a baby-born situation is likely to be like that, but it could happen.

post #9 of 11

We have always been thrilled with the ethical ways our agency handles things.  The focus is the emom, and either her choice to place or to parent.  If she wants to parent, they help her get whatever services she qualifies for (state assistance, for example).  Our social worker really got to know us over the course of the process, and we feel that she tried to match us up with emoms she thought would be the happiest with us.  Our profile book was totally honest, even the parts about no religion and the fact that we homeschool, which were things we were afraid would turn women off.  We met with the birthmother of our son several times before placement and were honest when she asked questions.  Whether or not the book was a complete picture by itself, I feel that the combo of that, our social workers discussions with the birthmother about us, and our own conversations helped her feel like she knew the real us.


 

post #10 of 11
lamama- I like what you said about being totally honest in your profile book. When we get to that point I would like to also add those sorts of philosophies as well. It really does seem the fair thing to do.

milletpuff-
We have our first meeting this Saturday and next week a phone meeting with another agency. This initial process is about asking ourselves those sorts of questions about agency involvement. It's an exciting yet nervous place to be and we really look forward to pursuing adoption. DP is an adoptee and there were some serious misinformation given to the adoptive parents. Times have really changed and I hope we can find an honest open adoption.
post #11 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamamax3 View Post

We have always been thrilled with the ethical ways our agency handles things.  The focus is the emom, and either her choice to place or to parent.  If she wants to parent, they help her get whatever services she qualifies for (state assistance, for example).  Our social worker really got to know us over the course of the process, and we feel that she tried to match us up with emoms she thought would be the happiest with us.  Our profile book was totally honest, even the parts about no religion and the fact that we homeschool, which were things we were afraid would turn women off.  We met with the birthmother of our son several times before placement and were honest when she asked questions.  Whether or not the book was a complete picture by itself, I feel that the combo of that, our social workers discussions with the birthmother about us, and our own conversations helped her feel like she knew the real us.


 


 

I think this part is really important when talking about ethics.  We have some friends that are in the process of a domestic adoption.  Originally they were going with a really large national agency, but then they learned that if mom chooses not to place she pretty much gets the rug pulled out from under her and is on her own.  :(  So sad.  I think it pushes moms to place even if that's not what they really want to do.

 

Good luck on your search.  The agency picking part is tough!

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