Thursday, November 30, 2017

Dear Sugar: Your Burning Adoption Questions on Open Adoption, Racism, Preparing A Sibling, and Ethics

Dear Sugar:

This is the very last day of National Adoption Month, and today I'm addressing some of questions left for me from our Facebook community.  

Q:  What are the pros and cons of open adoption?

As you know, we have four open adoptions, but they aren't created (or maintained) equally.  There are so many factors in determining if open adoption is right for you and your family. I encourage you to read about the following:  open adoption is beautifully broken, open adoption is intimidating, open adoption requires vulnerability.   So to answer your question, there isn't a hard-and-fast "pros and cons" list so much as there are complexities to consider.   I talk a lot about open adoption in my new book, as well. 

Q:  How do you talk to your kids about all the things going on in America today:  protest, police brutality, racial injustice?   It all seems so BIG and complex!  

It is BIG and complex!  I talk to my kids at an age-and-stage (maturity) appropriate level.  We own many, many books on some of the topics you mentioned above.  I'm a big believer in using books to begin and continue conversations.  I'm also really honest with my kids about history and current events, though we carefully monitor the media our children are exposed to.  I think one important response to what's going on in America is to use it as a reminder to ourselves to BUILD OUR CHILDREN UP.   Look for every opportunity to surround them with people who racially match them, to point out the incredible things Black people have done and are doing, to fill your home with representation (books, toys, music, art) from the child's earliest years, have a mentor for your child, and affirm that your child is MAGICAL and incredible and yes, their Blackness is a gift.  I post resources ALL the time on my Facebook page!  

Q:  We already have biological children (ages 3 and 5) and are adopting.  How do we prepare our children for the adoption process and for the addition of a new sibling?

I dedicated an entire chapter to this in my first book, because I think it's really important!  I offer five simple suggestions on preparing your younger children for a sibling here.  

As far as the actual adoption process, I recommend taking it day-by-day.  Outlining an entire process from start to finish for young children is just too much!  I mean, think how overwhelming it is for us as adults, let alone young children. For example, say the social worker is going to do a home visit. The day before, ask your kids to help you tidy up the house. Tell them that an important person who is going to help your family adopt a baby is coming to visit tomorrow.  Let them know the person's name and the things that will go on during the visit.   Just remember, don't go overboard. Remember what I told you in my new book?  That $45 apple pie organic soy candle isn't going to impress your social worker. Keep it simple and just be yourselves.  And don't freak out if your kid has a tantrum or says something silly while the social worker is there.  Anyone who has been around children knows they aren't perfect. They want YOU, the real you, and not perfection.  

My other tidbit of advice: don't lose site of the relationship you have with your current children.  I know adoption is big and overwhelming and sometimes all-consuming, but you need to remember that your job is to be a mom NOW, not save up all the "good stuff" for later.  

Q:  We want to adopt, but everything I read in most adoption groups is overwhelmingly negative toward adoption.  Are we making a big mistake by choosing to adopt?

Well, obviously I don't think choosing to adopt is a mistake or a problem.  But what I do take issue with is UNETHICAL adoption practices and UNEDUCATED hopeful parents.  This is a lethal combination:  lack of ethics + lack of education = problematic adoptions.  And who is impacted most by problematic adoptions?  The adoptee.   I am so passionate about ethics and education, that most of my new book is dedicated to discussing the details of these.  How can you pursue an ethical adoption?  What does an ethical adoption really mean?  How do you choose an ethical adoption professional to guide you on your journey?  How do you get educated as a hopeful parent?  What are the best adoption resources?  

This is a BIG topic, which is why I cannot address it in a mere paragraph.  But I urge you to commit to picking up the book and embarking on a journey that will completely change your world and make the adoption decision so much more clear.  

Thank you for your questions submitted on Facebook!  Let's chat about your latest questions today.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated and published upon approval. Your thoughts and questions are also welcome via e-mail at whitebrownsugar AT hotmail DOT com.