Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who's the Boss?

I took the "Blog every day for adoption month" challenge last year, and it was actually not as hard as I thought. So this year I thought, I can do this, no problem.

But there is a problem. Today is November 3rd, and I already feel like I've run out of things to say. So I'm going to be a weasel and use some of my Formspring questions and answers to fill in the days. I'm not always feeling chatty when I answer questions, so I may expand my answers here on my blog as I feel it's appropriate. Today, for instance. I've added a bit and explained a bit more. Well, okay, a LOT more.

Here's the question for today:

Do Roo's parents do anything as parents that you don't agree with or that you wouldn't do as a parent?

Not that I'm aware of. But it's not as though I've got nanny-cams on them and see their every move. It's certainly possible. When I was meeting couples, and when I met with P and M, I asked questions about the aspects of parenting that were most important to me. For instance, I feel very strongly that spanking is wrong. So I asked about it. P and M are smart people. They've read and studied about child discipline and what children respond best to, which is NOT spanking.

But back to the question - do they do anything I disagree with as far as parenting? If they did, I'd live with it. Parenting is their job and their call, not mine. One of the classes I attended at the national FSA conference in July was about communicating with adoptive couples. Someone asked a question about what to do if you disagree with their parenting styles or philosophies, and the instructor addressed it. I thought her answer was sort of nice, but at the same time I think she failed to mention something important - once you place your child for adoption, you don't get to decide how they're raised. I think that some misinformed birth moms mistake openness for co-parenting. That is absolutely, 100% not the way things go. There's a difference between contact and custody. I gave up the right to a say in how Roo is raised when I signed my rights away. If I wasn't okay with that, I wouldn't have signed.

I wouldn't tell my brothers or sister how to raise their children, and these are people that I routinely talk smack about and tease. I'm certainly not about to tell P and M - my little Roo's parents! - how to raise their children. That would be quite an insult to their intelligence to assume that I know more about parenting - that I know what's best. What is best is for them to decide! I daresay that at this point in time, they know much better than I do how to be good parents. I trusted them enough to place my baby with them, so obviously I trust their judgment and I honestly think they are the best parents in the world to Roo and her sister.

The instructor of the aforementioned class gave examples of polite ways of suggesting certain parenting ideas, but I think that even that is a bit much. It is simply not my place. I don't have that kind of nerve, and I don't want it.

So, you might ask, is a birth mom out of luck? Well, yes. That's why it's so important for her to make sure she chooses the family with whom she feels the most comfortable. For example, if an expectant mother meets with a couple she loves but they vote Green Party and she knows it's going to bug her for the next twenty years, she might consider meeting with other couples. She needs to know what things are the most important to her in potential parents for her child - what things are deal-breakers, and what things she can live with.

I think I've used about four times as many words as I needed to answer that question. I think I'm done now.


Savannah said...

It is a BIG challenge to undertake. That is why last month some days I would talk about my favorite adoption books or songs etc. I also found websites that sold adoption apparel. I can't remember what else I did.

Marlene said...

I'm with you, Jill! Blog when it feels right, not when someone else says it's right! :)

Mostly Jessica said...

I love your answer! I think social workers are just too nice sometimes in that maybe they don't want to say, "Hey you're not co-parenting." People often disagree on the best parenting methods because there is no one way that works for every child and every family. We all just do the best we can with the tools we have.

Unknown said...

You are most correct and its not coparenting. No way would my biological mom agree on everything my parents did when they raised me,but I never insulted my adoptive family to her one time. My adoptive mom would be furious had she tried to give her parenting advice. I think that's why so many people worry about open adoption. They are worried it will become coparenting. If we adopt I want my child to see their birth families as brave people, not as their other parents.