You asked and we answered. We receive emails on a regular basis from people touched by adoption, asking us to write about different adoption-related topics.
Recently the staff of Adoption STAR tackled these six questions.
- “Educating high school kids about the benefits of adoption vs. keeping the child at such a young age. As your child grows, how would you handle this topic?” – Adoption STAR family advocate, Lisa Geiger, wrote about a conversation she had with her 16-year-old daughter about teenage pregnancy and adoption.
- “How do you separate the joy of your new arrival while dealing with the grief on the birth parents side? Particularly in very open adoptions where a close relationship has been established.” – Adoption STAR CEO and Founder, Michele Fried, tackled this topic with a blog post about dealing with these emotions, including a personal anecdote.
- “How to address adoption with grandparents – (as a birth parent as well as an adoptive parent)” – Michele also wrote a blog post with advice on how to speak to and educate your parents (potential grandparents) about adoption.
- “How do you handle a situation when one of your children has an open adoption and the other has a closed?” – Adoption STAR Intake Specialist, Zack Fried, wrote a blog post about how he and his brothers and sisters deal with this exact situation.
- “How do you address adoption with other siblings?” – Adoption STAR Ohio Program Director, Angela Laman, write a blog post giving advice on how to speak to your other children, as a birth parent, about adoption.
- “Attending several meetings on behalf of parents whom are adopting, they have the biggest concerns of having the portfolio they create be one that is inviting.” – Adoption STAR E-Marketing Coordinator, Alex Rubin, spoke with two birth mother’s about what they were attracted to when they were going through profile books.
We are always looking for more topics to blog about, if you have any questions you would like answered on the blog, please send your questions to Alex Rubin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Geiger, Adoption STAR Family Advocate and Adoption Counselor
When I told my children that I would be working for an adoption agency, almost immediately the questions came like rapid fire. My younger children asked questions like “Where do the babies come from?” “Do you get to pick them out?” and “Mom, are we going to adopt a baby?” Then my older children asked more involved questions like “How does adoption work?” “Why would a family choose to adopt?” and “Why would someone ever consider placing their child for adoption in the first place?”
The most startling question came from my 16-year-old daughter, “Mom, what would you do if I ever became pregnant?” Well, after telling her that she wasn’t going to become pregnant until she finished college, had a career and was happily married, the reality set in.
I have seen young women, my daughter’s age; walk bravely through the doors of the agency 8 months pregnant. In order to answer her question, I had the intention of taking my mom hat off and putting my social worker hat on, but I found myself wearing both. We talked about what it was like to have a child and the responsibilities that came along with that. Yes, we did talk about how cute babies are and the overwhelming love a mother feels for her child, but we also talked about the restless nights and the times when everything in my life had to bet set aside for the sake of my children.
We talked about how it was nice for me to be able to stay at home when she and her siblings were little and how unexpected changes in my life led me to return to school and take on the challenges of a working single-mom.
I asked my daughter what her dreams were. If she saw herself graduating from college, having a career, and most importantly to her, having the ability to come and go as she pleases and buy her own clothes and make-up?! I asked her to think about how these dreams may be altered if she were responsible for a child 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. I asked her what she would want for a child and what she thought would be in the best interest of that child?
We talked about how there are so many loving families out there that are ready now to provide all the love and care for a baby. My daughter nodded her head and I saw that she seemed satisfied to end our discussion.
So, I guess when it comes right down to it, I didn’t really answer my daughter’s question “mom, what would you do….” I gave her the tools to make a decision for herself, just like a social worker would have!
I have already assumed that this question will be asked of me again as my other daughters are rapidly approaching the teen years. The Adoption STAR website has a page devoted to unplanned pregnancy help and advice. This is a resource I plan to direct my girls to if they want to learn more about why women choose adoption and actual stories from young birth mothers.
If you are looking for advice on how to speak to your children about adoption and/or pregnancy, contact our birth parent specialist Sue Shaw at email@example.com.
Here is a very interesting story by the AP from Yahoo! News , along with an ABC video from the Denverpost.com, about high school student Gabby Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a 17 year-old senior at a Washington High School. She recently conducted a 6-month “social experiment” where she faked her pregnancy, only telling her boyfriend, mother, school principal and few others, in order to see the reactions from the town and her classmates.
In the ABC video, Rodriguez talks about the fact that she received a lot of hurtful feedback, and is now looking to show the results of her study to city officials, so that something can be done to help pregnant-teenagers.
This is obviously a very unorthodox idea, but you need to give Rodriguez a lot of credit for her bravery and fortitude to follow through with her plan for six months, accepting the stares and comments that a pregnant high school teenager is sure to get.
What is your opinion of this story? Did Rodriguez do the right thing by leading everyone to believe she was pregnant for six months? How would you have reacted if this situation had happened while you were in high school, or even just in you’re town today?
After the initial shock of finding out Rodriguez wasn’t pregnant, I’d like to believe that I would have respected her commitment to her study, but I’m sure there are a lot of people who feel lied to or deceived. I am also wondering if while being “pregnant” she explored what options a teen in her position may consider? Was adoption something that she explored? Is it information she will share?
It’s hard to say if what Rodriguez did is right or wrong, but I am certain she learned a great deal. I hope she releases the findings of her study publicly so everyone can learn from her experiences.