OAB Roundtable #10: Speaking of birthdays…

This OAB Roundtable (I skipped the last one due to, um, extenuating circumstances) is hosted by Thanksgivingmom. It’s about birthdays.

This is a topic that is very timely for me (Thanksgivingmom) right now, but is something that all of us in open adoption deal with at least once during the year: birthdays.

I know that birthdays can be an extremely emotional time, for everyone connected to adoption, not just those of us in open adoptions. So what is it that we do, as part of our open adoptions, during the “birthday season”?

Our experiences on this are so diverse, that I don’t want to limit your responses to one specific question. BUT, since some of us (like me!) sometimes like the specific questions, here are a few that have been rattling around in my brain as my daughter’s third birthday approaches:

* What do you/your family do to integrate open adoption and birthday celebrations?
* What do you wish you would see in future birthday celebrations re: involvement with your child’s adoptive parents/birth parents?
* Do you have an open adoption agreement that requires contact on/around birthdays?
* How does that agreement affect you? Do you wish it were different? Do you wish that you did have an agreement that requires such contact?
* If you do not have contact around birthdays, do you do something private to honor birthdays?
* If you’re an adoptee, how were birthdays celebrated in your family with regards to open adoption?
* How do you wish they would have been celebrated?
* And anything else you can think of!

Here goes.

Birthdays have been a difficult time for all of us, both at our home and (I understand) School Girl’s first family’s home. We’ve had some contact with M during that time (some of our visits were scheduled near her birthday, but not on her actual birthday) but more with M’s parents C & J (just C now).

Ever since School Girl has been able to use the phone for more than a handy teething toy, we’ve had phone calls from C & J. Well, mostly C. I think M has called one or two years, but didn’t this year. Winter in Colorado has affected our plans to visit on School Girl’s actual birthday; the weather is unpredictable, and we’ve had to reschedule visits before that happen around her birthday.

Our open adoption agreement didn’t mention birthdays specifically; just the number of times we were going to have visits during the first year, and how often we would send letters and pictures. Sometimes I wish it had. More often now that School Girl is older, I will admit.

As far as parties go, check the post below. We weren’t present at School Girl’s birth, but we do have pictures in her lifebook that show the time she was in the hospital with her family. Every so often she and I look at them, but I try not to limit that to birthdays.

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2 Responses to OAB Roundtable #10: Speaking of birthdays…

  1. Emma says:

    I’ve just listened to a very interesting piece on BBC Radio 4’s ‘All in the Mind’ programme. Here’s a link :

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qxx9

    If you can’t stream it, there’s a downloadable podcast “Health Matters”, [there’s a link on the page] which contains this programme.

    • spyderkl says:

      I lucked out and was able to use the iRadio; I’ve had a whole lot less luck with iPlayer, but iRadio usually works. Thanks so much for the link!

      I agree with what the psychologists and social workers had to say. Contact really should be in the best interests of the child, and not if it’s too difficult for either set of parents. However, foster adoptions are a whole other story. There are instances where contact beyond pictures and letters isn’t a good idea, to put it delicately. A parent, with whatever modifier you need to use, needs to think about their child’s safety first.

      Our adoption was a little different in that School Girl was placed with us as a 6-week-old infant. Right now my frustration isn’t with too much contact, but there’s nothing I can do about that.

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