In 2002, I had the opportunity to spend an incredible week with a wonderful friend, also an adoptive mother,visiting the country of our daughter’s birth.
Like new biological parents, some adoptive parents can become blue or even experience some depression once a baby or child comes home. This can occur for several reasons. It's nothing to be ashamed about, but you do need to recognize it and get some help.
I remember walking down the streets of East Vancouver pushing my newborn baby’s stroller and sobbing. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, trying to care for a baby—something I knew precious little about—and from loneliness. I felt that I had thrown away my season ticket to freedom, and I longed to go back to my previous life.
In a recent interview with a social worker with the Ministry for Children and Family Development, it was stated that the majority of children in care of the Ministry are there because of parental drug and alcohol use. Hair, urine, and meconium testing is becoming more and more influential in child custody cases and when the Ministry is determining whether children should be returned or removed from the home.
Birth mothers come from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds, are varying ages and come with a diversity of expectations and needs concerning adoption. Whatever their backgrounds or their expectations, one thing remains common to all of them: they love their children deeply and want to choose the best family for their child. They never forget their children. It is very helpful for adoptive parents, and for their families and friends, to understand the birth mother, the issues she is facing and the difficult decisions she must make.
Spending a few hours with David Kirk, author of the books Shared Fate, Adoptive Kinship, and Exploring Adoptive Family Life, is a remarkable experience. He has lived through so much in his life and has much to say about politics, religion, sociology, and, more personally, what it means to be Jewish, a father, and an adoptive parent. He is one of those people who can make meaningful connections between events and experience, effortlessly.
Though they are rare, and most adoptions go through seamlessly, revocations by birth parents happen.
In BC, birth parents have 30 days from the time their child is born to change their minds and decide to parent their child.
Usually those 30 days pass by, albeit slowly, and the parents can breathe a sigh of relief. For others, it’s not quite so simple.
At one point we actually referred to it as 90 months of failure. But it was through the pain of years of infertility that we finally opened up to the option of adoption. It always seemed like having to settle for second best-runner up-the silver medal. If only we knew then what we know now, we would have started the adoption process so much earlier.