Chelan Gill remembers always knowing she was adopted. It would have been difficult for her parents to hide it because, although Chelan’s mother is South Asian like her, her father is Caucasian. Adopted at birth, Chelan was raised within western culture and influences – even having the last name of Fletcher. However, at 26, she married a South Asian man who taught her about Indian culture and customs, and at 27, Chelan decided to search out information about her birth parents and medical history before having children.
My partner and I adopted a child two years ago. We are Caucasian and our daughter is African-American. I want to adopt again so she has a sibling. My partner refuses. What should I do?
This is a conversation that should have taken place before you adopted a child. However, there are a couple of things you could do. First, try to clearly understand why your partner doesn’t want to add to your family. Once you discover the reason, there may be room for compromise.
For decades, once internationally adopted children left their home country the chances of them reconnecting with family and other people connected to their early days was small. Now, thanks to the speed and global reach of the internet, those reconnections may be far easier to find and maintain.
March 3, 2003—the day our two year wait ended and our daughter, Le Xiao Meng, was placed in our arms. We were overwhelmed with joy.
Out of the blue, about a month ago, I received a call from my youngest daughter’s birth parents. They were in town on a sudden, unplanned trip from the North to the Lower Mainland, and they wanted us to get together. I immediately invited them to dinner the next night. The minute I put the phone down, I panicked. We were at the end stage of a kitchen renovation; my stove had just been hooked up, but I didn’t know if it worked yet. The house was covered in drywall dust.
Karen Madeiros, Executive Director of AFABC, is the adoptive mother of two children from the US. She has personally experienced and been witness to the development of openness in adoption. In this article, which is an updated version of a previous article, she reflects on what she has learned about openness.
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.
“I’m not your real Mom. You are adopted.” Those may not have been the exact words, but at age two-and-a-half that’s what I remember hearing. From that moment on, my life changed. Although my mother’s intentions were good, she could not have known how this would impact me.
At the same time as making this comment, she also told me that I would accompany my parents the next morning to bring home a new sister. I was told that we would take a ferry and drive through tunnels to get her- a curious place to get a baby sister, I thought!
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.