Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Follow-up to Who's the Real Parents

Great post over at OSoloMama on the "real" parent issue discussed here last week and yielding nearly 90 comments.

Adoptive parents want to be recognized as real parents but they suspect they might not be.

That is the crux of it. No one gets that crazy when they’re 100% sure of something. Assuredness is a soft blanket; doubt is a bed of nails.

Solo describes her growth in dealing with these painfully difficult questions and comments. Well worth the read!

It made me think that in general “we” all find it easier somehow to compartmentalize things into neat little black and white boxes. People are all either good or bad. Liberal or conservative. Gay or straight. Things are healthy or unhealthy. Shades of gray, nuances, overlapping realities (this is true, but so is that) are far more difficult and require more explanation and understanding. But that’s how life is. It’s messy and its fuzzy and fluid, not so clearly defined as we’d somehow like it to be.

That's what I like so very much about the concept of dual parenting. It doesn't dichotomize or stratify or create a competition. It recognizes exactly what O Solo says:

It’s a shame the way real has been hijacked by both pro- and anti-adoption camps with an axe to grind. The word has no meaning when used in a contest of parenthood. Both of sets of parents are real; neither set is imaginary. Of course, amended birth certificates do not mirror that truth in any authentic way. They actually say that what is not real is, and that not defensible.


maryanne said...

I don't think Osolo was thinking of dual parenting or co=parenting, but she can correct me if I am wrong:-)Every adoptee has two mothers and two fathers, and all are important to who the adoptee is and becomes. All are "real" in their own different ways. No need for "either/or in how the adoptee thinks about any of her parents.

However, only the adoptive parents do the "parenting" or raising of the child, and need to have legal sole custody in most cases. Parents who are capable and willing to participate in co-parenting or shared parenting should be helped to raise their own child, not to surrender in the first place.

In cases of really necessary adoptions, the only kind there should be, the natural parents would not be able or willing to be parents to that child, and parenting is handed over to adoptive parents. Yes, the child should have access to information and to relatives where that is safe, as already exists in open adoption, but that is not shared parenting. Shared parenting implies that both adoptive parents and natural parents have equal parental rights during the child's minority, and are equally capable of responsible caring for the child. That is often not the case when adoption really is the better option given the circumstances.

I doubt that legal shared parenting would work in many cases. I do not see divorce law as a good model for adoption law. Saying that both adoptive and natural parents are real does not mean that they should have equal legal rights over a minor child.

AdoptAuthor said...

The Quebec proposal as I had posted uses the term dul parenting nd would be best to change that langausge becaus eit will hit abrick wall for just the reaosns you havestated. It should simply be called :simple adopton. Adoption that doe snot eradicate the TRUTH of one's past or one's true, natural heritage, lineage, ancestry and kinship, but rther respects and ACCEPTSl a spart of who and what each and every human being is. We are not blank slates created by burture. We are enhanced 9hopefully) and some case diminished by our envronment, but our basic building blockd are in our genes.

I am reminded of the old poem that used to circulate called "Legacy" that speaks of the dual mother roles an adopted person experiences ands asking: Which are you a product of? Both my darling both.

Michelle said...

I said real mother for years, only because it made my mother a real person. If I had a real mother then it confirmed my existence - I too came from a real person just like everyone else, even if I couldn't know her. My adoptive parents are real people, but they aren't the ones responsible for my conception and birth and who I am because of the generations of mothers and fathers before me. For me that's what's real about 'real parents.'

AdoptAuthor said...

Thanks, Michelle. Well said.

Indeed each of us has a right to use language in
that is comfortable and 'right" for us.

It is sad that much adoption langauage - like adoption itself - is divisive and creates competitiveness and jalousies - and many of the terms we use or prefer to be used are reactions to our insecurties, our fears, or having been marginalized or evaporated. And yes, that too, is our right.

Osolomama said...

Mirah, thanks for the shoutout. Writing that post really took me back to my early days as an a-mom. Like to think that I've come, if not a long way, then some distance. It's interesting to hear adoptees' take on the word "real" too.

AdoptAuthor said...

The uninformed public, not schooled in proper PC will almost always say "real" or "natural"..it just comes NATURALLY!

WE had to acquiesce to call ourselves birthmothers so as not to make aps feel unnatural...and that is unnatural IMO! We are now getting back to reality, IMO. No longer allowing fears and insecurities or social stigma guide us and our policies and language into secrets and pretense...the land of make believe which adoption has been for the past 40 years.

The whole process has grown and evolved, thank goodness. Sealed records was a very bad social experiment.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget