Open Adoption, Media and Agendas

Grrrrr.  There I was working quite happily while Fox naps next to me when I hear on our local NPR station that there is an upcoming local piece on open adoption, entitled even “Open Adoption – Bringing Two Families Together”. I’m thrilled as I wait for the piece to come on. A local story about open adoption from the first mother’s perspective – wahoo! I consider texting Big Mama to see if she can get to a radio to hear as well. (We talk and laugh about open adoption and the negotiating this wild relationship a fair bit. We also talk about gardening, science, photography, community, parenting, education and Fox, and our daughters too.) I’m just about to text her with a link to the online piece when we hit the half way mark and I stop. This isn’t a story about open adoption at all. This is a bit about one woman’s decision and the immense love she feels for her son (good), but it is just as much about a Christian agency’s anti-abortion agenda (bad).

Below is the rant to the journalist who ran the piece that I was prompted to write. Go watch the video and tell me what you think?
Open Adoption brings together Two Families
Was this a lost opportunity to talk about open adoption? What do you think their agenda really was? Did this educate the public about open adoption at all?

As an adoptive mother who is part of a fully open adoption I was excited to hear a local story talking about open adoption.

Imagine my disappointment when the resultant story was in fact not primarily about open adoption, what it looks like and the importance of connection for the child at the center being connected to their first family, or how families meld and grow and negotiate this fragile and less traditional relationship, but over 50% about a local Christian adoption agency whose focus appears to be on advising just two options and does not consider 25% of the US population as potential adoptive parents.

I was interested to hear Mary’s perspective on her decision, to hear her voice, but the post has little to do with the nature of open adoption. What I wanted to hear about in a piece titled Open Adoption Brings Together Two Families is what open adoption is, why it was important to Mary, what it looks like, how Trevor and her interact, what is the relationship like with the adoptive family. How they have negotiated this open adoption. What advice would she give to other families embarking on open adoption.

All I could garner about open adoption from this piece is that Mary and Trevor had at least yearly visits and she receives photographs. What about communication in between? What about Mary’s older children how do they feel about it? Today, most parents who place their children for adoption are in their late 20s and typically are already parenting children. This would have been an interesting avenue. The fact that Mary chose the adoptive parents via the match letter doesn’t indicate openness. Did they have opportunity to meet before or after? I want to hear from Trevor. What does he think? How has the agency supported Trevor, Mary, the children she is parenting and the adoptive family in negotiating the complex world of open adoption before and after placement and ongoing?

While I appreciated hearing the voice of a first mother (adoptive parents often command larger voices in media and society) about why she chose to place her child for adoption, I am disappointed by the lack of discussion about open adoption in a piece entitled Open Adoption Brings Together Two Families. The fact that immediately following today’s airing of the post the announcer suggested that if you would like to hear more from the ‘other side’ there was a piece about Planned Parenthood of Arizona’s position on abortion and on the wide array of health services (beyond abortion) for women it provides confirmed my suspicion that this piece was actually about anti- abortion sentiments and not about open adoption. Mary has an important story to tell about open adoption. I want to hear it. Please tell that story.

You can share your thoughts with the author of the story here.

1 Comment

Filed under Adoption, open adoption, religion, the business of adoption

One response to “Open Adoption, Media and Agendas

  1. Ryan Schwab

    Its really too bad that women who contact that agency only get information about a limited set of their options. You are right, the headline is misleading, especially considering the piece that followed.

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