Might as well have asked a plumber about wiring the house…

08 Jun

LavernderLuz and other parents in open adoption were talking on twitter about the Ask the Experts segment on The Today Show that was weighing in on closed vs open adoption so I went and found the video (starts at 2:15) and listened to the “experts”…

***(tried hard to do a word for word but watch the video to ensure my transcription is correct because it was hard to capture from the video)

The Question: “When it comes to adoption do you find open vs closed  – is there a benefit of one way over another.”

Starr Jones…said this…

*** I can tell you that I have been considering adopting and I know that I would want a closed adoption.  I do not want to have the continuous interaction with the birth parents.

Dr. Nancy Syderman…said this…

*** My eldest is adopted the biologic mother does not know my identity.  I have preferred it that way over 26 years.  My daughter has sought out her birth mother.  I’ve told her she absolutely has my blessing but I warned her it is pandoras box – you never know what that’s going to be.

Donny Deutsch…said this…

*** As a man who might adopt someday even as a single sounds crazy and I wouldn’t want to have to manage that.  I would want it closed.  As a parent you want to keep – control that’s not the right word – keep structure in a kids life as much as possible and that kind of opens up the doors too much…

The host of the segment then talked about how all three of them think closed adoption is best – and then because the last “expert” noted her daughter was/had (?) searched they all chimed in about searching as adults, with Donny saying something about 21 as the earliest age (forgetting you can go to war and die for your country at 18, but apparently you would be too young to meet your mother), then Starr saying something about giving her child all the documents as an adult, and then Dr. Syderman noted with her daughter “she waited for her to come to me” which is very typical of parents from that era – wait for the child to have to ask about adoption because you know the parents are so comfortable with that topic and best not for the older adult in the room to open the conversation…

Oh where to begin with this…

1.  Two people who have “thought” about adopting and one who adopted back in the 80’s in a closed adoption (pretty much the only option) were asked this question.  No parent in an open adoption, no professional actively involved in researching, studying, or working in adoption, no adult adoptee…just three that really should have recused themselves, who chose instead to provide their uneducated answers as the “experts”…yet no expert qualifications were stated on the show that I heard…

2.  Adoption is supposed to be in the best interests of the child…finding a home for the child – not finding a child for the home.  Not one comment was centered on what is best for the child who has been adopted.  Not one comment on how adoption impacts the child, self esteem, identity issues, feelings of rejection, abandonment, anxiety issues…how openness can assist in all these areas.

3.  All I heard from them was what would be easiest and best for ME…although at the end they did all agree that it was the adult adoptees right to search, but of course two included conditions on that as well.

What on earth is the questioner asking such an important life altering, deeply important question to TV celebrities?  Is that really the best source for information?

Do people actually take this advice seriously?  Just seems to incredible wrong on so many levels.

EDIT 9 June 12: Out of the mouths of experts, out of the mouths of babes from “Write Mind Open Heart” says it better than I did…



Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Adoption


Tags: , , ,

22 responses to “Might as well have asked a plumber about wiring the house…

  1. Susan Perry

    June 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    “Not one comment was centered on what is best for the child who has been adopted.” That about says it all, doesn’t it? The treatment of adoption issues is so shallow, inaccurate and misleading that it boggles the mind. The media just isn’t interested in doing anything in depth on adoption issues.


  2. TAO

    June 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Susan – I don’t watch day time TV because it is just so much of the same inane drivel but I was stunned by this level of shallowness about a very serious issue.


  3. momsomniac

    June 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    “no adult adoptee”

    That about sums it up, huh?

    I wonder how such folks would interpret my husband’s take?(He’s an adult adoptee for anyone who reads my comment and doesn’t know me here). He is opposed to open adoption, but he’s also opposed to closed adoption. Open adoption has benefits, indeed. His concern is the involved birth parent who slowly (or abrubtly) drifts away. To him that = losing that parent twice. His solution to that would not be to CLOSE adoptions though.

    His solution creates the need to revisit the decision with our adopted child over his childhood years (because what a preschooler wants and needs is not the same as what a young teen wants and needs). It’s tough. It’s not perfect. But it beats many other approaches. Most of all, it’s only about “us” in that it’s about how Dad felt about having no choice.

    The black hole of medical history, at the very least, should be addressed. Both our bio-kids have medical needs that the missing half of their family history might shed light on. I think too many adoptive parents forget that the GRANDCHILDREN can continue to be affected by the silence.


    • TAO

      June 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      Mom – I do get your husband’s concern on the open closing – that would be losing the parent twice – I think either set of parents could be the cause. Not having a say as in having closed only does suck. There is no easy answer that is for sure but at least with open you have a chance of forming some memories to start with and it isn’t a big reveal – try to create a relationship that by all rights should have started decades before…it’s just a mess…

      I do like that with open you have a chance to know medical history. Funny how people forget that diseases can skip generations – don’t they take science classes? Has he ever thought of searching? Can’t remember if I asked that before.


      • momsomniac

        June 8, 2012 at 10:18 pm

        I’ve asked him about searching. He says he’s curious about bio-siblings but that’s about all he’ll say.
        I try not to push. I can’t even imagine the nest of emotions, but I he has talked about the grief and sense of loss.

        We’re both hyper-aware of the ways C is different from the rest of us (the things that go beyond ethnic differences, like being picky about the texture of bananas). It’s enlightening to my husband and a good reminder of how I must *attempt* to give C some sense of being sympatico, even when it’s not there naturally. And every day, I am glad for his brothers, because that connection seems simpler.

        At least with C, if he ever takes exception with how we handled open vs. closed (or that we chose to adopt him from S. Korea)…it’s a REAL conversation he and his Dad can have. Or at the very least, I can explain what his Dad required based on his own feelings about his own adoption.

        It’s tough, you know? After hearing what my husband has to say, I do have mixed feelings about open adoption, but it’s clear that CLOSED is the wrong way to go. And yeh, about the biology. Seriously…sitting in the doctors office trying to figure out your bio-child’s issue, going over family history, and just not having half of it…it’s not good.


  4. TAO

    June 8, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Mom – If he is ever ready – he will have you to keep him even. I was like him until I got sick – now I wish I had researched what options were available through my state (I just searched registries) but I was clueless back then. Now it is too late to meet my mother. Can’t do anything about it now though – it is what it is.

    Medical issues are multi-generational – keys to the puzzle are all around a biological family – I was so lucky growing up shadowing dad and having him ask questions and then apply the answers to guide him in diagnosing – it was amazing – how he could put this and that and the other thing together and come up with the answer.

    As to your son – S Korea is much more open for searching now than it was before – no guarantee of success but enough families have proven that the shame to the family isn’t the primary concern. Plus with how you thought it through and made choices like you did – highly doubtful any anger could come you way…honest…it will be okay…


  5. momsomniac

    June 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    thank you


  6. realdaughter

    June 9, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Momsomniac- your son’s experiences and feelings about adoption are very different than your husband’s. No 2 adoptees process it the same. And, his adoptee voice now takes a back seat to his adopter voice. It is quite rare for an adoptee to tell their ap’s their real wishes about reunion.


    • momsomniac

      June 9, 2012 at 3:03 am

      Dad’ feelings about wanting power over parental interaction drove our decision about adoption processes. Not his feelings about reunion. At that point, there was no C. He hadn’t been born yet when we were making those decsiions.

      We know his feelings are his own. At this point, he’s three years old, so his choices all revolve around trains. When we can truly discuss it, it will be an evolving process, and I am hopeful for honest converstions, especially between father and son. I promise, no one will be telling him what to feel and we’ll be letting him know we’ll support him, no matter what. He has asked to visit his foster mother and we will try to make that happen as soon as we can. Foster mother is potentially willing.

      And for what it’s worth, I don’t really believe my husband doesn’t want reunion. But I am not going to tell him what he feels, you know?


      • momsomniac

        June 9, 2012 at 3:06 am

        ps – I think my previous nest of pronouns may have beenn confusing realdaughter. The fist “he” in my reply to TAO was husband, not middle son.


  7. shadowtheadopteeshadowtheadoptee

    June 9, 2012 at 12:47 am

    I don’t even know what to say anymore.


    • momsomniac

      June 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      I think you misunderstand realdaughter. I really do. I must not be expressing myself clearly…we do not discount C’s feelings or interpret them Dad’s. Not even close.

      When a family starts the adoption process and one of the parent is an adoptee, should their feelings not to be taken into account regarding how to proceed? Isn’t the whole idea of listening to adult adoptees (over listening to APs) about trying to make a better future for current adoptees? Every two people will have different feelings and experiences about eveything – and definitely about things as complex as adoption – but like any marginalized group, adoptees will tend to have specific shared experiences. And prospective APs will not know or respect what those are if we do not listen.

      I am not clear on how caring about my husband’s voice BEFORE my middle child was born, BEFORE we even started the process is the same as him putting his stuff on his child (any more than any parent does before a child is born anyway and certainly with more care aforethought than most APs, including me, could give). My husband takes great care not to put his “stuff” on C. Future discussions would not be about Dad but about both C and Dad – how their experiences are similar AND how they are different.

      Before C existed, when we were deciding HOW to proceed, my husband’s voice matttered the most within my family. To disregard him at that point would have been like him telling me “well, other women don’t feel as you do, so I am going to diregard YOUR feelings about being a woman.” How could C’s feelings have driven the process before C was born?

      I feel like I am missing something here or failing to express something clearly. I wasn’t disagreeing with the original post – not at all. I comment here quite a bit and I was wondering what such a panel would make of my husband’s feelings, as he is an adult AP, and his feelings are quite complex and seemingly contradictory on the surface.

      TAO – What is DIA?
      Shadow – If I have unintentionally been offensive, I apologize. I’d like to understand where I went awry, if you are willing.


      • TAO

        June 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm

        Mom – don’t stress…really.

        Shadow was replying to the post…

        DIA is Domestic Infant Adoption….

        Go play with your little ones…


  8. momsomniac

    June 9, 2012 at 3:07 am

    first, not fist – sigh – sitting in the dark trying to get middle and baby sons to sleep


  9. realdaughter

    June 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    “Power over parental interaction”…”Or at the very least, I can explain what his Dad required based on his own feelings about his own adoption.” ….And THAT right there says it all. It was about Dad and what was best for HIM. He was not adopting himself, he was adopting a stranger’s child.

    Like I said, no 2 adoptees process anything the same way, and an ap who is an adoptee needs to be VERY careful about not putting their own “stuff” onto their child, which he already did BEFORE he even adopted.


    • TAO

      June 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Linda – he wouldn’t do DIA…


    • momsomniac

      June 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      ok – I somehow replied in the wrong spot, but please look up there. My questions are sincere. And right now I *am* diregarding C’s feelings trying to write – he’s pretty upset that i’m not letting him watch Thomas all day – so I need to go.


  10. momsomniac

    June 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Thanks TAO. Agree with Shadow about the post. 100%. It’s not just selfish; it’s willfully stupid. When one bceomes a parent, one really needs to look first to the child.

    remainder deleted by request…


  11. momsomniac

    June 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    TAO – Once this conversation winds down, would you be willing to delete my last comment? It was not appropriate for me to share some of what I did about my husband without his permission.

    Sometimes, once I grow attached to internet friends, I forget how wide open and public this all is. Thanks. And sorry for the tangents.

    As always, I appreciate all you and shadow share here.


  12. Adoption Truths

    June 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Hello, I am currently writing a documentary about Adoption and I want to get as many opinions as possible by anyone who has ever encountered Adoption. If you could please get in touch either publicly or anonymously via my website: then that would be fantastic.


  13. Lori Lavender Luz

    June 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I am so glad you addressed this, too.


  14. Jamie Kay Nagy

    June 19, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Thank you for trumpeting the baby/child’s needs. The baby/child cannot express his or her wants and needs while the adults in the matter can. As an adoptee, my Biggest wish would be to integrate my bio family with my adoptive family as early as possible. 😦 Sadly, this is rarely done. But it is done, these days, and as an adoptee/adoptive mom now, I hope to progress this cause. Thanks for recognizing the baby may actually have an opinion that trumps the adults in charge.



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