Who Has a Rightful “Claim” on Our Kids: Insecurity in Adoption

Dawn Davenport


Insecurity of Adoptive Parents

Insecurity is the “elephant in the living room” for many new adoptive parents. This insecurity can complicate our relationship with our child’s foster parents and birth parents.

I receive lots of questions weekly, but this one really stuck with me.  I thought of her question as I typed emails during work and washed dishes after dinner.  I felt such a need to reach out to her to coach, teach, comfort, or in some way help.  The underlying concerns she expresses are the “elephant in the living room” for many newly adoptive parents.  With her permission I am answering in a blog post because I would love to get your input.  Creating a Family and this blog have become a community of folks who have had to work extra hard to create their families.  So, please share your insight and wisdom in the comments section.

That Niggling Fear in Adoption

“We’ve been home 6 months with our adopted son from S. Korea and feel completely blessed to have him as part of our family. We traveled to Korea to bring him home and therefore met his foster family. We were contacted by our agency after being home 4 months that the foster family was in the USA visiting and wanted for us to call them collect so that the foster family could hear our son’s voice. Our son was 14 months at the time.

To make a long story short, we decided not to call the foster family and made up a lie to our agency as to why we couldn’t return the call. The reason for not returning the call is due to fear that somehow our collect call would be traced and they would obtain our address and phone number. We also fear that if they had our address that some day it could be given to our son’s birth family or blood related relatives if the foster family ended up meeting them some day. Also, our son had very limited English words and he doesn’t respond when he’s given the phone to talk to someone like his “papa” because we’ve done it and he stays quiet.

Our agency has the option for adoptive parents to send letters to the foster families through them and they go directly to the agency in Korea and they in turn contact the foster family. Our son or us may decide to contact them through this method which feels safe. We think the foster family visited the Korea adoption agency when they returned and probably informed them how we didn’t return the collect phone call. I say this because shortly after this situation our US agency mailed us a photo of the foster family holding our son and the letter said the photo was sent to them from the Korea adoption agency. (This persistence from the foster family also made us nervous and not too happy that they feel some rights to our son.)

In addition, my husband and I are upset at the foster family for also having taken nude pictures of our son. The pictures are of the front part of his genitals (penis and testicles). She gave us tons of pictures and hiding in there were those too. We never disclosed this information to our adoption agency nor with our social worker for fear that they would side with the foster family. We never developed a trusting relationship with our social worker, it just never happened. (Taking completely nude pictures of children is a big NO, NO for us and we were stunned that this family felt they had a right to do this to a child that they were fostering and getting paid to take care of him.)

Our experience is/was not as rosy pink as the adoption agencies picture it to be. I know we’re not the only ones that have experienced some questionable behaviors coming from the foster family.  Please feel free to comment on our situation. I am overall confused, but I know my husband is not and he doesn’t want us to keep in contact with the foster family for the above reasons.”

Thank you for the thoughtful and honest question.  You are not alone in these feelings, and I appreciate you allowing me to share your question and my answer with others who are struggling with some of the same uncertainties.  I hope you’ll forgive me if I answer you in a round about sort of way.  Your question presents the specific issues you raise, but also some underlying issues common to adoptive parents, and I want to try to address both.

Getting Our Parenting Sea Legs

When you were contacted by your agency about the foster family wanting to hear your son’s voice, you were in the brand new stages of parenthood.  Four months is not a long time to get your parenting sea legs.  Most new parents have to grow into their role, even parents by birth, although few admit it.  I remember hating to get advice when my first child was a baby.  I so disliked the feeling that the advice-givers were the experts, and I was the rookie–especially since it was true.  But many adoptive parents also have the added burden of feeling entitled to the name Mommy or Daddy and claiming this particular child as their very own.  This wee bit of insecurity in our role as the “real” parents can leave us feeling threatened.

While you are 100% your son’s real honest-to-goodness parents and will be for life, he also has two other sets of parents—birth and foster.  This is both confusing and sometimes hard for us adoptive parents to accept.  Even if we accept it on the intellectual level, it’s another matter entirely to accept on the emotional level.

Who Has a Right to Claim our Adopted Kids

I sense an underlying concern in your question of the foster family’s attachment or “claim” on your son.  While I completely understand how that can be unsettling, especially during the time you are trying to establish this sense of attachment and claim yourself, I do want to gently suggest that they indeed are, and have every right to be, attached to your son, and they do have a claim to him.  That’s the nature of love.

It is this very love that they felt for him that has given him such a healthy start in life and laid the foundation that your love will build on.  Who would your son be if he wasn’t so thoroughly loved and claimed by his foster parents?  It is possible to foster a child just for the money without forming that sense of attachment, but it isn’t best for the child.  Your son and you are blessed that this family chose the harder route of falling in love even thought he wasn’t going to be theirs forever.

I am in awe of foster parents who allow themselves to attach and love their foster children.  (We’ve done a number of shows with foster parents (e.g.  Fostering and Adopting Children in Foster CareAdopting from Foster Care) and each one left me weak in the knees.  I also can’t recommend enough foster mom Kathy Harrison’s book Another Place at the Table.)  Love isn’t something that can be turned on and off.  They love him and will always love him.  Can you imagine how phenomenal it would make him feel later in life to know that he was so loved, and so lovable, that his foster family just wanted to hear his voice four months after he left?  It gives me goose bumps.

“Inappropriate” Depends on the Person

As to the pictures, I understand your hesitancy about pictures of naked children.  I think most of us are more sensitive now than ever before to pedophilia and the possibility of abuse. I haven’t seen the pictures, but if you think they rise to the level of pornography, you absolutely should contact your agency to protect future children.  However, I’m assuming from the wording of your question that these are more your standard issue baby pictures, albeit sans clothes.

Although I understand and respect your position on any form of nudity in pictures of children, not everyone feels the same, especially with pictures that are intended solely for the family album.   Childhood nudity is viewed differently throughout the world.  In high school I was a foreign student in Germany and was surprised that most German kids stripped down pool side to put on their bathing suits.  On a family vacation to Italy a few years ago, kids as old as nine freely swam in their birthday suits at the beaches.

Even in the US, differences exist.  I would venture to say that most family albums have at least a few bare tushies and even a full monty or two of a baby or toddler.  There are very few pictures of me as a baby (second child syndrome—{sniff} {sob}), but one shows me lying spread eagle on my back in a shallow baby bath.

With my own kids, I never went out of my way to capture them nude, but I didn’t take heroic measures to avoid it either.  Yes, mostly any picture without clothes were of little bare behinds, but there was that one time we were getting ready to leave, and my two year old son came out of the dress-up closet wearing nothing but a Barbie wedding hat, complete with veil, a pink feather boa draped around his neck, and the most awful pair of chartreuse pumps (part of a bridesmaid ensemble from hell).  It was the rakish draping of the boa that did me in.  I simply didn’t want my hubby to miss this image of his son.  I tried to pose him looking over his shoulder, but he wasn’t buying it.  He knew that the full affect of the veil and boa could only be appreciated from the front.  Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I was laughing so hard that the picture was blurry.

In no way am I saying that my acceptance is preferable to your avoidance.  I simply want to share that within bounds, it really is just a personal preference.  But I suspect that what hurts you is that you didn’t get to make this decision.  Your son was part of another family for his first 10 months, and it was their preferences that prevailed.  If your son comes out dressed in a Barbie hat, pink boa, and bright green heels next year, you can make the decision of whether to laugh privately or run for the camera.  But you didn’t get to decide on the pictures in his first 10 months, and that is hard and a little sad.

Foster Love is a Gift

What struck me when I read your letter the first time was how blessed you are to receive “tons” of pictures.  I know that Korean foster families are encouraged to take some pictures, but it sounds like this family went above and beyond.  Very few adopted kids, unless adopted in infancy, have many, or any, pictures of their early life.  You and  your son have been given something unique and precious.  Foster families can be paid to take care of a child; they can’t be paid to love a child.  Love is a gift.

Our Kids Have Another Set of Parents Whether We Like it or Not

It is worth examining your feelings about his foster family because in addition to a foster family, your son has a first family, and many of the same feelings you have about his foster family are likely intensified in your feeling about his birth family.  Working through your discomfort with the foster family’s love for your son and the “rights” they feel towards him will help pave the way for greater comfort towards his first family and acceptance of their “claim” on him and on his possible desire to have a relationship with them when he is older.

I have interviewed many adult adoptees for the radio show and for the book and articles I’ve written.  One thing that stands out to me is how important it is for adopted kids to not have to hide their natural curiosity and feelings for their birth families from their parents.  Kids have the amazing ability to know what subjects make us prickly and uncomfortable.  I can’t change the fact that my kids will have to come to terms with adoption and may have confused feelings for their first family.  All I can do is be there for them to help them make sense of it all.  Sometimes being there is all we can do, but it’s a lot.  If your son senses that you are uncomfortable with this conversation, it won’t happen.  He will likely still have the feelings, but the conversation will be in his head or with others.  I want you to be a part of that conversation.  I can not stress enough what a gift you will be giving him to become more educated about your feelings about his birth family and what adopted kids need and want to grow into healthy happy adults.  We have done many Creating a Family shows on this topic (Twenty Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents KnewHow Children Process Adoption at Different Ages, How to Talk With Kids About Adoption, Parenting after Infertility, What 3rd Party Reproduction Can Learn from Adoption).  We list many resources under Adoption Resource, and many many books in our Suggested Books pages.

Dreams of Parenthood

I’m sorry that you were left to deal with these confusing feelings by yourself, and I’m so glad you reached out to me.  When most of us where growing up and dreaming of parenthood, we didn’t dream of the complexity of adoptive parenting.  It can be unsettling to realize that we aren’t the one and only set of parents that love our child and have a claim on his love. The time you spend now working through your feelings and getting more education will pay you back in spades as your boy ages.

By all means, send pictures regularly to his foster parents and include an extra set of pictures for the Korean agency to keep in case his first family asks for them.  Write a thank you letter to his foster family.  When you feel more secure, write a letter to his first family expressing your love for their (and your) child and wishing them a peaceful mind about their decision.  Nurture your son’s awareness of the love all three sets of parents have for him.  Life can be cold, and all kids need all the layers of love they can get to keep them warm.


Image credit: Mrs Suzie Cue

30/03/2010 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 29 Comments

29 Responses to Who Has a Rightful “Claim” on Our Kids: Insecurity in Adoption

  1. Avatar Dawn says:

    Hi Ron, thanks for delurking yourself and joining in the discussion.

  2. Avatar Dawn says:

    Lavonne sent this comment via email and asked that I post it:
    “I can understand some of the concerns of this women, yet if they have formally adopted the child and in some states re-adopted there should be no concerns for the child. Yet being cautious is always important. This family did invest time in the child and probably is somewhat attached to the child which is normal. Two of my 4 adopted children from China have met up with their foster families and all was fine.

    With regards to the photo’s of the boy. I lived in Japan in the 80’s and found many family photo albums full of the boys penis – it is a cultural thing and not like they were pedophiles or harmful to the child, the Asian culture is proud of the little boys penis and to us it seems weird and abnormal – to them it is very normal.

    So in my mind this women is overreacting but then everyone has their own sense of boundaries – it appears this foster family cared deeply for her son and would love to see how his life is and know he is doing well. I think if you ask most foster families here in the US they would like the same if they cared for the child. My son’s foster mother told us she treated and loved our son like he was hers… With this child we have had zero attachment issues.”

  3. Avatar Von says:

    No-one can ‘claim’a child, they are not possessions, if we’re lucky we get the privilege of their company and love for a time.All lines of communication need to be keep as open as possible for this child to find his way back to the parents and family who share his genes.The more you hide, the more you try to possess, the more hurt and difficulty you’ll make for him later.
    Nude photos in family albums are so embarrassing for kids on their 21st birthday, they hate them!These days we need to be particularly carefully about who we share with and certainly not post on websites.

  4. Avatar Patricia Dischler says:

    Dawn, I applaud you on a thoughtful and respectful response, I hope it is read by many, many adoptive parents. I have one comment to share, it is something that my birth son’s adoptive mother wrote to me in her first letter, she wrote: “Children are never really ours, they are only entrusted to us for a time by God.” Celebrate ALL of what makes your child who they are!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      For those of you who don’t know, Patricia Dischler in the above comment is the author of the wonderful book Because I Loved You: A Birthmother’s View of Open adoption. I interviewed her for a Creating a Family show we did on Open Adoption n Nov. 18, 2008. I highly recommend this book.

  5. Avatar marilynn says:

    Dawn what rocking advice you gave and so empathetic and calming to her nerves which are clearly all jostled. Super advice. And what lovely kind people his foster family are. They wanted to hear his voice.

    Imagine what he might think as a young man if he ever read that his adoptive mother actually would not want to facilitate the call for fear it might aid his mother and father in Korea in their search for him one day. Whatever they can do to make it more difficult for him to ever be found by his family and siblings. That breaks my heart. You gave kind advice.

  6. Avatar F. G. says:

    Thank you for your compassionate response. So many, “professional” would have crucified this woman. Your answer was like a warm blanket. Helpful but not condemning. I almost cried.

  7. Avatar Benny's Mommy says:

    I can’t tell you how I identified with this mom! I could have written this exact letter. Thank you for not slamming her. Her feelings are real. I almost cried with relief when I read your compassionate response. I hope she did too. It’s not easy learning to parent in general, but it is more complex when there are other parents involved. Thanks and by the way, your radio show has helped me more than you can imagine.

  8. Avatar Julie in CA says:

    As a foster parent here in the states, I can tell you that we love the children that come through our home the same as our bio and adopted kids. I am always so happy to hear an update or get pictures from the families of children that have been reunited with their biological families or have been place with relatives. I don’t have any desire to meddle in their lives or drop in without invitation, but the kids remain in our hearts and it is lovely to hear that they are doing well and how they have changed and grown.

  9. Avatar Christy says:

    Dawn – thanks for your beautiful comments! So helpful and comforting. I think you really hit it home that it is hard that we’re not there to decide how things are done the first several months and that is hard. I’m glad that there are loving people out there willing to be foster parents.

    I do have some pictures of my kids when they jump out of the bath and start running around – my camera is slow to snap the shot so I try to get the tush but by then it’s possible they’ve run full gamut and it’s a frontal shot. When they’re little and it’s meant for your eyes only (or perhaps a future wife/husband) it’s OK with me, but it’s hard when you couldn’t make that choice.

    I especially loved your layers of love! Thanks for sharing – I’m going to use that in the future! 🙂

  10. Avatar Sharon says:

    I came across this post through a link on an acquaintance’s blog. I adopted my daughter as an infant in the U.S. and have an open adoption, and I also happen to be a foster parent. I am sure that fostering in the U.S. is very different from fostering in other countries. Also, I’ve only fostered for a short time; so far, I’ve cared for 3 pairs of siblings,and the longest I have cared for foster children is 4-1/2 months – a much shorter period than many international foster parents of children who are adopted to the U.S., so the children are probably less attached to me than most international adoptees may have been to their former foster parents. But given those caveats: I think it makes a big difference going into a fostering situation knowing that the children’s goal is reunification with their birth parents. Presumably, international foster parents like the ones you’re discussing know the goal is for the children to be adopted into other families, so perhaps their mindset is similar to mine. I have heard the term “claiming” discussed in reference to adoptive parents beginning to feel that they are the child’s “real” parents. However, I’m not sure that foster parents do this same kind of claiming, since we know we aren’t (probably) going to be a child’s permanent parents. Though I’m not religious, I agree with Patricia Dischler’s sentiments. As I get to know kids, I think I begin to value them as individuals – and as this happens, I get more comfortable with them and care more about them as individuals. (I’m not a fall-in-love-at-first-sight kind of person.) And when THIS happens, what would really make me happy is to know that they are doing well after they have left my care. I’ve heard anecdotes from other foster parents who fostered with the intent of adopting, but who have actually said that their most rewarding moments have been when children are reunified with their birth parents. Why? Because they got to know their kids and the children’s birth parents, saw and really understood the love between them, and were able to play a role in placing the children back with their parents. Perhaps international foster parents feel the same way in their role in uniting children with their adoptive parents, who they know (or desperately hope!) will love the children very much.

    I’ve had NO news about the 6 kids I’ve cared for so far, and I’m actually OK with this… because I’m a little afraid of hearing bad news about them, and I’d rather not hear bad news b/c I can’t do anything about it. But I would be thrilled to hear that they are doing well, or to see what they look like now. I’ve had direct contact with my foster kids’ birth families, and in each case, they have had my contact information and I’ve encouraged the families, and I’ve asked the social workers to tell the families, to feel free to contact me if they want to. I think it’s their prerogative to contact me if they want to or not. At the same time, I’m aware that I have a little piece of their history that their birth family can’t share with them, and I’m sad that this is a loss for them.

    Interestingly, I feel like my daughter’s birth mother has given us this same space. I don’t have the sense that she “claims” my daughter, and as a result, I’ve never felt uncomfortable with contact with her. I know this is not the case for all adoptive families. (At the same time, I know that fostering is VERY different from being a birth parent. I don’t mean to minimize the loss to birth parents by comparing their situation to that of foster parents. Also, perhaps it’s okay for parents to say whether former foster parents have any contact with or knowledge of their former foster children – per Ron’s suggestion above – but I personally do not feel it is the adoptive parent’s right to make this choice regarding a child’s birth parents. I think it’s my responsibility to keep this relationship open so that my daughter can make her own choices about the degree to which to continue the relationship when she gets older.)

    I do know that not all relationships with birth parents (or even with foster parents) are healthy or safe. But in general, I guess what I’m trying to suggest is that I wish adoptive parents would not feel threatened by foster parents or by birth parents. What they have to offer our kids is potentially incredibly important. And sometimes missed opportunities can become losses forever.

  11. Avatar Ron Manske says:

    Hi Dawn,

    I’ve been lurking a little bit and enjoying your blogs, and this one really jumped out at me as an adoptive father in an open adoption.

    My first thought on the nude photos is in agreement with you. I haven’t seen the pics, but it’s possible that the pictures were taken because it was a cute moment they wanted to capture, like when a child jumps out of the bathtub and runs around naked. If they’re strictly shots of genitals, that probably is a problem (unless there was a clinical reason for taking them).

    My second thought is to say that the couple who wrote this email to you has every right not to contact the foster family, and I respect their right in that. However, speaking from an open adoption perspective, we love it when the people who loved our daughter before us continue to express an interest in her life, when they come to visit, when we visit them, and so on. I just believe deeply that it’s going to contribute to her sense of self and help her make sense of her life. I think there’s probably some insecurity by this family, which I understand, but I’d encourage them to talk to more people who have been in open adoption situations or people who have kept contact with foster families. These can be incredibly rewarding relationships for everybody involved. And it’ll help them to gain insight and share a piece of their child’s life before they brought him home.

    I really don’t believe the foster family has any ill intentions, and I’d encourage the folks who wrote you to consider opening up their hearts a little on this one. Again, they’re well within their rights not to, but I think they’re missing a great opportunity for their child and their family.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment on this.

  12. Hi Dawn, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve linked to this post on my blog – its amazing! Thanks so much for your thoroughly kind response. 🙂

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Socialwrkr24/7: Thanks for the link. I just played around on your site. It’s great. Anyone who wants to learn more about foster care and adoption go on over to eyesopenedwider.blogspot.com .

  13. Avatar Busted Kate says:

    Hi Dawn: I just wanted to come by and say hello, and thank you for your incredibly kind comment on my blog. I’m so honored you’d include me in your blog roll! And I’ve happily returned the favor. I’m looking forward to getting to know you.

    Thank you so much for this post. The concern of the parent, and your thoughtful response, both touched me. I always think of stories like this when people say flippantly, “just adopt!” like its no big deal. I wish people were better educated on how complex and emotionally complicated adoption is, in addition to being the most wonderful gift.

    Thank you again! Kate

  14. Avatar Laura says:

    Once again, Dawn your wisdom is much needed for parents in waiting. Thank you!!! As I sit and cry for the joy and sorrow this story brings me…I reflect the responsiblity back on the agency. I feel agencies are still far behind the rest of us. Reason being, half of my required reading for my education credits to adopt my child were books my SW had never even picked up or skimmed. Second, after a drilling conversation about being at “peace with infertility” a comment flew out of my SW that stunned me. “After this if you want the name of my INF DR. I will share it with you and you will be preg. in no time.” This comment mentally set me back as the SW just underminded what she had taught us. There are agencies out there that do a wonderful job, and then there are agencies out there that fall short our our expectations.

    I believe the agency should have approached it differently in reguards to the phone call. Maybe offer the phone call to be from their office? Reading are so educational.
    Just a mom in waiting…one more month I hope.

  15. Avatar Julie says:

    Dawn, that was a great response, and I appreciate your experience.

    As a relatively new Mum (my eldest is only 4 and we’ve been together since she was 6mo) I can understand that the birthparents/foster carers and new family have different boundaries, and I think for me, having a family come halfway round the world only 4 months after I brought my child home would feel like way too much too soon. (And call my cynical, but travelling halfway round the world and then asking for them to call collect sounds weird to me… Yes, my kids are adopted from foster care LOL)

    I think relationships take time to develop, and I agree with everything you said about the layers of love. It’s just that the adults need to grow to appreciate each other too, and be respectful of each other’s roles, and that’s not something that can be forced or rushed…

  16. Avatar Annie says:

    I dreaded reading your reply, but was just overwhelmed with the gentle understanding of your reply, but also with your ability to see all sides. Having adopted older children, there was never any idea that we’d be able to act as though they were “ours”….however I never supposed that the more I loved my child the more I’d love their parents….and their caregivers (oh, those wonderful women in those Russian orphanages who loved them and helped form them into the loving people they are!)

    One day it occurred to me – I absolutely adore my children – every one of them. There is no limit, it seems… So, why can’t my children love me and love their biological parents, too! Of course they can! But, the funny thing is that presence is so important that it is I who have to push the connection. Those people are a world away, in Russia – it is the idea of them that they keep, the idea that others care for them. It is surely no threat to our relationship.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Annie, I often say that if parents can love more than one child, why can’t a child love more than one set of parents. You said it better. Thank you.

  17. Avatar Jamaican Momma says:

    Dawn, your answer reminds me of “it takes a village to raise a child”. This family’s village extends to Korea and includes their son’s past. I hope they can find the support they need to deal with their questions and concerns as they do not have the support from their case worker. Our village already extends cross country and all the way to Jamaica and we have not yet been matched.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Jamaican Momma, when my kids were younger I gave lip service to the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child”, but deep down I really didn’t get it. After all, for the most part all my kids needed was me and my hubby. But as they aged, that phrase has truly taken a deeper meaning. As much as I want to be the only thing and only person my kids need, I’m not. I am so grateful for the other significant people from our church, their friends’ parents, our extended family, their foster parents, etc that can provide that additional support.

  18. Thank you for an eloquent, thoughtful, and big picture response. I too have struggled with what to do about Li’l Empress’s foster parents request for contact. We’ve settled on the idea that we really should, that it would be honoring to them and honoring to who they helped form Li’l E to become but haven’t yet figured out what that contact will look like. We have no option thru our agency or the orphanage or the org. that resources the orphanage, but there’s a mutual connection we have discovered and can utilize that. After reading your response, and identifying so strongly with the adoptive mom’s concerns and questions, I know we must. Thank you for the perspective.

  19. Avatar malinda says:

    We feel so blessed that we have been able to remain in touch with my youngest’s foster family in China; we were even able to visit them again 1.5 years after the adoption. They, too, gave us tons of pictures, many more than required by the organization through which they fostered. They have sent a present for Maya’s birthday each year since, and all of this is a great source of comfort for now-6-year-old Maya. They have also been a great source of imformation about Maya’s 10 months with them. Without them, I wouldn’t know when Maya got her first tooth or when she started to walk. I wouldn’t have stories about how much she loved strawberries as a baby and how much she loved going about the neighborhood with her foster dad and petting all the dogs. I wouldn’t have a priceless letter where Maya’s foster mom describes going to the orphanage to get her the first day of fostering, and how she whispered to that little baby in the crib, with her hair rubbed off from lying there, “Mama’s here to take you home, little one.”

    And I know what we’d be missing without being in touch with Maya’s foster family — Zoe didn’t have a foster family, spending all of her time in China at the orphanage. I have only 3 pictures of Zoe from before we met, and very little reliable information about what the first 10 months of her life were like. Zoe definitely feels this loss, and is quite jealous of the fact that Maya has such a loving foster family. Lucky for us, when they send Maya a present for her birthday, they always send the same thing for older sister, too!

  20. Avatar Julie says:

    What a thoughtful response! So thorough it’s hard to add on.

  21. Avatar Ann-Marie says:

    I am struck by the stress that the newly bonded by adoption family had and how alone they were. Makes me cringe and magically wish that you, Dawn, had been able to be there for them then. I am also struck by how thorough and thoughtful your response was, Dawn.

    I am not sure if I can add anything other than to hold the focus on how loved their son has been and is. I might have felt the same pang of fear for safety for my family if I believed that the foster family might disclose to his birth family where his new family is. AND yet, I hope, hope, hope that my daughter does not have any difficulty finding her first/birth family when she turns 18. What a cool story to be able to tell your child that when his foster family was in the states that they wanted to talk to him. (It matters not that it did not happen, or that he was unable to talk on the phone.) The love that they hold for him is heart warming.

    About the pictures…..I am leaning toward a cultural difference and that they were not taken or shared with any intent to offend or expose him in an offensive way in our culture.

    Dawn, there are few pictures of me, too….second child syndrome.

    I wish this family well on this journey of being a family and loving their son. I know that my daughter is my daughter and she knows I am her Mommy. And both of us know that there are two families who want to know how she is doing.

    Ann-Marie, mom to Sarah, 8

  22. Avatar Maureen says:

    Dawn your comments were wonderful and you hit the nail on the head perfectly. I hope you don’t mind that I’ll be using your layers of love anology with my adoptive son in the future. There is a sense of insecurity that often accompanies adoption. Thank you for your thoughtful insights.

  23. Avatar Tara says:

    What a wonderful and empathetic response to this parents concerns. My first reaction was hostility to what I perceived as a selfish and ethnocentric reaction to the foster family. But reading your response and thinking about how I might feel in that situation, I realize I will probably have those same insecurities should I be blessed with a child (I’m in waiting mode).
    I hope that that family takes your advise to heart. Unless there is another unstated reason for their hesitance to remain in contact with the foster family, I really do agree with you that it would be in the best interest of the child to let him know how many people love him.

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