Their Adoption Story Is Not Your Adoption Story

One of the sessions I attended at this year’s American Adoption Congress Conference was titled, “Open Adoption – A Parent’s Journey” which claimed it would cover, “a father’s journey developing a methodology based upon current neuroscientific research and practical application of the Biosocial Cognition Model to open adoption”. I fell for the buzzwords neuroscience, biosocial, and cognition. I actually expected to learn about a model. I thought even if I didn’t completely buy the model maybe it would provide a foundation for me to work with on my dissertation or at the very least another citation. Silly me.

Instead more than 60 minutes of the total 75 minutes were spent in anecdote. In the last few moments he was able to get to the first couple of his slides, however I have no idea what his model is nor what it was based on. More troubling, however, is that the presenter never claimed to have permission to be sharing details, very personal details, about his children and their birth parents. He did so in aways that even pseudonyms wouldn’t mask. So much was shared I’m pretty sure I could google and find out even more and perhaps even track down the persons in question. At one point he even read a letter his daughter had written to her birth mother. It was heart wrenching to hear, not only because of the content, but also because when that little girl wrote that letter it was meant for her first mom, not for an audience of strangers.

Some have come to expect this kind of behavior. Some condone this kind of behavior. I however, must tend to surround myself with a different, dare I say more enlightened, crowd that believes even if your story intersects with someone else’s there is still a line between sharing your story and sharing someone else’s story. It wouldn’t have been hard to explain his adoption connection in less detail and in less time. Here, I’ll do it for him

I’m an father, both by birth and by adoption. Two of my children were adopted and both have had complicated relationships with their first parents. Visits haven’t always happened and they haven’t always been smooth when they were happening, but we’ve always tried to provide as much contact as possible and to leave the door open, because we realize thats whats best for our children. As a father thats been hard for me and it lead me to start researching neuroscience… I eventually developed a model which I believe can be helpful to others embarking on an open adoption. Whether it’s a domestic infant adoption, adoption from foster care, or even an international adoption contact can come with challenges…

I can’t completely flesh it out for him because I have no clue what he researched or what brought him to that research or what background he brought with him to that research. Although I sure as hell know his child’s birth mother’s arrest record and that he holds strong stereotypes of men in certain “urban” clothing styles. But if he’d been this brief in his introduction I would have that information and I’d also know about his model and maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t consider those 75 minutes a complete and total waste of my time.

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