Well, in terms of meeting with a woman who is considering adoption and communicating with her on a very honest and productive level, I think our meeting went really well.
S.’s first words to us were that she was nervous. Well, besides, “Hi, I’m ______”. Anyway, we laughed and I told her we were, too. I actually started off just as you all suggested, with the statement about how what we really want her to know is that if she chooses adoption, we would like for her to understand that we would be the best parents we could and that we welcome whatever degree of openness works for her.
Midway through the opening sentence, she cut me off and said, “I am sure that I want to place the baby. If you all are open to fighting for this baby, it’s yours. I definitely want to give it up [her words, not mine] but his dad says he wants to raise him.” She didn’t ask many questions about us. She looked through the picture album I had hurriedly put together, and she asked us if we had any other children, but other than that she wasn’t that curious about us, per se. Part of that may be because she had already received a lot of information about us from her sister.
Anyway, the issue is she doesn’t feel like she can give the baby the kind of life she wants to, so she is looking for a “financially stable, well-educated family” [again, her words, not mine] to place the baby with. She is convinced that the baby’s father cannot provide this; he is young, parties a lot and does not regularly call her to see how she is doing. She thinks that he may change his mind about parenting, and she wants us “fight him” and “convince him” that it’s not a good idea for him to parent.
I tried to let her know that that really isn’t the way it works. That if he wants to parent, he has the right to, that we don’t have any legal standing or influence when it comes to who the baby is placed with, that if she terminates her parental rights, she won’t either. I also told her we really didn’t want to put any pressure on her (or the father) to place if they don’t want to.
What I didn’t tell her is what I suspect is probably the truth – the only way she can guarantee that he won’t parent the baby is to chose to do so herself. I feel terrible for the situation she is in – it’s clear that if she had more resources she would raise this baby. I can’t imagine having to make that choice, that sacrifice.
Uggh… why does this have to be so hard?