Friday, March 25, 2011

Contact Agreement or No?

Image credit:
This post may be viewed as controversial, so let me begin by stating that this is my opinion only, and does NOT reflect opinions of BirthmomBuds as a whole or individually.  This is simply what I think.

As most of you know, I’m fortunate enough to have an open adoption set up with my daughter.  I don’t remember exactly what we set up in the contact agreement, though I’m pretty certain they do.  However, T & C have been more than great about making certain I’m updated on my daughter with letters, emails, and pictures, as well as the occasional visit.

Some of you are less than fortunate in that regard.  I’ve heard enough stories of failed contact agreements that make me incredibly sad.  After all, we’ve given our children’s adoptive parents the greatest gift they could ever receive – the gift of a child.  I’ve heard many of you state that you want pictures more than any gift that you could receive, yet it seems your child’s adoptive parents are more apt to send you a card for a birthday than they are to include a picture or two, or even a little note about what your child’s been doing.

As a result, it’s been discussed more than once that we wish that contact agreements were legally enforceable.  While I can understand it and have even had moments of panic where I wished I had more legal recourse than simply waiting and praying to hear something, I have a problem in general with that idea.  I have several reasons for my disagreement of the positivity of that idea. 

First, if you decided that you wanted to take your children’s parents to court over their non-compliance with some part (or all) of the original contact agreement, I think that you would wreck any relationship you had with the adoptive parents and ruin any chance of additional or different contact that you might get in the future.  Sure, they’d do what they agreed to do, but visits (if applicable) and any sort of contact in general would be forced and awkward. 

Second, whether your child’s adoptive parents actually said anything negative about you to your child or not, your son or daughter would be able to read the negativity in their attitudes and there’s a good chance that it would rub off in their opinion of you.  No matter what you tell a child, actions speak louder.  Except in very rare situations, I would guess that your child would side with his or her adoptive parents in that situation.  So not only would you make an enemy of your child’s adoptive parents, you’d make an enemy of your child.  I’m certain that’s definitely not something we want to do.

Lastly, and my real point, we signed away our rights to legally require ANY contact at all when we signed away our parental rights.  At that point, it becomes a request only and the right of the legal parents to deny you contact.  Of course we hope and pray that contact will not stop.  We ache to hear from our children somehow, and many of us check our mailboxes every single day, just in case, whether there’s supposed to be mail delivery that day or not.  We obsessively check our phones for that text or phone call, and we try to avoid checking our email every minute of every day.  Just like every parent that chooses to raise their children and “loses” the right to require contact when that child turns 18, we’ve lost that “right.” 

It’s a difficult way to look at it somehow, though for me, it makes it just a little easier to NOT worry so much when I don’t hear from them.  Somehow it makes me more appreciative of every little effort that Mackenzie’s parents make to keep our relationship alive.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, I never thought about it that way...I suppose you are right. I've let my anger toward other ppl's agreements not being met as laid out that I've actually advised taking legal action. I can see now that that might indeed backfire in a terrible way. Thanks for sharing an enlightening viewpoint...