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Kim

That's probably the biggest reason we decided to do an international adoption. We're not even godless freaks. We're Pagan. Witches. Heathens, even. I can't see any birth mother being willing to give her baby to people who, as everyone knows, eat babies.

Amy in Motown

Firstly, Jo, I am glad to see I am not the only PCOS woman with a SERIOUS sugar jones. Hey, I quit smoking, I quit drinking, I have to do something fun, you know?

Secondly, I really think there should be an "alternative" adoption agency, where people who don't fall into the mainstream organized religions, people who are gay, and so forth can have as good a chance as any. I practice a religion (and practice, and practice....still have not even close to gotten it right) and still found the "cutesy Christian" tones of so many "Dear Birthmother" letters to be very very offputting. Thus, the birthmom who is in the same position but on the other end ("I want to place this baby, but everyone is all mainstream America, Toby Keith listening, Wal-Mart shopping nightmares....") can find the kind of family she'd feel comfortable with much more easily.

Mollie

"The Kid" is a masterpiece. I wrote Dan Savage a long, loving fan letter after I read that book. I found it quite inspiring, and felt a very close kinship with him and his process, even though we are, of course, very different people.

Well, hell, I could write a book myself about domestic adoption and how I just didn't feel like I fit into the scene. For starters, I felt bad "taking away" a baby from someone else who really, really, really wanted to do a domestic adoption and couldn't deal with international. I could deal with international, and there's not 150 unrequited adoptive parents for every baby in international scenarios the way there seems to be in domestic scenarios.

It also seemed too competitive to me, too much like a beauty contest, where I was the ugly non-religious girl with a bad attitude and sure to lose.

I love the idea of an "alternative" adoption agency, where Christianity is not paramount in the birth mom's decision. Perhaps I am outrageously misinformed about the standard birthmom profile, but it did seem to me that one of the main reasons a woman bears a child she doesn't intend to raise these days in the U.S. is because she has a conviction about life beginning at conception, etc. and usually that means Christian as well. And somewhat devoted. And somewhat unwilling to say, "perfect!" to parents like us, who are mostly about the grey areas of life, and not the absolutes as defined by the good book.

I know, I know, get your own blog. I tried that, but I still end up blathering away on yours, Jo.

P.S. Quit picking!! (She said in a muffled voice so as not to disturb her own gnawing on the inside of her mouth.)

jilbur

we of self-inflicted bleedings scalps salute you.

Jesus Christ! We're atheists! heheheheheh. That's soooo right.

I hope I'm not being facile here, but since I know you're leaning in the direction of open adoption, I have to think that 1) the interview is probably key, and you and Sean so ooooooze wonderfulness that, to my extremely partial eyes, this gives you an advantage; and 2) when it comes to these hugely emotional decisions, I would think that people are going a lot more toward their gut and their heart than with a laundry list of characteristics, churchgoing among them.

But please forgive me, sweet Jo, if I'm talking out my ass. I know that I don't really know a whole hell of a lot about this topic in particular. Sometimes, though, I think I have a handle on people. A little. xoxox

Christine

We are not religious and we're adopting domestically. Of course, we haven't been chosen yet, either. But there hasn't been a lot of action at our agency lately.

We chose a non-profit non-religious agency because of our beliefs...we probably would already have our baby had we worked with the local Christian agency, but we weren't willing to lie.

A recent birthmother at our agency chose the parents based on the stickers they used on their letter. Stickers. I still find that astounding.

Kate

I'm one of your devoted lurkers. I am also a birthmother. A non-religious, walmart hating, alternative birthmother. So yes, we're out there. But I have to be honest, to make the desision to place rather than parent, you have to place a pretty high value on what the adoptive parent has vs. what you *don't* have, and that often translates into "3 1/2 bathrooms!" or the promise of a religious upbringing. Sometimes birthmothers (like me) are looking for something less tangible like emotional security, self-assuredness, maturity, and wisdom, as well as financial security. Most of the birthmothers I know were not religious and didn't think it was that important, but I don't live in a very religious part of the country either. The really religous birthmthers kind of tick me off, though, because thy don't seem to feel the pain of being a birthparent. But maybe that's just jealousy ;)

A birthmother will go into the process with a few concrete absolutes. For me, it was financial security and a mom who stays home. I also wanted her to have a sibling, so if they already adopted that was a plus. After that, it was all gut instinct. I ended up picking based on a photograph of the dad playing on the floor with a bunch of kids, he looked like a totally involved hand-on dad, like my dad. By the time we got to the interview stage, we already knew who we wanted and there was very little they could have said to make us reconsider. It was them or nobody.

I hope this helps you.

-Kate

Karen

We can't do domestic. No one would EVER pick us. I'm not a stay at home mom, we don't make a ton of $$, we live in a condo (yes, we own it, but it's really small, and it's sooo expensive up here, anywhere else our salary would be pretty good) and we aren't religious. At. all. I don't think ANYONE would ever pick us, and I don't think I'd be able to deal with the disappointment of knowing time and time again that we were picked over.

So I know your pain, a lot. I don't have any easy answers, or platitudes. You are one awesome freaking woman. And I hope the birthparents recognize that. Because if they don't, they're dumb as rocks.

Jo

Kate, um, wow. Yes, that does help immeasurably -- I'm so grateful that you're sharing with me what went into your decision to place your child and with whom. Really. Just blown away.

Plus I love it when people de-lurk. ;)

Man, I'm just so happy with this whole discussion. I feel like I'm learning so much, and that there's still so very much left to learn.

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