Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yet more paperwork

Yesterday I received a call from two of the agency staff, they explained that the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) had requested that I write a letter explaining my being a birth mother to an adopted baby. While I felt this was a good thing, because it meant they were already looking at our paperwork, it was frustrating because it's a slow down and I thought this was well addressed in our home study and application. Here's the letter I came up with. I hope this works!

To the China Center of Adoption Affairs
Thank you for reviewing our request to adopt JSC from Jindezhen, Jiangxi Province. As part of this review I was asked to explain about the child I gave up for adoption, what happened and my thought process; what is our current relationship; and whether the child will come back in the future.
In the summer of 1998, when I discovered I was pregnant, I was shocked, I didn't think I could get pregnant at all. I was not married, not in a relationship with a man with whom I wanted to be married, not in a financially rewarding job and not going to have an abortion. As a parent your first responsibility is to do what is best for the child. What was best for my child was to be raised in a stable, secure 2 parent family, as I wasn't able to provide that, I went looking for a couple who were.
I contacted a lifelong friend who had relatives, whom I'd met, who had lost several babies to miscarriages and asked him to ask them if they were interested in adopting, in an open adoption. This couple had been married for 17 years by this point, and had the stability and security I was looking for, for my baby. They were actually in the process of adopting a girl from China at this point, and decided to adopt both children so their children would have siblings.
The adoptive family and I have kept in touch and we meet yearly at the wife's father's home for a weekend visit. They are a warm, close, loving family and have made both myself and my husband Bill welcome during the visits. I have watched my son grow and mature in their care, turning into an intelligent, funny child. He also has a good relationship with his sister, with little sibling rivalry.
I have left the timing of telling him he is adopted up to the adoptive parents, as well as the fact that I am his biological mother. Right now, he just knows me as someone he meets at his grandparents once a year, a friend of the family.
During the adoption process I signed away my right to sue for custody but I kept my right to sue for visitation. I feel it would be very harmful to him to be taken from his family, but I never want to be totally excluded from his life. If as a teenager or adult he wanted to come for a visit to get to know me and my family better, we would welcome him, but his true family is the one who raised him from the day he was born, not the one who gave birth to him.
The decision I made, to give up my son for adoption was the hardest decision I ever made, but it is a decision I am totally at peace with. I would never try to wrest him from his adoptive family and undo all the good I achieved by placing him with a loving stable family. My son will always be a part of my life, always loved by me, but he won't come back to me, to our household, he will stay with his family because that is what is best for him.
Thank you again for considering our application to adopt Jing Shen Chao.
Heather Annis Bowman-Tomlinson

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