Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jennie Painter Seminar and Birth Mother Contact

This Saturday Nic and I attended the Adoptive Resource and Counselling Services (ARCS) open adoption workshop put on by founder Jennie Painter.  Jennie is the open adoption specialist in Ontario, possibly even in Canada.  The workshop is a prerequisite for signing up with her agency. 

We both found the workshop very informative.  She had a panel of 4 birth mothers, a birth grandmother and an adoptee.  She asked them a number of questions which sparked allot of discussion.  She also asked us some tough questions which also brought on some interesting discussion.  As usual we learned something and are happy we went.

Half way through the day I check my emails on my phone and discovered we had received an email from a birth mother.  After we got over the initial shock we responded back to her and had some good email correspondence over the weekend.  She is a young women who has been trying to parent her son but is finding it difficult.  She lives in Saskatchewan and has no extended family to help her, although the birth father is involved and mainly parents on the weekends.

We were in contact with our adoption practitioner on Monday and she connected us with a lawyer in Toronto (Cheryl Appell) who has an underwrite on her license for Saskatchewan.  She facilitated an adoption there two years ago so has some good connections in the area.  Cheryl's advice was to talk with the birth mother on the phone and get her permission for Cheryl to call and talk with her about the process.

We sent the birth mother an email Monday night with our toll free number and told her we should talk in person.  We did not hear from her all day Tuesday so sent another email yesterday morning.  The basic message of the email was that if she did not want to move forward we understood to just let us know.  She emailed back later in the day saying that she was scared about talking to social workers and lawyers but did still want to proceed. She gave us her number and said we could call her last night.

We tried a couple times last night to call her but did not get through.  I sent an email saying that I would try back in an hour or so and if I did not get her I would leave the ball in her court.  We were worried we were pressuring her which is the last thing we wanted to do.  Again she emailed back and said she had not answered because she had a heart to heart with the birth father and he has changed his mind and wants to parent. 

We learned allot about this situation at the workshop on the weekend.  A birth father (or his family) can fight a birth mother about the potential adoption of the child and essentially end the chances of an adoption being successful.  Most times the birth mother does not want the birth father to parent so by him fighting her he forces her to parent. 

We have advised the birth mother the best we can but I gave her Cheryl's email and told her I thought she should send any questions directly to her.  The more we talk with her the more we get emotionally attached to her and her situation.  We feel it is best for a professional to answer her questions which will also give us some distance.  For the most part we know that if the birth father wants to fight his son's adoption it will not go through. 

The fact that we have not talked to her in person also has us a bit worried.  We know she is young and scared which I am sure is part of it but we would both feel better if we would have talked with her.  I looked up signs of adoption scams online and for the most part this situation seemed on the up and up.  She has asked us lots of questions about us, how we would raise her child and what type of openness we would be willing to agree to.  She has sent pictures and our conversations have not thrown up any red flags.  We are going to be optimistic until we talk to her again on Saturday but for the most part if the birth father does not agree, it is not going to happen.

While all this was going on we also received another email from another birth mother on Tuesday morning.  She is also a young mother, with three children already who has just discovered she is pregnant again.  She lives in Ontario and it sounds like is just starting to think about options for her child.  We sent her back an email yesterday morning but have not heard anything back from her.

Both of these mothers found our profile on the Canada Adopts website.  We are glad we spent the money since our profile is obviously being viewed.  Our practitioner has also received a few matches for us through the AdoptOntario site which helps place children who are currently in  the foster care system.  None of those matches have fit but it is good to know that their system is picking us up.

Well I wish I had better news for you guys.  I guess we should be happy that we have made contact with birth mothers so early on in the process.  We had put on hold doing our intake session with Jennie Painter so if neither of these prospects turn out that will be the next step for us.  We really like her and her agency and feel that she could help us allot.

I will try my best to keep you posted but for the most part we will just be waiting until we hear from SK birth mother on the weekend.

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