What Is the Adoption Triad?
Adoption is unlike any family-building journey; it is heartbreak, trauma, fear, love, and hope to name a few, with each emotion felt differently by each participant. Some dreams are realized, and some nights get longer. It is beautiful and ugly, full of both joy and anguish. Each adoption contains different measures of each emotion, making it unique and complex.
The universal symbol for adoption is a triangle surrounded by a heart. Each point of the triangle represents a person or group of people who are part of the process, with the heart uniting all. Our goal at Tammi Driver Law is to keep the heart intact, unifying the three as described below.
Birth parents are indeed brave and selfless in the face of their decision, and we would be amiss if we did not start the explanation of the adoption triad with them. In fact, without birth parents, adoption would not be possible. Birth parents often begin their path to adoption by finding an agency or attorney to help them understand their choices and rights. At Tammi Driver Law, our first meeting with an expectant mother is spent explaining all of her options and the rights that go with each. We understand that considering “giving up” her baby is not a quick decision for any woman and helping her know that “giving up” or “putting up” her baby (both terms used by those who don’t understand) does not correctly describe the courage and love of a birth mother. Throughout an expectant mother’s journey, an advocate from Tammi Driver Law will stand alongside the expectant mother, ensuring that her voice is heard, that she is seen, and that her needs are met physically, mentally, and emotionally. A clinical counselor is also available to work closely with her, addressing her concerns and fears during the adoption journey. The journey does not end at placement; Tammi Driver Law provides referrals for continued counseling and group support.
The role of our adoptive parents is also vitally important. They are the parents who are eventually granted full physical and legal custody of the child. The adoptive parents are responsible for making decisions regarding the child and providing the child with love and care as if they had given birth to the child. Choosing adoption as the path to building a family is often not easy. Many families turn to adoption to realize their dreams of having a family. Whether they have tried and been unable to conceive, are a same-sex couple, or a single parent, private adoption brings hope for “family.” Tammi Driver Law refers hopeful adoptive parents hoping to be matched with an expectant mother to Destiny Adoption Services and Consulting, Inc. Once matched with an expectant mother; it is crucial that a relationship of trust is built between the expectant mother and the adoptive family. This is often not easy, with both the birth parents and the adoptive parents often experiencing a wide range of emotions; however, it can happen with the proper education, time, and guidance from adoption professionals.
Another vital role of the adoptive family is to honor the post-adoption contact agreement between the birth parents and the adoptive family. This agreement often includes sending photos, updates, and sometimes video or in-person visits. It is important that adoptive families keep their word regarding post-adoption contact.
At the top of the triangle is the child. The child connects everyone, and their needs come first. The child will forever be connected to their birth parents and the adoptive parents, whether the adoption is open, semi-open, closed, or any variation. Love cannot answer all for a child that has been adopted. The fragile emotions and questions that often follow an adopted child must be met with adoption competence, compassion, and understanding. It is important for adoptive parents to learn and use adoption-positive language. It is also important for adoptive parents to have compassion for the birth parents and communicate about them positively to the adopted child. And it is imperative that adoptive parents be educated in the current understanding of adoption and its effects on a child throughout their developmental stages. Most importantly, adoptive parents must understand and accept that the adoption triad will be part of their lives forever, as the finalization of an adoption does not end a child’s connection with their birth family.
At Tammi Driver Law, we desire to ensure that every participant in the adoption triad has a voice and is heard. Advocacy, support, and adoption education are readily available.
If you would like to learn more about adoption, we can help. Contact us to make an appointment or to speak to an adoption specialist at 727.800.6681
*Important note about the language in this article:
As adoption professionals, we do not use the terms “give baby up” or “put baby up” for adoption as it does not correctly describe the courage and love of a birth mother. However, because these are commonly used terms, and we want to make it easier for people to find the information they seek, we use this wording in this article.