Out in the Open·Full Episode

Opening Up Adoption

Adoption can be bittersweet for everyone involved. At best, it results in a happy, healthy family. But it can also carry a load of conflict, confusion and unanswered questions. This week, Piya wades into some of those things we don't tend to discuss when we talk about adoption.

Piya wades into some of those things we don't tend to discuss when we talk about adoption

Tom Motyka and his wife Michelle from Manitoba rode an emotional rollercoaster in pursuit of adopting a child. They eventually met their son, Shane, who's now 4-years-old. (Joanne Loewen/Lifestage Collective)
Listen to the full episode54:00

Adoption can be bittersweet for everyone involved. At best, it results in a happy, healthy family. But it can also carry a load of conflict, confusion, and unanswered questions. This week, Piya wades into some of those things we don't tend to discuss when we talk about adoption.

Here are the stories from this week's episode:

The emotional roller coaster of the 21-day adoption rule

On Christmas Eve in 2012, long-time prospective adoptive parents Tom Motyka and his wife Michelle took a two-day-old infant into their care. Then on Boxing Day, they got a call from their adoption counselor telling them the birth mother had changed her mind. Tom speaks with Piya about the emotional rollercoaster they rode in their pursuit of a child.

A mom learns to navigate a relationship with her child's homeless birth parents

Vanessa McGrady spent two years waiting to adopt a child. When it finally happened, she was overjoyed. But her desire for an open adoption became a lot more open when the birth parents became homeless, and she invited them to stay with her. She tells Piya the story, and how her experience has taught her that adoption is "fraught with a million hues of loss."

'There was no bond between us': Why one woman put her adopted child back up for adoption

Piya speaks with a mother who adopted two children, whose identity we've agreed to conceal because of the hateful messages she's received about her story in past. She describes how one child's behavioural problems grew so severe that caring for him became unmanageable... and she and her husband placed him back for adoption. They discuss the road to that decision, the shame and stigma surrounding it, and the criticism they've received as a result.

'We are the shamed ones': A birth mother appeals for more support after adoption

"No one ever talks about the birthmother. We are the shamed ones." That's what OITO listener Kelly Garland wrote us a few months back, which helped inspire this episode. She walks Piya through her experience of giving her child up for adoption in the 1980s and reflects on the stigma she faced, the lack of support she received, and what's changed in the years since.

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