My Open Adoption Transformation
I wont lie, when we first started the adoption process, the idea of entering into an open adoption petrified me.
I’ve often heard that open adoptions are hardest (in the long run) for the adoptive parents in large part because they are “sharing” the child with the birth mom/family. Unlike back in the day when adoption were closed and there was no contact and so the “only” parents were the adoptive parents.
But in my heart that wasn’t what really scared me. What scared me was the idea of a birth parent:
- showing up at our house in the middle of the night demanding to see their child.
- living down the street and seeing them daily/weekly.
- having people we don’t really know, know the intimate details of our lives (address, bank account statements, etc.).
And so when we first started our path into the adoption world, our very first stop was with another adoptive family to learn from their experience. To this day I credit that family with helping give us the courage to choose adoption – they honest and their love was nothing short of inspiring. We also met with our local agency on more then one occasion to hear their perspective, who were honest and actually scared us away from adoption for a while.
What we kept hearing, over and over again, that our fears are common to almost all open adoption parents. But we also kept hearing that they never really come true. We kept hearing that they’ve never had a birth parent break into an adoptive families house. They’ve never had an adoptive family be woken up at 3am by a birth parent demanding to see their child. We did hear stories of some families becoming close, seeing each other at holidays and even having each other over for dinner. We also heard the comment of most often the adoptive family wants more contact then the birth parents. And we also heard there is no problem when everyone just wants to love a child. More love is always a good thing.
For us, choosing international meant some of our fears about constant in person contact or surprise visits were drastically reduced. The simple fact is given the demographics of adoption, most likely our birth mom/family will not be able to afford to travel to visit us without making prior arrangements. So there will not be constant in person contact nor will there be unexpected visits.
I don’t know if it’s been a matter of time, but I’m starting to believe it.
In fact, assuming we are matched with a healthy family, we want contact. We want emails, we want photos, because we want our child to know their family. In fact, we now talk about annual family visits to see the birth family (I just keep hoping they live somewhere warm). We’ve even talked about one day paying to fly the birth mom to visit us in our home and even asking her to stay with us while she visits. Of course, this is also assuming she wants to be part of our lives, she may not want to be and we will have to respect that.
Maybe we’ve been drinking too much of the kool-aid? Or maybe we’ve simply been indoctrinated? Or maybe, at the end of the day, we are really starting to believe that open adoption is all about building a family where all the adults put the child’s needs first and foremost. And really, how can there be a problem when everyone just wants to love a child?
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