Too Much Contact?
When we first contemplated open adoption there were a few things that scared the bejeebers out of us. So today, I thought I’d revisit one of our biggest adoption fears and talk about my thoughts on it now that we are post-placement.
The fear was pretty simple – too much contact with birth family. In fact, this is one of the reasons we chose to do international adoption. (I say one of the reasons because there were a few significant reasons which all weighed heavily into our decision).
When we first started looking into adoption we met with an amazing family who shared their experience as they grew their family through open adoption. Honestly, I still maintain this couple gave us the courage to pursue adoption. When we met with them, we talked about this. We were honest about how worried we were about having a birth parent show up at our door at 3am, or demand more contact or second guess a parenting decision we had made. We even worried that we’d just be temporary parents until the kid turned 18. We worried about competition between us and the birth family. We worried about how we’d deal with hard situations that were always the worst possible thing we could imagine.
They gave us comfort in stating that in their experience none of these things happen. In fact, they told us that in reality often it’s the adoptive family who wants more contact with the birth family in the long run.
And then, the further we dug into adoption, the more we kept hearing this at every turn. At one point we even joked about how it must be part of the open adoption indoctrination, and we still weren’t convinced.
But guess what, only a few months in and we are already experiencing this.
We have not had any horrible conversations about our parenting skills. We have not had anyone showing up at our door at 3am. Nor do we feel any sort of competition. And we most definitely do not feel like temporary parents. Maybe one day some of this stuff will happen. But we also may not. And honestly, I don’t really think it will. And if it does, we’ll simply handle it as it comes and none of this stuff worries us anymore. We get it now. In fact, with hindsight being 20/20, those fears just seem so silly and weird.
Further, not once when we were considering open adoption did I imagine the strong feelings I’d develop for our son’s birth mom. In fact, I’ll admit not a day goes by that I/we don’t worry about her. Almost everyday she comes up in our conversation. We consider her part of our family. We want to talk to her, to hear about her day and hear about what’s new in her life. We already talk about when we will be able to visit her again. Simply, we want more contact. The irony is that we chose international adoption in part to limit that contact and now I’d give almost anything to have more frequent contact.
So, I guess what I’m saying is that while I do not have a crystal ball for the future, so far in our experience this open adoption indoctrination seems to be spot on.
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I was wondering how things were going with your contact with her yesterday. I know that she had been having some phone issues and your contact was limited, and you were sad about that. Have you still been able to keep in touch? I hope that through the years you guys are able to remain at least friends, and see each other once in a while. It seems like such a complicated relationship, but I know that Baby will be thankful for it when he’s old enough to understand!
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I have one very open adoption situation, and one semi-open (only consider it that because they have our full names and address, we no longer pursue contact for safety reasons).
I definitely prefer the open route. I agree…typically I wish I knew more about how my little ones birthmom is doing with things. We visit often, but I always worry about her.
I also worried that with so much contact I’d feel out of place…but I dont.
We did a foster adoption, so even though I’ve had my son since birth, I wasn’t able to make all legal decisions til adoption at 22 mos. Although, most decisions were made by me…some were made by social workers and guardians. But, because there was a long period before termination, I do feel like birthfamily feels they can question or advise me in my parenting. But, when this happens, I simply blow them off, and explain I am mom, and I appreciate their thoughts, but I get to decide. 🙂
Open adoption is complicated, but so worth it.
Don’t be afraid of boundaries…we use them in all relationships; they are just talked about more within adoption relationships. Boundaries are good.
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I don’t like reading that you think your concerns were silly. They were not at all. I think they’re normal and honestly being a fan of open adoption myself, had we adopted, I’d have had the same concerns. ❤
I’m so happy it’s worked out as it has, and for you all, I too wish you had more contact. I think what’s important is that you remember that you’ve left the door wide open and it’s up to her to walk through it. She’ll walk through it more often over time, because you’ll keep it open. She knows that you all love her, and that will give her the strength to have more contact eventually.
I bet you feel like a piece of you is missing. 😢
We are actually experiencing the OPPOSITE. we had to have a ‘come to jesus’ talk with bio-grandma about how baby girl will not forget her if she doesn’t see her every other day. We are lucky in the fact that grandma lives a few miles away and wants to be a grandma when we have no other family support around, but it started to feel like we were weekday babysitters and the baby was hers. She wanted overnights every weekend. She wanted to take over birthday party planning and have it at her house with her family. we had to put our foot down and back up a little. We are still in a good place and I am forever grateful that she will have that family connection. It’s a work in progress.
I don’t think that any of your concerns sound silly at all. Adoption is such an intricate process. I have learned so much about it by reading your posts. Thank you so much for sharing your journey!
I remember back to all of the fears you had when you were weighing the pros and cons of adoption. It makes my heart so happy to see where you are with things now. I know it was a looooong emotional process, but I just love how things have turned out.
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I don’t think your concerns are silly. After all she gave you the most precious gift anyone could give you. Of course you will have feelings about her. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.
There is definitely a cult of open adoption and I’m in it too even though contact is not likely in our situation. We chose international for many reasons (although not that one) and one of our biggest concerns was protecting our hearts from a failed match (which just seemed like too much after RPL). Then we had the rare failed match internationally. Best laid plans and all that 😉
I’m with Amy…..wondering how the contact has been going with all of the phone issues. Either way, I don’t think your fears were ever silly and I’m glad that things are working out so well.
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