Adoption journey

Over the past year, the Lord has been growing, teaching, and challenging our family in so many ways! We are responding to the Lord's leading and are expanding our family through the adoption of a precious baby!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Open Adoption

Many people that know us and know about our adoption have asked or said to us, 
  • "Did you really want an open adoption?" 
  • "What is the difference between and open and closed adoption"
  • "I think if I ever adopted, I would want a closed adoption."
  • "What exactly does an open adoption look like?" 

To those who have asked... 
I am so glad you did because I enjoy getting to share about the blessing of our open adoption!

Closed adoption is history
Decades ago, closed adoptions were the norm. Adoption agencies encouraged closed adoptions and many people used to hide the fact that children were adopted. In closed adoptions, there was no shared information or history much less contact or relationship between birth parents and adoptive parents. This perspective did not take into account the possibility that birth parents still love their child, or that the child may one day want or need to know their birth parents, biological history and heritage. 
Why Open Adoption?
Thankfully adoption specialists saw the error in this thinking, and open adoption is more of the norm today. There are exceptions, where open adoption is not safe or possible (see disclaimer). Also, sometimes birth mothers choose to have a closed adoption, and then adoptive parents have no choice in the matter (except to pray for her and ask God to grow that relationship in His time). There are also some adoptive parents who think that they want a closed adoption, because they don't want to deal with uncomfortable relationships/conversations or they truly don't understand what an open adoption can mean (for all parties involved). 
Do Your Own Research
As we read many adoption books (Dear Birth Mother, The Connected Child, Whole Life Adoption Book) and had conversations about adoption, the more we realized that an open adoption is the most selfless and beneficial type of adoption for all parties (our child, the birth mother, and us). It is important for the child's well being and we want our son to know where he came from, his biological heritage, as well as our family's heritage. We want him to see who he looks like (because he looks a lot like his birth mother:), to know where he got his love for drawing and art, and to ultimately know his roots. We want him to feel free to ask questions, have correspondence with and someday meet his birth mother, while feeling our full support and encouragement in these endeavors. 
Every open adoption looks different
Many people have questions about open adoption and what that means... keep asking! We'd love to dialogue with you!! Every open adoption is different, and there are several different levels of openness which are determined by adoptive and birth parents in each situation. In open adoptions, some share only first names, some meet only once or twice before birth, others email/text back and forth, and some have ongoing person to person visits. Some open adoptions, where physical contact with a birth parent would be detrimental to child's well being (see disclaimer), may just mean sharing the story and history of their birth parents with the child in an age appropriate manner. One of the beauties of open adoption is that it can be designed to fit each family's specific desires, as well as change and grow as adoptive and birth parents get to know each other. 

Our little sweetie
Our Adoption
We are blessed with an open adoption, and have a great relationship and ministry with our son's birth mother. Our open adoption began with a lunch meeting one month before he was born. We began our emailing relationship and have continued to email and share pictures and stories back and forth. We've even created a special blog for his birth mother to follow along with his growth. His birth mother loves him very much and looks forward to seeing him someday and we hope to have a face-to-face visit with her in the future. As Timothy grows up, I'm so thankful to have a relationship with his birth mother. She is a huge part of his identity, and he looks a lot like her too! I'm thankful that we'll be able to connect him to that part of his history and heritage in the years to come.

*Disclaimer: The majority of this conversation is aimed at private adoption, where birth parents choose an adoption plan. In other adoption cases, where parental rights may have been terminated by the state for the safety of the child, open adoption is either not possible or it takes on a completely different meaning. In instances where birth parents are in prison, no longer living, reside in a foreign country, or are a threat to the child, open adoption may simply mean sharing as much as possible about the child's biological family history and adoption story in an age appropriate manner. 

I LOVE to hear adoption stories!! We are still learning and would love to hear how other adoptive parents relate to and communicate with their child's birth parent(s).

1 comment:

  1. What a cutie! Love that you acknowledge this: "She is a huge part of his identity."

    We've been in open adoptions now for 12 years (with my daughter) and 10 years (with my son). I am so glad that openness has provided us ways to help them gather all their pieces for the big job they do as tweens and teens -- build their identities.