Thursday, November 5, 2009

Adoption Question 3

Because November is National Adoption Month, I'm going to answer any questions you care to ask me about my adoption experience. Please post questions in the comments area at the bottom of any post. You can even post anonymously if you'd like.

What Is an Open Adoption and Why Did You Choose One?

Defining open adoption is actual tricky since it is actually very broad. In open adoption, both families know information about each other and communicate with each other. The birth mom/family select the adoptive family themselve rather than relying on the agency to make a match. Usually the adoptive family and birth mother/family meet. Then ongoing communcation such as letters and pictures are sent from the adoptive family to the birth family for either a set amount of time or indefinitely. In even "opener" adoptions (hey, Shakespeare created words, why can't I?) communication could involve phone calls and visits.

When we first started our adoption process, we weren't exactly sure what kind of adoption we wanted. As we researched the options and made friends with other adoptive families with different kinds of relationships with their birth families, the answer for our situation became very clear. We wanted our adoption to be the "openest" kind. Here's why.

Research has shown that open adoptions are healthier on all involved with an adoption. We know and love our birth family. They know and love us. Meeting them and bonding with them gave us confidence that they would go through with their decision. And same for them - meeting us reaffirmed their decision to place. These people gave us their baby, their flesh. And they did it out of love. They deserve to know how she's doing and see pictures of her happy and healthy. They deserve updates. Not only do they deserve it, but it helps them heal and feel at peace with their decision.

Jocelyn will never have to search for her birth family. She'll never have to wonder where she got her features or personality quirks. No secret curiosity about her birth family and fear of hurting us if she expresses that. She will have a place to go to get answers I don't have - everything from why are my earlobes detached to why did you decide to place me? Besides, Jocelyn has two biological half-brothers and one biological sister. They can't be responsible for the decision of their parents and they all have a right to know each other and have relationships with each other. And another bonus is that we have a lot more medical, geneological, and historical information about Joci.

For us, having and open adoption is not about sending letters and pictures out of obligation or gratitude. It's about four adults who loved this baby so much that we all wanted what was best for her. We are all partners in her life and happiness. It's about her having a relationship with her birth family. I don't see how in any way it's a bad thing to have four parents who love you more than life itself.

Open adoption isn't for everyone, and it isn't always feasible in every situation. But I believe that when it is a possibility, it's truly the best way to go.

our beloved birth mom on placement day

1 comment:

Liz Smith said...

that picture is definitely worth a thousand words. I can definitely see an immense amount of love in that mother's eyes. right now, i can't think of anything more beautiful and unselfish than adoption.


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