Thursday, November 3, 2011

We Are a Unique Adoptive Family - Is That Good or Bad?

I will finish blogging about my trip very soon, but I wanted to take an intermission to blog about adoption because it is National Adoption Awareness Month.

First, I want to open up my blog for any questions you might want to ask about adoption in general, our adoption experience, or what have you. Leave a comment or you can use the FormSpring app on the left side of the blog about half-way down.

Our caseworker came to our home to review our homestudy on October 16th. One thing about this meeting has stuck with me. She asked us about our openness in adoption. This is the same caseworker who worked with us through Jocelyn's adoption and I will consider her a friend forever. She is very aware of the kind of adoption we have.

In answer to her question regarding openness in our next adoption, we said we would like the same level of openness, assuming it is healthy and safe for everyone.

Our caseworker's response was that we are "a unique adoptive family" in our openness.


In the adoption blogosphere, I am good bloggy friends with many adoptive bloggers who have wonderful, wide-open adoptions: Ashley, Kamie, Lindsey, Brittany, Jill Elizabeth, and more. I know not everyone has this level of openness, but I thought this was a growing trend. Something that is beyond "unique."

It makes me a little bit sad. I think open adoptions are very, very important for all triad members. I think open adoptions should be the norm unless there is good reason to keep things at a distance. We all have a fear of the unknown, and I think that is what makes the concept of open adoption difficult for people the first time they hear it.

The first time I learned about open adoption was by reading The R House blog. I saw the relationship Mrs. R had with her son's birth mom and her son's relationship with her as well. My heart sang. "I want that!" I said to myself.

I think if I had been introduced to the concept of an open adoption through a book or a parenting class it may have felt scary and strange. But seeing it in motion was beautiful. It all seemed so right. Such a good, good thing. 

I have modeled our open adoption after those of the blog ladies I mentioned earlier. We don't live close to Joci's birth family and don't see them in person very often, but we have all kinds of open communication and happy feelings. I wish I saw them more. I mean that completely. And I don't want it for Jocelyn. I want it for ME. See, at first, open adoptions are often about "what's best for the baby." But then this amazing transformation and growth happens when you realize you are all intricately connected and this immense, unknown love for the birth family comes from nowhere and takes you by surprise.

I am really glad that we have that. I wouldn't have it any other way. On the other hand, I wish it weren't such a "unique" thing. I am glad more adoptions are trending to full openness. I just wish it were happening faster.


Jewls said...

I remember how terrifying openness was when the caseworker explained it vs. how wonderful it sounded coming from other adoptive friends. I think it's something people can't really understand unless they experience it for themselves!

Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal said...

It really is better coming from those who experience it, rather than from an adoption agency. You are an awesome example to us! Thanks for always putting my own feelings into words. :)

~kamie~ said...

i love open adoption. i can't even imagine not knowing that g's birth mom is okay. when i don't hear from her, I worry. a lot.

i am sure at one point in time, I was nervous. it's funny how things are so different now. i can't even imagine not having an open adoption.

i am the worst commenter ever, but i think you are amazing and I love your blog. :)

Tamara ViAnn said...

I didn't realize this when we first adopted, but I think different agencies have different "norms" when it comes to the openness levels that they promote or encourage. Meaning- when we adopted our daughter four years ago through LDSFS VERY open adoptions were promoted and encouraged (we were exposed to situations where there are monthly even weekly visits, visits at the AP's home, very frequent contact, birthparents being very involved etc). I thought that this was the norm for all open adoptions.

It wasn't until I've become more active on national adoption boards that I've seen that the majority of open adoption situations I was made aware of were more like visits 1-2 times a year, some contact but much less than we were exposed to through the agency. I think open adoption like you have with Joci's bmom are more within the normal perimeters that many couples that go through LDSFS have, but not so on a national level.

I miss the openness we had during the first few years but our daughters birthmom lives 3 hours away by plane so it's been a long time since we've been able to visit in person. I can't imagine not have being able to meet her birthmom.


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