Category Archives: Open Adoption

So Many Emotions About My Son’s Adoption Reunion

Letter Writer: I  came across your post “He Wants to Live with His Birth Mother. Now what?”  — because I’m living it.

I am an adoptive mother of three.  My son, now 23 , graduated from college this past May.  Throughout his upbringing his father and I would talk about adoption from time to time and always told him (and the other kids, too) if they ever wanted to search for their birth parents we encourage and support and will help in anyway possible.

None of our kids ever took an interest, until earlier this year when my son was in his senior year of college. It seemed from out of nowhere, but all of a sudden he wanted to reach out to his birth mother.  I knew her last name and the state she last lived in. With that information, voilà,  he found her on Facebook.

My son met with a counselor who specialized in adoption search and reunion and we met with them to navigate the process.  My son asked for my help, asked if I could message her  through Facebook.  At first I was hesitant but after composing what I thought was a thoughtful , acceptable letter, the message was sent.

That was February of 2016.  We held our breath. Will she open the message, will she be open to corresponding, will she reject him? What will happen???

Fast forward a few months. We flew her and her entire family to his college town to attend his graduation this spring. They stayed for a week. Four weeks later my son decided to move to another state and live with them.

So this has been a whirlwind. It has been such an array of emotions. I am so grateful his biological family accepted him and immediately loved him and were open and kind and appreciative towards us.

On my bad days I feel like….. what. just. happened.

mixed emotions of adoption reunion

Continue reading So Many Emotions About My Son’s Adoption Reunion

My Daughter is Hurting in Our Open Adoption. Help?

Question: My teenage daughter is struggling with rejection and misunderstandings from her birth family. I don’t know how to help.

“Sara” will be 16 soon and for the last year she has struggled with depression and anxiety.  She spent a week in the hospital after having a breakdown.  We are in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) together and she’s made great strides, working hard to learn new ways to deal with big emotions.

We have an open adoption with her birth family.  Her birth mother, “Tara,” chose us to be her parents and we kept in touch with her the first 3 years by phone and letters.  We told Tara we were open to whatever she felt comfortable with. When Sara was 3, Tara came to meet her.  The beginning of this relationship was hard, because there really are no rules and we did not know anyone else in the same situation. So we all opened ourselves up to each other the best way we could.

Over time, we got to know the whole family, including Sara’s older brother, “Jacob,” who is 2 years older, and who has a different birth father.

When Sara was 7, Tara told us she was pregnant with twins and that she’d parent them (they all live with her father).  We struggled to find a way to share this news with Sara.  My husband and I thought that the way we reacted to the news would be the way Sara would react.  We told her that she was going to be a big sister, and they were twins! She was very excited and couldn’t wait to meet her new siblings. We all knew that there could be problems for Sara later on, maybe that she would struggle with them all being a family with her the only one not raised by Tara.

We have developed a close relationship, seeing Tara and the three children fairly often, sharing holidays and birthdays.  We have taken Jacob on trips with us (the twins were too young), including camping.  There were always some issues between Sara and Jacob, because they did not grow up in the same household, but we weathered those times, knowing that siblings  sometimes don’t get along.  But they always had a lot of fun and so did we.

core issues in adoption

Credit: derived from “Dew on Water” by photophilde [CC-BY-2.0]

Continue reading My Daughter is Hurting in Our Open Adoption. Help?

More Mucked Up Adoption Advice from Dear Abby

Dear Abby,

I wonder if you might consider outsourcing responses to questions you get about adoption. It’s evident from your previous misguided advice that you are sometimes out of your element adoption-wise. Let me get readers up to speed on this latest request for adoption advice.

Dear Abby adoption questions

Dear Abby: Should We Let Birth Grandparents In?

Uncertain Down South said that she and her husband met their daughter’s birth parents briefly in the hospital at the time of her birth, but the birth parents wanted no further contact. Continue reading More Mucked Up Adoption Advice from Dear Abby

Is Adoption Today Really Better than Before?

Question: Everyone says that adoption is different now than it was in previous eras.

Is it really? Is it actually different for adoptees? Even with open adoptions, the adoptee will still have to process all it means to be adopted. Are the adoptive parents really ready and willing to do this alongside their son or daughter?

I see posts from adoptive parents that show they can’t or don’t want to deal with issues of rejection or low self-esteem or the whys of adoption. They don’t say that, of course. Instead I see them congratulate themselves for helping their child stop feeling those feelings, but it seems to me that they’re really stopping the child from expressing those feelings.

The adoptee’s needs cannot be met when adoption is hyped as solely a positive event. Until parents treat it as a neutral fact of how they build their family, and until they deal with their own stuff and acknowledge the complexity of adoption, the adoptee experience is not much changed.

Really. Tell me how adoption is different these days.

TAO

is adoption better today

Continue reading Is Adoption Today Really Better than Before?