To launch the probe into her closed adoption, Julie McGue first needed the support of her twin sister. They made a pact: Julie would approach their adoptive parents for the adoption paperwork and investigate search options, and the sisters would split the costs involved to locatie their birth relatives. But their adoptive parents weren’t happy that their daughters want to search for their birth parents — and that was only the first of many obstacles Julie would come up against as she dug into her background.
When deciding which type of adoption to pursue, some would-be parents choose international adoption because they tend to be by their very nature closed. First parents are presumed unknown and not in the picture (which may not always be true). Closedness is part of the allure to some; an open international adoption with birth parents in the mix is rarely possible.
But sometimes an open international adoption is possible. Jessica O’Dwyer is a mom who was determined to find and connect with the birth mothers of her children and cultivate ongoing contact with them over the years. Here’s why and how.
Jessica O’Dwyer on Open International Adoption
Growing up, I didn’t know anyone involved in an open adoption. Granted, I’m old, and back then nobody talked about adoption, much less expanded their family configuration to include first mothers. When my husband and I started the process to adopt our daughter Olivia from Guatemala in 2002, we never discussed reuniting with her birth mother. I hadn’t known it was possible. And even if I had known, I’m not sure I would have rushed in to participate. My thoughts about reunion mostly were based in fear. What if her birth mother said the adoption was corrupt (a possibility in Guatemala)? Would they take my daughter away? What if Olivia loved her other mother more?
How easily can a proud parent’s enthusiastic sharing become oversharenting? Sara Easterly is back to help adoptive parents remember to see even the most common things from our child’s point of view.
Aside: my interview with Sara for the podcast Adoption: The Long View was just released! It kicks off National Adoption Awareness Month, which centers on marginalized voices — adoptees and birth parents.. Make sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts (here’s where I do).
Sara’s episode is sooooooooo good and juicy — all of the episodes are!
Deciding when and how to share our kids’ stories publicly can be tricky for parents to navigate, especially when it seems everyone around us is posting photos and stories of their children online. Kid-focused posts are usually met with adoration from mainstream culture, who cherish a refreshing break from the rest of the feed that is so often ranting, despairing, or arguing.