Category Archives: Open Adoption

It’s 2020. Why Do We Still Suck at Adoption Telling?

How do I tell my child he’s adopted? And when?

Rant: I’m frustrated that these questions still come up (and surprised because my readers are adoption-savvy, so I start thinking everyone is). Who is preparing adoptive parents for adoption telling? And who should be preparing them? What can we do for the current and next generation of adoptees to help them own their story from their very beginning?

The move toward openness in adoption started in the 1980s, which means for more than 40 years we have been morphing from shame, secrecy, and walls of closed adoption => to => truth, disclosure, and doors of open adoption.

But time alone doesn’t mean all adoptive parents and hopeful adoptive parents have gotten the message of dealing in truth and openness. The adoption professionals who are launching these moms and dads into the world of adoptive parenting are not, as a group, doing a good-enough job preparing their paying clients to parent with openness and disclosure (there are definitely some exceptions).

adoption telling from a wall to a door
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The Many Myths of Open Adoption

When it comes to adoption, I tend to go by feel and Dawn Davenport prefers to go by data. *

Dawn founded Creating A Family, a rich resource for those impacted by infertility and those interested in adoption and other family-building methods. Its Facebook community is cross-triad, which means the group tends to keep itself in check more intentionally than groups made up of only adoptive parents or only first parents or only adoptees.

I was thrilled, then, to have the chance to talk with Dawn during a recent podcast/radio show. Regarding open adoption myths, I just know in my gut what is and isn’t true, and she knows by staying on top of research.

A unicorn is a myth. Is a happy open adoption?
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A Surprise Sibling? Here’s How to Come Clean.

Letter Writer: Do you have any resources for a birth parent who has both parented and placed children? I know of a situation where the birth mother has an open adoption but she has never included the children she is parenting in the visits with the child she placed.

Now the parented children are 8, 10, and 15. How does she tell them they have a surprise sibling? As much as I’ve searched, I can’t seem to find such a resource to help her figure out if and how to come clean.

— Shanna

surprise sibling come clean
Continue reading A Surprise Sibling? Here’s How to Come Clean.