Question: We’ve been talking about how to define open adoption. How would you finish this thought?
Open adoption is not…
My answer: Open adoption is not for wimps.
Those of you who have participated in one, how would you define what open adoption is not?
This is the fourth in the five part Open Adoption 101 series.
More Along These Lines
- Returning to the Well
- Our Daughter Meets Her Birth Dad
- The Bastard Conversation
- The Mom Whose Son Left to Live with His Birth Mom
Other Posts in Open Adoption 101 Series
- OA 101: What IS Open Adoption?
- OA 101: Two Key Points for Adoptive Parents Entering into Open Adoption
- OA 101: Open Adoption in 50 Words or Less
- OA 101: The Future of Adoption
- More to come. Subscribe so you don’t miss a post!
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a teen daughter, blogs from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life.
Open adoption is not co-parenting. When done right, it’s about having the mindset of welcoming and looking positively towards what each person can bring to the child. It’s also the understanding that this relationship can evolve, ebb, and flow during various windows of time. – from the a-parent of an adult who grew up in (wide open) openness
Ooh, important point, Ecsma. That OA isn’t something you set and forget. It needs to flow and respond to changing conditions over time. Good job modeling all this for the rest of us!
Open adoption is not always easy. It is OK to take a step back occasionally to assess the situation, especially as your child grows, to see what is working and not working at the time. What may have worked when they were two may not work at five. It is OK to feel what you feel as long as the relationship is grounded by mutual respect and that is what you put forward and what your child grows up seeing.
You’re right, Em. The continual reassessment and readjustment is a key piece.
Open Adoption is a trick and power too used by adootion professionals and adopters to manipulate and control natural parents.
It sounds like there is a story of deceit and manipulation behind your words, Jenna. No one should be tricked or manipulated.
Open adoption is not the answer to fixing the damage of traditional adoption.
Open adoption is a life long commitment to repeatedly pouring lemon juice into your primal wound.
Youch, Tami. I can hear the pain in your words. I’m guessing you wouldn’t think closed adoption is preferable. Or would you?
I’m wondering if your point is that you’d like to do away with adoption completely.
Open adoption is not a panacea. It doesn’t fix the child’s, the first parents or the adoptive parents trauma. (written by an adoptive parent who has discovered that despite infant adoption and doing all the attachment things “right”, both of my kids have anxious attachment.)
Oh, yes. OA doesn’t eliminate issues that come with adoption, but it does give us opportunities and ways to deal with them more out in the open and along the way.
Open adoption – like any relationship – changes and isn’t an “end all be all” for any situation.
I think the focus should be on “openess” in adoption.
Because frankly there are times when open adoption as presented in your pages, don’t work and won’t work – for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes the birthparents are unwilling or unable to participate and sometimes the children are unwilling to participate. Sometimes, having the birth parent in the child’s live is just not a good idea. My kids are all teen/tween. They know their story. None have contact. 2 think it is “weird” that she and I are friends.
I agree with you, Michelle. My own morphing has been from thinking contact was the key, but as time went on (and as you say) to seeing that a better key is openness. (Aside: I think you’ll like the last post in this series, coming up next).
You and I go way back, so you may be remembering old posts here. You may have noticed that the last several years I’ve been including mindfulness and discernment whenever I talk about contact, as I have been faced with some of the situations you mention. My growing children have taught me a lot (and they continue to).
Sounds like you’re having a similar experience. Maybe it’s common to adoptive parents who are open to flowing with their kids’ needs.
Open is not perfect. There are peaks and valleys every day. Its reminding yourself that they reason a birth parent may have chosen adoption is because their life is not easy – especially when your dealing with missed visits. Its wearing your heart on your sleeve with your child – especially when reading adoption stories with them. Its accepting that you arent perfect as a parent and youll make mistakes. Its all love!