LEARN MORE ABOUT OPEN ADOPTION
The idea of open adoption might be unfamiliar to you. A few decades ago, open adoption wasn’t even a term. A birth mother placed her child for adoption and was expected to move on with her life, never knowing where her child lived, what kind of a life he was leading, or what had become of him. Not so anymore. These days, open adoption is not only a popular choice, but also the norm. Although there are degrees of openness in an open adoption, basically open adoption is a way for the birth mother (and other birth family members) and the adopted child to stay connected.
Open adoptions are as varied as people’s personalities.
Completely open adoption may include birth mothers as a member of the adoptive family. They essentially become extended family and are included in family pictures,family reunions, holiday gatherings and more. Extended family members know the birth mothers well, and they are often thought of in the same way as cousins or aunts among the children.
Less than completely open adoptions may share regular emails and phone calls, but see each other only occasionally. These families are comfortable as their relationship is more friend-like than family. They share fun tidbits about the children and remember birthdays. Often in these relationships, birth and adoptive families share photos and information over Facebook with each other, keeping up-to-date on their daily lives.
Then there are some families in open adoptions who have specified times and types of contact. They will reach out every month or every other month with photos or a letter. Phone conversations are fewer and personal meetings are saved for when the child is older. In some of these families, the specific terms have been worked out to even less contact, but frequent enough where everyone is aware of the growth, safety, and changes in each other. Some have contact only annually, and that suits them just fine.
In all degrees of open adoption, all parties to the adoption benefit. The birth mother doesn’t have to wonder if her child is healthy and well; the adoptive parents have answers for their child about his/her birth family; and the adoptee’s self-identity is firm. Open adoption is not co-parenting, nor is it a sort of adoption of the birth mother as someone else for the adoptive family to take care of. It’s a situation filled with mutual respect, love, and trust. It’s a situation where the child is the glue bonding people together as everyone hopes for and works for and lives for the greatest good of the child.
This content is for informational purposes only, should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice, and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.