I want to share what open adoption is and what it looks like. In the history of adoption, open adoption is relatively new. It has been the prevalent form of adoption for at least the last 20 years. It is a type of adoption that brings birth families and adoptive families together with the child as the center of the relationship. Both families come together to make choices that are best for the child. They work hard to create a relationship that is based on respect, trust and honesty. It is a lifelong relationship, and it is a unique relationship. Like every other relationship, it takes commitment, effort, communication, and understanding.
As a birth parent, I knew that I wanted and needed to have a relationship with my child, and see my baby grow and live the life I wanted her to have, a life that I wouldn't have been able to provide for her when she came into my world. If closed adoption had been my only choice, I would not have chosen adoption. Open adoption was my Divine Option. Having a strong, loving relationship with my baby and her family was the only way I would gift her to another family, a family that she would complete!
We (my family and the adoptive family) have worked hard and been patient and gentle with our relationship. This has been a priority for me since the moment I saw the adoptive family's portfolio. Open communication has allowed us to honestly and thoughtfully share what we wanted to and needed to. As the birth mother, I wanted to make sure that my birth daughter's parents knew that I respected them as her parents; I was giving up my parental rights and responsibilities, and I would never do anything to step on their toes, so to speak. As an example, when I wanted my birth daughter to be my flower girl at my wedding, I spoke with her parents first to be sure that they were comfortable with her doing that for me. They agreed, and she was the most special, most beautiful flower girl ever!
I truly believe that the open adoption design and practice are the greatest and healthiest for everyone in the adoption triad. When I look at people who are struggling or hurting because of an adoption circumstance, it is usually because there are protective secrets or half-truths that don't allow the adopted child to fully know who they are. In an open adoption, any questions can be answered and addressed honestly and then any misconceptions can be cleared up with love and communication. I have seen the proof of this time and again in many adoption stories.
My experience with open adoption has been above and beyond what I even hoped and prayed for when I was at the beginning of this journey. My birth daughter is now 21, and she is beautiful (inside and out), happy, well-rounded, smart, funny, ambitious, and I could go on for pages and pages! We have a wondrously unique relationship - all I have to do is LOVE her. I am grateful that I was able to take on this journey with confidence and joy and be a part of her completing her family.
"Open Adoption is child-centred adoption. In an open adoption, the adopting family and birth family make a commitment to stay in contact realizing the birth family is an important part of their child's world. It recognizes and builds on the kinship network that links the two families through the child."