Open Adoption

One of my bloggy buddies asked me what my opinion was on Open Adoption.

Open adoption is basically where you adopt a child but also allow the birth parent(s) to have some form of contact with the child. The adoptive parents still have 100% rights to the child.

When we first began our adoption journey I was 100% against any form of contact with birth parents. While I would have claimed to not have selfish motives about it, that's exactly what they were.

I didn't want to have anyone else competing for my child's affections.

After God lead us to adopt from foster care, we knew the odds of the birth parents knowing who we were were pretty high. We'd be doing parental visits at DFCS until the child was free for adoption, we would be trying to encourage a case plan.

So we decided we would just limit contact after the adoption was final.

And then God brought Josie to us.

Not only was she 100% free for adoption, her birth mother had abandoned her at the hospital and due to some mental issues, didn't even know she exsisted.

With Josie's adoption, openess with birth parents was never an issue. But since then, we have come to know quite a few mothers who have either had their children removed by DFCS or have place thier children for adoption to give them a better life.

And when you put yourself in thier shoes, there are cases where you know that the birth parent loves the child, but wanted something more for them.

The comment asking my opinion really got me thinking about it and this is my personal feeling on the issue.

When you adopt a child, they are yours.

You are responsible for their well being, their safety, their health.

While I do think there are situations where it could be beneficial to the child to know their "blood", there are also situation where it would be detrimental to their growth and peace of mind.

I personally think it would be irresponsible to enter into a contract gaurenteeing that you would always let a birth parent be involved in the child's life. Your first concern should not be for the birth parents feelings, but for your childs.

Andrew and I had decided that, had there been birth parents, we would not have allowed actual contact with the child until the child was old enough to decide for themselves if they wanted to know that person.

We are, and plan to always be, very open with Josie about her adoption. There are parts of her birth mothers story that we will not share until Josie is an adult, but the fact that God hand picked her to be in our family is something she will always be aware of.

So I guess my opinion boils down to, it should be your choice. Every year. Every season. Every day.

If you are comfortable with it today, but learn facts that change your mind next month, it is your choice to continue or discontinue contact.

Just know that when you adopt a child, YOU are the parent.

It's your choice.

I know that was kind of flippy floppy, but that is just how I feel about it!


Maura said...

I feel the same way.

I think it is different what you are adopting from foster care. I feel like it wasn't really my call weather the birth parent was involved or not it was the states. They were the ones to determine the birth parent to be unable to care for their child. I know in PA it is against the law for children to have contact with their birth parent if their rights have been terminated. I am always open with my son about his adoption. One day he will have a choice if he wants to find his birth parents but right now I think it would be very confusing for him and would do more harm then good.

When people are not adopting from foster care I think it is a bit different because the parents are not being forced to give their child up but they are trying to do what is best for their child. I think that is a really noble thing. So if the birth parent sets that as a criteria for adoption then it is up to the adoptive parents to decide if they want to adopt a child that will still have some contact with their birth parents. Sometimes that can just be sending pictures and updates on how the child is doing. It seem a lot of families have very happy open adoptions this way.

I think every situation and every family is different so what might work for some might not be the right choice for others.

bri said...

sounds perfect to me! It is totally the truth. When they are adopted they are YOURS!

Whether or not you take on the parents is up to you. In some cases would not be beneficial to the child (and/or your family)like if there was violence etc. or extreme drug use.

But for someone, like you said, just needing a better life for their child, there is nothing wrong with keeping some form of contact.

With Bear we signed a mediation form stating that we would send a letter and picture every 6 mos. Well it has totally blossomed into a letter a week and pictures whenever. We have become friends.(There are still some guards up... we have a PO box that she sends letters to, so as not to give out our address, just yet.) And she is grateful for J and I having Bear and raising him. She acknowledges us as his parents and has never said any different.

I don't feel "threatened" at all by her, and I think that is a very big factor. If you feel threatened... STAY CLEAR!

just me said...

My son's adoption is an open one. He has not seen his BM since joining my family but his grandparents come very regularly to visit and they share photos etc. with thier daughter. The BM does not know where we live and that is my choice but I know that when my son is bigger he will go visit his grandparents and he will come across his BM. As a family we have decided to refer to her as an aunt as we refer to her sister as an aunt. I think with open adoption each case is different. Some open adoptions are just that you send photos through the agency, etc.
I think that maintaining contact with his first family is important and I don't think I could have forgiven myself if I had cut off complete contact with them.
With open adoption you can choose how 'open' you are willing. Will his BM be coming to our house to visit...not any time soon...but I can't say that she never will.
Open adoption is the reality of domestic adoption.

Amber said...

Josie's adopted?

JK...I think y'all are doing a wonderful job with being open with her (as much as you can with a three-year-old). Regardless, she is so much like y'all, it's not even funny.

Missy Harpel said...

I'm finally getting around to checking out your blog. I love the stories so far. This one was very informative because my husband and I want to adopt in the future. I have a lot of questions and concerns and this was a great post, along with the comments. Hope to learn more about adoption as I read! Thanks Nicole!