When Marcie announced the topic of this month’s carnival was Reform, it took me awhile to come up with what I’d like to reform. After some thought, I think what I’d change first is this: I would make open adoption the standard in the domestic adoption.
Five years ago while we were homestudy approved and waiting, we got a call from our agency asking if we’d be open to open adoption. It wasn’t a guarantee that our placement would be open, nor would it require us to make our placement open, but it we would be agreeing to put that possibility on the table.
Five years into my life as an adoptive parent in an open adoption, I can’ t imagine it any other way. I can’t imagine not knowing. Even in open adoption, we don’t know everything, but we have the basic information needed to explore and search further.
I’m beginning to think that it shouldn’t be an option to not exchange identifying information. That in typical cases, the biological parents should meet, in person, the adoptive parents.
Does that sound scary to you? Five years ago it sounded a little scary to me. Turns out, it really hasn’t been all that scary at all.
My reasoning for this is simple: Knowing is important. Having information is important. I’m not suggesting a co-parenting arrangement, or even that both families need to be in constant communication. Logistics may not make visits a frequent possibility, but contact is important. But think about all the searching, agony, guessing and wondering that could be eliminated with the exchange of basic information. Think about the good a few photographs can do for all. The photos of my children with their birth parents are precious to me. Jane’s told me that photos of our family are precious to her. Visits are important. For my children to know their biological mother’s voice? To know her mannerisms? To know her style and preferences? These are gifts I can’t give my children. She can, and she does. I am glad our children are growing up in open adoptions.
Want to know more about what open adoption *should* look like? I found www.openadoption.org , and I think it’s a good place to start.
Want to know what else should be reformed? Join the discussion and link-up at Grown in My Heart!