Grown in My Heart Adoption Carnival V: Reform

Mom_MAM_AFMWhen 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 , 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!

6 Replies to “Grown in My Heart Adoption Carnival V: Reform”

  1. Good, I am the first to comment. I agree with you about open adoption. I have so many of my family and friends telling me it is not what I need to focus my attention on. However, I feel because so much of my attention is focused on my child, I have to place some focus on our open adoption situation.
    Adoption will aways be apart of our lives. I do not know how our child will react to adoption, but I feel she deserves the option to explore it if she wishes.

  2. Very well said! My husband and I have access to our son’s mother’s information and although she doesn’t want to have anything to do with her son (at least that’s what she told social workers and in writing), still she could change her mind later on. Besides, her feelings notwithstanding, it is still my son’s right to know everything. This fact also takes a good amount of load off my shoulders because what little information we have about her helps us understand our little boy more. Yes, information, no matter how little, goes a long way.

    1. Hazel, I agree. We don’t have a lot of info or contact with our son’s bio father–but we do know things. I think as he gets older, that info is going to become precious to him. Some people I know think exchanging info is a sort of threat to us, it is SO the opposite! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. @Stephanie
    Stephanie, I know what you mean. Adoption will be part of their experience (and ours), it’s our job to support them in processing that. I’m glad we’re friends IRL–we are going to need each other, and our children may need each other too!

  4. My dh is adopted and I think that an open adoption would have made a huge difference to him. He was recently able to get some more information about the situation surrounding his adoption, which he is glad for. Unfortunately, his birth mother opted not to meet him, which was a big blow.

  5. I think identifying information is so important. I think that all people should have their original birth certificates and all the information that goes along with it. I cannot imagine not knowing at least the names and story behind what brought us together.

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