Open Adoption Roundtable #5: Changes

This post was originally published on on August 18, 2009. Republished here with permission.

Conference tableThe Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community.

This week’s Open Adoption Roundtable question is very hard to answer.

How has open adoption changed you? In what ways are you different because the presence of open adoption in your life?

It’s hard to separate and assign the changes to everything that’s happened in the last 3 years. Adoption made me realize how biologically-centered the world of mothering is. Transracial adoption has changed how I look at everything from monkeys to books to race and society. Open adoption… how to put into words the changes it has caused?
I want to say it’s made me more compassionate. I’m not sure that’s true. I think the easiest way to put it, is that I’ve become more aware of birth families and who they are.

I was never afraid of open adoption, after the TPR was signed. I never had a problem with occasional visits, and I am sad that S lives so far away, we can’t visit her. (Now, I’m still insecure about certain aspects of adoption and mothering, but that’s another post.) I accepted that Open Adoption would be a Good Thing ™ and that it would add more people to my family.

I never thought about seeking out other birth/first mothers. I started at the forums, and I “met” Jenna. I ended up reading her blog. Through a combination of her and the forums, I “met” a woman named Dawn, who also has a blog. Jenna is not at all like my son’s birthmother. Dawn is an adoptive mom in a super-open adoption, and her daughter’s birth/first mother is also nothing like S. While I always knew that there wasn’t a “typical” birthmother, it was fascinating – eye-opening – to meet people who were so far removed from my little experience.

I’ve become very interested in birth families. I don’t like the stereotypes that float around, even though, yes, my son’s birthmother is the stereotype. If I didn’t “know” other people, it would be very easy to see adoption and parenting through only my eyes. I try harder now to see all aspects of them, from a birth mother’s and adoptee’s point of view. I know I’m not always successful. I have my prejudices, and I’ve never been one of the other triad members, so I can’t possibly know everything. And of course, people’s experiences vary so widely that it’s impossible to predict how someone’s life might unfold.

I’d like to think that open adoption has made me more open. To other points of view, to listening to advice, to not immediately judging others. I hope that it has.
Would anyone else care to share?

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