My Thoughts on Openness In Adoption

Adoption Magazine has started a weekly Adoption Blog Hop, and I thought I might try to participate. I’m two days late this time. Oops!

For this week’s adoption blog hop, the optional topic is sharing your thoughts on openness in adoption.

My thoughts on openness in adoption: Openness is good.

Shortest blog post ever.

OK maybe not.

I do think openness is good, but I also know that openness is hard.

I’m not the poster adoptive parent for open adoption. I forget updates sometimes, and I’m almost always late. We don’t live close enough to visit with our children’s birth parents. I know Cassie’s birthmother reads this blog sometimes and that she’s been upset at a couple of things I’ve written. I think that my children’s birth parents are regular people, not saints to be put on a pedestal, although they are regular people for whom I am very grateful. I’m not best friends with them, though I do love them. Well, I love S and Laine. I don’t know Harris very well yet. See? I can’t even say I love my daughter’s birth father. I like him, at least.

A few years ago, there was a lot of drama surrounding Jackson’s birthmother, S. And when I say a lot, that’s an understatement. I turned to an online group for support and advice, and someone said something like, “That’s why we don’t have an open adoption. You should close it. After all, there’s a reason these people aren’t raising their kids.” I was so proud of the group when everyone else piled on her and shouted her down. I didn’t even have to. For all the drama, I do love S, and I wish I could do more for her.

For me, that’s actually the hardest part of open adoption: When I see my children’s birth parents struggling, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t sign our paychecks over to them, because we’re not rich and throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve anything. I can’t give them sage words of wisdom, because I’ve never been in their shoes, and I’m not all that wise anyway. All I can do is send letters and pictures, and pray for them every night.

Even with as hard as it can be – and I know people for whom openness is a lot harder, because they’re dealing with mental health issues, addictions, extended birth families who aren’t supportive, and so on – I do think that, barring safety issues, openness is good. Jackson likes to know that he can call S whenever he wants, although he rarely actually does so. He really loves knowing that he has siblings, and he wants to know what’s going on with them all the time. I see that openness is good for Jackson, and I can extrapolate that openness is good for most adoptees.

Yes, my thoughts on openness in adoption can be summed up as follows:

Openness is hard, but openness is good.

3 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Openness In Adoption

  1. True. We have semi-open adoptions with both, by birth parent choice. We’ve met J’s birthmom, but never L’s. We know some about each of their circumstances. We know about 1/2 siblings for each of our guys that were born prior, and in one case, those born after. I write my letters, including pictures or letters from L mostly now that she’s old enough to want to do it. I send pictures. I’ve opened a gmail account for them to email me from so that really, I get no info on where they are. Neither has used it, neither has wanted to meet.

    We roll with it one day at a time and we know we’re passing on as much as we can to keep these women informed (“unknown” birth fathers). We know as our kids have questions, we have nothing but what they wrote on the forms, or in J’s case, what she told us a month prior to birth and as she passed him to me.

    We pray, we talk, we love. We follow the kids’ leads when they have questions. We pray for healing for all involved. It’s a rough road for those mamas without their kids, and our kids without a biological connection.

    We all just do what’s as right as possible.

  2. I love how you sum this up. It is hard and there is really no one size fits all manual for it, but it is good and worth it. I’m glad that you admitted that you aren’t doing it perfectly but that you are still doing it and will continue to. Also glad to hear that on your online support board, others are understanding the importance of it too.

    Thanks for linking with Adoption Blog Hop.

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