The 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. We’re up to Open Adoption Roundtable #44.
Adoptive parent Luna of Life From Here recently wrote a powerful post about what “openness” means to her. Someone suggested that it would make a good roundtable topic, and I agree! Our writing prompt for this round:
What is “openness” to you?
I kept the paragraph that explained the prompt in because I think Luna’s post is beautiful. At this moment, I think it should be required reading for all prospective adoptive parents, and perhaps all adoptive parents as well. It’s really that good.
Sometimes, when I think or talk about openness, I feel like a hypocrite. I’m not very good at initiating contact with anyone. My mother used to complain that I never called her. And, unlike when most mothers say this, it was true. I rarely call anyone, unless I have a question or something specific to say, or it’s a birthday or holiday. My children’s birth parents probably think I’m quite rude for never calling. But I just don’t call people. Now, if they were to call me, great! I’ll talk to anyone who calls, assuming I’m not asleep. I’ll even call people back. I just won’t call them in the first place.
I vastly prefer letters and email. I can put everything that’s happened for two months in a 9-page letter and mail it out with pictures. Late. I’m always late with updates. I have “late” genes from both sides of my family. You can ask my Dad and my Uncle Joe.
Mostly, openness means that the potential for contact is there. It’s not weird to hear from S or her mom, or Laine, or Harris. It’s usually a nice surprise, in fact.
Openness means that Jackson can call his birth-grandmother and ask about his brother’s teeth. (Long story.)
Openness means that my kids will never have to ask “who do I look like?” Especially in Cassie’s case. She and Laine look so much alike, although Laine thinks Cassie looks more like Harris. Jackson looks like his older brother, which is kind of strange, because they have different birth fathers, and I don’t think Iggy looks anything like S.
I hope that openness means that my kids know we can talk about adoption, their birth families, and their feelings about them whenever they want.
I hope openness means that my friends know they can ask me any questions that they want. I will not judge them for doing so, and I will answer if I can, or if it’s appropriate.
In the end, openness means that adoption is not something to be ashamed of, it’s not something that should be hushed up, it’s just an everyday, ordinary kind of thing. Because openness is just as much about dispelling archaic notions of adoption from decades past as it is about being able to send my kid’s birthmother a video of Cassie saying “hat.”