My adoption community on the Internet is one that tends to embrace open adoption. I mean, I’m a part of the Open Adoption Bloggers. When I go to other forums, I’m reminded that not everyone is sold on open adoption.
I’ve written a little bit about why we chose open adoption, but I never really enumerated the reasons we not only chose open adoption, but why we continue. Tiffany at Raising Paityn did, and I like her reasons a lot. Some of our reasons are the same.
Without further ado, these are the reasons we choose open adoption:
Because we said we would. This is a big deal. I may be insanely late with updates. I may suck at calling people back. But goshdarnit, I am here and will make sure that I remain in contact with my children’s birth families. (That’s why we’re Facebook friends.) Even when Harris wasn’t sure about signing TPR, we remained in contact. After his rights were terminated by the court, our attorney said not to give him anything until after the adoption was finalized. But I told Harris that the pictures wouldn’t stop just because he signed TPR, so I sent them anyway.
Because I can see how important having a connection to their biological families is. Jackson is processing adoption a lot lately, and knowing his birth family is helpful in his quest for understanding. Jackson has questions that only they can answer. I can only surmise that the same will be true for Cassie.
Because so much of one’s medical life is genetic. Having access to medical information is vitally important.
Because children shouldn’t be put in the position of deciding whether or not they want to know their relatives. I see a lot of adoptive parents say, “We’ll keep the birthmother’s contact information and see if our child wants a relationship when he’s older.” Would you let your child decide if he was going to have a relationship with his grandfather? Or aunt? Or cousin? Maybe, if you truly did not like those people and really didn’t want to deal with them, you might. You might keep them away until the child was older and asking questions, or until he was 18. But it’s more likely that, even then, you grin and bear it a few times a year.
Because research indicates it’s best for the child, and also better for the birth parents. I’ve seen the benefits for Jackson. As I’ve said before, I can’t imagine losing a family member, never to see or hear from them again. It makes sense to me that open adoption would benefit birth parents.
Because we like, even love, these people. When we adopted Jackson and Cassie, their families became our family too. I’ll admit, it took a long time for me to love S’s mom. We had some words in the hospital. But now, I can’t imagine not having a connection with her.
I understand that sometimes, closed adoption is best for the children because their birth families are unsafe. I’m not saying that every adoption must be open. However, I do believe that adoptive parents can panic sometimes, and not see that a temporary problem is just that – temporary. I believe that some adoptive parents encounter any kind of problem and immediately move to close the adoption, when really simply changing the level of openness at the time, until the situation improves, is a more prudent step. Dawn Davenport at Creating a Family wrote a wonderful blog post about what to do in these situations.