Monday, April 13, 2009

Open Adoption: The Best Bet


When my birthdaughter’s mother and I first set out to try this open adoption thing ten years ago, we had no idea how it might go. Together we had this infant baby whom we both loved, and a sincere desire to do what was best for her. And that’s all we had.

Entering open adoption was the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken. I am glad that I didn’t, at age eighteen, have the scope of experience to think of all the possible repercussions and outcomes of open adoption. Surely there are frightening possibilities.

I know adoptive mothers worry (as I would too) about who their child’s birthmother will be. “If I have an open adoption,” they think, “then I am agreeing to let a woman into my life who I don’t even know.” This is a scary notion. “What if she’s not nice? What if she’s unstable? What if she tells my child things I don’t want him to know? What if she doesn’t let me parent? What if she changes her mind?

With these real and valid concerns lingering, it is easy to come to the conclusion that it is actually in the best interest of the child being adopted to keep him separate from his birthmother. But I suggest that this view, while often made with loving intentions, is short-sighted.

Denying a child the ability to know where he comes from has been proven to impact his sense of identity . I hope to show over the next couple of weeks through testimony from birthmothers and adopted children, and adoptive parents, that some degree of openness is truly best for all members of the adoption triad in almost every adoption.

There are, as I will discuss and show, exceptions to this rule. Aren’t there always? My own birthdaughter’s little brother has a birth family that is less than cooperative about the open adoption relationship. They overstep boundaries and disregard their birthson’s parent’s wishes. And in that case, the parents need to set boundaries that protect their child and protect themselves as a family unit.

The adoptive family is the primary family unit. We’ll just get that out of the way right now. I believe that the adoptive family is the created family of origin and deserve preserving above and beyond the individual preferences of birthmothers, birthfathers and other extended family members.

I look forward to sharing some of the stories I have heard in my on-line endeavors. And I hope to hear your feedback, thoughts, comments, disagreements, questions and concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.

Stay Tuned!
-Melissa

1 comment:

luna said...

As a prospective adoptive mother who has been asked to parent by a young woman who is not yet ready to be a mom, I couldn't agree more that openness is best for everyone involved. while we are trying to navigate the level of interest and openness on the expectant father's side, we truly hope that someone in his family will step up and get on board, should this adoption move forward.

I look forward to your future posts (and book) on this issue. thanks!