Modern Open Adoption
It’s a relationship and a mindset!
Historically, open adoption has typically been viewed as an agreement between birth and adoptive parents to stay in contact after an adoption has taken place.
It has usually included letters, pictures, phone calls, texts and possibly even a pre determined amount of visits each year. Through out the years, it has usually been viewed as a way for birth parents to be able to see their child grow and change as time moves forward. The main focus of open adoption has been one of a contact agreement and how much or how often the adoptive family and birth family will communicate.
As open adoption has become more the norm, and as adult adoptees have come forward to share their stories, adoption professionals have come to know that open adoption is not only beneficial for birth parents.
Open adoption is just as important if not even more important for adoptees. It allows an adoptee to know their story. Where they come from. Why their birth parents made the decision to place them. Open adoption has the ability to normalize many things for the adoptee and takes out the possibility of any secrecy and shame that may come with the adoptee part of their identity. It allows them to know extended birth family including birth siblings. Many adoptees specifically long for relationships with their birth siblings as siblings play an important life long role in all of our lives. Open adoption allows an adoptee to be LOVED by both their family of origin and the family who raises them. You can’t have too much LOVE, am I right?!?!
Modern open adoption is not simply a contact agreement between birth and adoptive family. It is a relationship.
Actually, it is multiple relationships. It is the relationship between birth mother and child. It is the relationship between birth mother and adoptive parents. And, it is the relationship between adoptive parents and child. These primary relationships in the adoption triad are at the heart of open adoption, however they may extend beyond and include extended family on both the birth and adoptive sides of the family.
Modern open adoption isn’t always simple.
It can be complex, as relationships are sometimes complicated. Open adoption takes work. Communication. Flexibility. Compromise. Trust. Honesty. Empathy. Compassion. Love. In modern open adoption, there are still some of the same core foundations of open adoption of the last few decades. There may be letters and pictures sent in mail. Or an agreed upon time to check in via text each week. And maybe two families decide to visit a certain amount of times each year. However, we hope that in these new open adoptions, there is also room for growth. Flexibility. Maybe as trust is built, you celebrate birthdays or holidays together at each others homes. Maybe when your child starts playing sports or participating in the school play, both birth and adoptive families attend the game or performance together. When birth and adoptive families come together in open adoption for the sake of their child, the possibility for love, connection, security, and confidence are endless for your child!!!
Note: There is never pressure for a birth family to choose an open adoption. There are many reasons why a birth family might opt for a closed adoption. We understand that. Our goal is to make sure you have education on what modern open adoption may look like and that you have the option. If you choose a more closed adoption, know that you can contact us later if your situation changes and you would like to create a relationship with your child and his/her adoptive parents. In closed adoptions, we still encourage adoptive parents to have an OPEN mindset. To be open and honest with their child about their adoption. To speak with love, kindness and compassion about his/her child’s birth family. To share details with their child about his/her adoption when appropriate to alleviate secrecy and shame. And most importantly, to leave the door always open if/when their child’s birth family is ready to connect.