Nationwide, there is a trend afoot in the
adoption field. “Open Adoption” is the generic umbrella term used to describe
In every state, in every agency, and in each
adoption, open adoption is something unique and different. Beneath these
surface variations, there are similarities. One is that open adoption allows
for self-determination, for both birth and adoptive parents. No longer do
adoptive families work in the dark from printed lists in an agency office. And
birth parents are not dependent on adoption professionals’ good judgment alone
in placing a child for adoption. Now, birth parents considering placing a child
for adoption, and those planning on becoming adoptive parents, are far more
likely to work in cooperation to create a plan for the child.
What are the results of this growing trend?
Some are merely logical, some nearly magical, as our fears of openness in
adoption simply do not seem to have come to pass. Three major fears, listed
below, have not materialized, but have been transformed into an environment of
freedom, safety, and peace of mind.
Fear #1 The birth parent(s)
would not let go.
Fear #2 The adoptive parent(s)
would feel threatened.
Fear #3 The adoptive children
would be confused.
Instead, we see that those birth parents that
ultimately choose the adoptive parents for their child are able to move forward
with a certain measure of peace, and a sense of knowing and responsibility that
they have made the very best choice of parents for the children whom they
Adoptive parents feel satisfied that this is a
child that was given to them by caring, responsible birth parents, who wanted
the best for their child, even at their own personal sacrifice.
Children placed for adoption do not appear
confused about who their parents are. They are confident in knowing that they
have a stable, responsible, loving Mom and Dad. They also know that they have
birth parents who, with love, responsibility, and personal sacrifice, have made
good plans for them.
Some adoptive families choose to stay in contact
with the birth families. Others do not. Legally, the decision is the adoptive
parents’, and theirs alone. Most times, these decisions are made mutually, as
some families find the ongoing contact comforting. Others need to wish each
other well and say goodbye.
Whatever decision is made, there is an openness
of spirit and emotions that transcends the mechanics of “open adoption”. This
openness of spirit allows the child to see his or her life as a whole, as an
adopted person whose future was carefully, lovingly, well planned. This is the
foundation upon which a healthy family, of any type, is built. When a child
does not feel that “something” was wrong about being placed for adoption, either
about the birth parents, or by sensing that the topic of adoption makes his/her
parents fearful or upset, the child can grow up without fear that this something
wrong is him/herself. The child can look at everyone involved as concerned,
caring adults who cared enough to make the best plan possible for a life filled
with love, security, warmth, and the best chance for a positive future.