“Openness gives children the gifts of possibilities, for now and for the future. It’s not a cure-all, but it creates the possibility for a stronger sense of permanence and identity.”
Patricia Martinez Dormer
Adoptive families worry about the birth mother wanting the baby. This is a common thought. It is often a true thought. With that said, it is rarely a reality. The birth family does love and want their child. In fact the love is deep enough that they are willing to place their child for adoption because they feel they child will have better opportunities. A birth mothers regret for placing their child has very little to do with the placement or the openness. The regret comes from not being able to care for their child.
Birth mothers worry that they will never know where their baby is and if his or her life is okay. We will not accept families that are only interested in a closed adoption. We train our adoptive families in openness and the relationship with the birth family. We have a post placement department that facilitates ensuring that relationship continues with pictures, letters, phones calls, or whatever both families have worked out.
Adoptive families worry about being judged or told how to parent. Birth parents do not have a desire to judge or have the opportunity to parent the child. Most of the birth parents we have worked with want to see the family and the baby to reinforce that they have made a good decision by placing their child with you. They also like to share the knowledge they have about this child. This includes sharing family traits, what worked with their other children, how to care for hair or skin, or just other ideas.
Birth mothers worry that the adoptive family is being nice just to get the baby. We have seen many families cry for the sadness the birth mother may be feeling. Adoptive families will call the agency to see how their birth mother is doing. Many families want the birth families to be part of the child’s life and hope they can build a lasting relationship.
Many adoptive families say that an open adoption will be confusing to the child. The birth family does not live with you or parent the child. The child knows who provides for their day to day needs and who loves them from a distance. A child can tell the difference between their parents and their aunts and uncles, so why not their birth parents. Honesty and openness is much less confusing than holding back information.
Benefits of an Open adoption:
- Choose the placement
- Less guilt and pain
- Helps deal with pain and loss
- Comforting to know the child’s wellbeing
- Potential to develop a loving relationship
- Empathy for birth mother
- Less fear of birth family
- Have more access to the child’s history
- Authentic relationship with the birth family
- Doing what is best for the child
- Lessens fantasies
- Questions about their identity can be answered
- Exposure to racial and ethical background
- Eases feelings of abandonment
- Lessens loyalty conflict
- Increases circle of supportive adults
- Preservation of the connection to the extended birth family
A child can never be loved too much. Be open and honest. Build a relationship between your families.