Thursday, January 13, 2011

Open Adoption Roundtable #9:

Open Adoption Roundtable #9: Arguments Against Openness
Some people argue that adopted persons should be free to initiate relationships with their first families--or not--on their own timetable. The parents (first and adoptive) in an adoption shouldn't make such an important and personal decision for them by engaging in fully open adoption. What is your response? Do you agree or disagree? Why?

My oh my... where to begin with this one! Since this is MY blog, I can write whatever I want, so if this offends anyone, sorry!

Okay... in my honest opinion, I think closed adoptions are selfish. Let me say that I think it is selfish if the birth mother wants a closed adoption, and I think it's even more selfish is the adoptive family wants a closed adoption. When a birth mom wants a closed adoption, it literally closes off communication and a relationship with their biological child. The idea of growing up not knowing the woman that gave birth to you, if this woman is still alive (obviously growing up with a parent that has passed is a totally different situation), is devistating. Talk about screwing someone up forever.

Sometimes birth moms don't want to have an open adoption because it's too painful. Maybe the thought of seeing the child that they placed for adoption is too much to handle, and they think it'd be easier not to have to think about it. For some, a closed adoption is the only way to go to ensure not having to face the reality of the situation, and having to deal with the loss of a child.

I am not a birth mom, so all that I just wrote is speculation. However, I am an adoptive mom and can say, I could never initiate a closed adoption. I would do whatever the birthmom was most comfortable with, and have to go into the adoption with the thought that God is leading us to closed adoption for a reason, but it's not something I would ever initiate for my own purposes.

I think it's easy to close yourself off from the pain of adoption. It is not easy for anyone. When you are an adoptive parent, you know (at least you should know) going into the adoption that this child is special, and a gift from God. This child did not grow inside you, doesn't share your DNA, and will ALWAYS... ALWAYS... ALWAYS be adopted. Now, if you choose to have a closed adoption, it's so easy to just "hide" the fact that they're adopted and raise them to believe that they are your biological child. Afterall, a baby doesn't know anything other than what they're raised to believe, so if you don't tell them, how would they ever know?

Unfortunately, as I've said before, this is the selfish way to go. I think every child has the right to know where they came from, and has the right to know the person/people who brought them into the world. The person/people who made the heart-wrenching decision to place them into the arms of their family, should be celebrated and respected. The birth family should be treated with so much love, respect, and appreciation by the adoptive parents and the child who was placed into their lives.

I think if done right, open adoption can be the most amazing thing to ever happen to a family. How can there be anything more beautiful than a plethera of people who all come together for one tiny person? What child wouldn't love to be adored by so many? Children are a blessing and whether they came to a birth family at a time where they weren't ready, or the birth family was not able to provide or care for them as they would like, the bottom line is that they were brought into the world for a reason. For a birth family to look deep within themselves and decide to place their child for adoption, it's amazing. They are ultimately giving their child the gift of life and love.

The whole process is so amazing, but when a closed adoption is in place, (to me) you're just asking for problems. We all want to know we belong, and are cared about. I can't imagine going my whole life thinking my parents and siblings and extended family members were my family and then suddenly being told (or worse... finding out on your own or by accident) that you're adopted. It would shatter your sense of being and your sense of stability and comfort. How do you fix that with a child that you've lied to their whole life?

I'd imagine that you can't fix it completely. How would a child ever forgive their adoptive parents for a lifetime of lies? No matter how much you tell yourself that it's for the best, that child is the one who is wounded and you can't turn back time, and you can't take back those lies.

I think if the birth parents want to have a closed adoption and they do not want any contact or information, it's sad, but something that you (as an adoptive parents) cannot control or change. What you can change is how you deal with a closed adoption. Nothing says that because a birth family wants a closed adoption, that you cannot raise your child with openness. You have an obligation as a parent to that child to raise them with openness and honesty. They may not be able to know their birth parents, but they would be raised to know that their birth parents are out there somewhere.

If my son's birth parents would have wanted a closed adoption, we would have gone with whatever they wanted. In order for adoption to work, both sides need to agree. We would raise him to know that he does have birth parents and we'd tell him as much as we could about them. He'd be raised to know that we support anything he wanted to do and hopefully, through our unconditional support and love, he'd grow up knowing that his family are the people who are in his life and give him love, care, support, and a sense of self.

Fortunately, our adoption is open and we do all that we can to make sure that his birth family stays in the loop on his latest developments. I have a blog just for him and I post every Tuesday (Gus was born on a Tuesday) and I post pictures and videos. I send them pictures of him every other month that I've printed. I created a Facebook page just for him and it's only for family. His birth family is on there and they can see pictures and videos of him without being "intrusive" to our personal lives. They appreciate it, and we appreciate the love that they share through his "wall."

So... the bottom line is that I do not think there is such a thing as too open and open adoption is the only way to go if you want to ensure that your child is well-adjusted. I want Gus to know that his adoption makes him special and lucky because not only does he have us, he has a second family, his birth family, that love him. He's so very lucky to have so many people love him!



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