OAR #43: How did you talk to your extended family about open adoption
prior to adopting/placing? How did they respond? For those with
non-receptive family members, were you able to have more successful
discussions with them post-adoption?
I'm very fortunate that when Steve and I decided to pursue adoption, we had the full support of both of our families. I think they all just wanted us to be happy and wanted to see us with the child that we so longed for.
Once Gus came into our lives, everyone was overjoyed, but also very cautious about our adoption situation. With having a 30 day revocation period, AND complications with our son's birth family (extended family), not only were we super stressed, but our families were worried for us. They didn't want to see us heartbroken, and were very afraid that our dream would be turned into a nightmare, and they wouldn't be able to do anything to help us.
After we had passed the revocation period and we were finally able to return home with Gus, things died down a bit. We were in another state, 12 hours from our son's birth family, and it was more like "out of sight, out of mind" for our families.
However, when we returned back to MI/IN for the first time with Gus, we met some resistance when we planned our first meeting (post-adoption) with Gus's birth family. My parents didn't understand why we felt like we needed to see them (the birth family) every single time we were back in MI.
It was hard to explain, and at times, it STILL is hard to explain. While both sets of parents still support us, I don't know if they fully understand and support our feelings about open adoption.
The good news is that we're the ones that get to decide how we progress with our open adoption. We set the rules and we determine the level of openness that we have.
We love each set of birth families in different ways. We have connections with them in different ways, and each have a piece of our heart and a HUGE piece of who our boys are. We feel they're as important to our children as our parents/extended families are.
I think as we move forward with open adoption, it gets a little bit better. We look forward to the visits that we have with each side of our family, and we view Gus's birth family and Hugh's birth family as additions to our family. We're all one unit and we're proud of the relationships that we're helping to form.
The bottom line is that we do what we do for the betterment of our children. It's not always easy, but it's what's best for them. Sometimes, our families don't understand that completely, but that's okay with us. They don't have to get it... they just have to support our decisions. And fortunately for us, they do and we're so lucky because of that!
I don't have a lot of time to post, but Gus went pee pee on the potty today!!! Very first time and we are SO proud!!
He was in the bathroom with Steve and unbuttoned his pants. Steve pulled them down and took off his diaper and Gus sat down. Steve said a tiny bit came out, then he told Gus to push it out and he practically filled the potty!!!
Steve called me into the bathroom and we celebrated!!! This is SUCH a BIG deal!!!!
My blog that's specifically about open adoption and how our family came to be complete.
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I'm Cathy and I'm a former elementary teacher turned SAHM. This blog has grown and evolved through the years to be my sounding board, then a place to share my thoughts, fears, and celebrations, and then where I post pictures and practice my photography skills. I blog about daily happenings. To read more about my family and how we're connected to open adoption, please follow our family blog: A Completed Family.