We are close to my son’s birth mother. We email, text, and talk to each other like we’re family. When she got engaged, she asked me to be her matron of honor. She came trick or treating with us and spent the night afterward . . . and we stayed up too late laughing and crying. In the beginning as we got to know each other, we both took a leap of faith . . . we trusted her with our hearts and, ultimately, she chose to trust us with her son. Our friendship has continued to grow over the years and I see our future continuing on this beautiful path. This is our relationship. It is great and it works well for us. We all feel like we’ve had so much goodness added to our lives.

People often tell me how unique they think Lindsey’s and my relationship is . . . but it doesn’t have to be. And if you want a successful adoption story, here’s the key. Are you ready? This is big.

Be honest.

Be honest. That’s all. Be honest.

Be honest with yourself. Know what it is that you are and are not comfortable with. Lindsey and I are close. But maybe that seems too close for you. Maybe that’s not how you want things to be. That’s okay. Be honest with yourself to figure out your own personal boundaries. Though open adoption has shown to be beneficial for the child, birth mother, and adoptive family . . . perhaps openness scares you. Perhaps you’re not naturally a very open person. There’s nothing wrong with that. Do what feels right to you and your personality. Understand what is right for you and your family.

Be honest with the expectant mother. If you don’t want close contact, please, please be honest with the expectant mother. Please. I can’t imagine anything more heartbreaking than placing your baby with a family who has promised openness only to find out that you were fed lies. Imagine this scenario: you are connected with a birth mother. She lives close by and is unsure about the whole situation herself, but would like to have monthly visits the first year. You are uncomfortable with that. What do you do? May I make a suggestion? Be honest. Explain that you aren’t sure you can commit to monthly visits, but you feel confident you’d be able to plan _____ visits in the year. If you are unsure how you want it to all work out, then take time and think it through. Do not over-promise anything because it has the potential to turn into lies. And that only causes damage.

Honesty doesn’t mean you avoid all pain, but it does ensure that you avoid some unnecessary pain.

Ever since I can remember I’ve been told that honesty is the best policy. Honesty doesn’t mean you avoid all pain, but it does ensure that you avoid some unnecessary pain. When you are honest in your adoption journey, then you never have to backtrack, you never have to avoid phone calls, you never have to feel guilty, and you have the added bonus of being filled with peace. Lindsey and I are close because in the beginning, we were honest. She was upfront with her questions for us and what she was looking for in a family. We were honest about how we felt and how we planned to move forward in our relationship. We were honest in our answers about how we approach parenting and how we plan to create and raise our family. And because of it, we have all become family.

When I think about other “secrets” to creating a successful open adoption, it all goes back to just being honest with each other.

Honesty. It really is the best policy.

To learn more about open adoption, click here.