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3 Reasons You Should Grieve Not Having An Open Adoption

I am so grateful for my open adoption.

Natalie Brenner September 19, 2017

I remember her flipping through pages of potential adoptive families, books bound by plastic and hope, telling me stories about birth mothers and adoptive mothers becoming close friends.

I recall feeling so confused and taken aback, silently wondering if people really did that—had open communication in their adoptions.

She told us of the benefits of an open adoption, told us it’s good for everyone.

All I could think about was how I felt crushed. I was so wrapped up in creating a family my way with my ideas and what I thought had to be the best way. Open adoption was certainly not the best way. Right?

My friend Amber is a birth mama. She placed her baby girl in another mama’s arms years ago; coming up on 18 years. Her adoption was supposed to be somewhat open but hasn’t been. I asked her how that made her feel and her response?

“It literally rips my soul apart if I allow myself to think about it.”

I’ve spent hours talking with my friend Angela. She is an adoptee and she is generous enough to share her voice with our world, particularly the adoption world.

She didn’t have an open adoption and didn’t meet her birth mother until she was well into her adult years. She has shared with me the loss and grief intertwined and mixed up with growing, not knowing her roots.

My friends Michelle, Jeanne, Samantha, and Katie have shared the same.

My son is only one. He’s somehow coming up on two, which is beyond this mama’s heart, but he is only one. When I met him, I knew I needed to do everything I could to open our adoption wider than it was.

I knew, for him, I wanted it open. But when I met his first mama, I knew I wanted it open for all of us.

Because I set down my fear and selfishness, because I decided to not make a decision off of my ignorant ideas and instead educate myself on the matter, we now have an open adoption. And for that, I am so grateful.

I have contact with my son’s biological aunt, biological grandma, biological dad, and biological mom. How special is that, to maintain these relationships for my son? What a way to honor my son and his identity, to let him know we value every single piece of who he is.

Here are 3 reasons you should grieve not having an open adoption:

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Natalie Brenner

Natalie Brenner is wife to Loren and mom to two under two, living in Portland, Oregon. She is the best-selling author of This Undeserved Life. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. She's addicted to honesty and believes grief is the avenue to wholeness. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a lover of fall. Connect with her at NatalieBrennerWrites.com and join her email community.


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