When I was pregnant, open adoption was not something I had heard about. It seemed that after placement, the birth mother was expected to walk away and never speak of that child again. Being pregnant and considering adoption, I knew I could not do that. Being a birth mother now, I know that’s not how it happens, even in closed adoptions. However, after learning more about openness in adoptions and the benefits it provides to the child and birth families, I knew it was what I needed to do.
Here are 4 reasons I chose an open adoption for my child:
1) So he could see my love for him.
The couple I chose for my son is amazing. They try to reinforce the love that was behind my decision to place him for adoption. They keep pictures of me, and I am a regular name throughout their household. I’m confident that if, for whatever reason, the adoption were to close, he would still only hear words of love about his birth mother. I know he loves me and, most importantly, he knows that I love him.
In an open adoption, I’m able to show him how much I love him. I’m able to make promises to him and keep them. I’m able to give him a hug and tell him how much he means to me. I’m able to physically look at him, play with him, attend important life events for him. He will never have to sit up late at night and wonder if I abandoned him, or contemplate why he “wasn’t good enough” for me to raise. He will always know—because he will always be able to hear the words “I love you” from my mouth.
2) To ensure he’s happy.
I absolutely knew that his parents would be able to physically take care of him. That’s a huge reason why I chose adoption, because I could not have provided him with that stability at the time. However, once his immediate physical needs were met, I was cautious about his emotional well-being. For a completely selfish reason, I wanted an open adoption so I could know if he was happy or not.
This was years ago, before I knew his parents like I do now, but I was afraid that he would grow up unhappy. That fear has been diminished, thanks to open adoption. I’ve seen the childhood joy that comes when he wrestles with his dad, as well as the sense of pride as he learns to speak Chinese with his mom. It’s a happiness I could have given him so it’s a happiness I wanted to make sure he was provided. And it has been provided. Like I mentioned earlier, that fear of his unhappiness has been diminished because of open adoption.
3) So he could have access to medical history.
I can’t imagine raising a child, or living my own life, and not knowing what medical issues I was predisposed to. My family has a medical history from diabetes to depression. We have diseases that only affect women, or ones that only come to fruition in the early 20’s. There are things that didn’t come up as issues until after I had placed him for adoption. With open adoption, he has full access to these. Even his birth father, who chooses a milder version of openness, is available for current medical history. It comforts me to know that he doesn’t have to address these issues without knowing what could be a possibility. Since I have the personality type that overthinks things, it also comforts me to know that his kids will be able to know their medical history as well.
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4) To love him firsthand, forever.
There are many heartbreaking things that come with adoption. Of course, my son’s needs were more important than my broken heart, so I placed him with a family that could give him more than I could. However, in an open adoption I have the chance to be there for birthday parties, for baseball games, or piano recitals. I’m given the opportunity to “be there” as much as a birth parent can. Considering the potential of a closed adoption, I never want to take for granted what his parents have given me. I have the opportunity to love him, firsthand. Him feeling the love I have for him didn’t end when those papers were signed, and it never has to end. He has a mother and father, he has a stable home, and he now has me and my family to love him as well.
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