Open Adoption Isn’t Scary

When we applied for adoption, there were forms to fill out, emotions to process, and questions to answer. For some of these, we needed to educate ourselves on, think through, and pray about. One thing we did not need to think about was openness. We knew that we wanted an open adoption with our child’s birth family. We wanted birth parents to share in our joy and our family’s joy.

Few people were supportive of us having an open adoption. Most people were hesitant, and thought closed was the best way for everyone involved to heal and “move on” with their lives. Friends’ and families’ opinions came down to whether or not they had experience with adoption. My in-laws witnessed heartbreak as their friends experienced a reversed placement. From their view, it was a birth mom causing their friends this pain. If they didn’t have contact right after placement, the adoption would not have been reversed. Who’s to know, but I’m sure that birth mom made the best decision for her. But for us, open adoption was what we wanted.

I think of it this way: If I were an adoptee, would I want to know my birth parents? Would I want to know why I was placed for adoption? Would I want to know if my birth family thought about me? If I were an expectant parent making an adoption plan, would I want to meet the adoptive family? Would I want to see their home? Would I want to see my child after placement? Would I wonder if they were alive, safe, healthy, and thriving? All of my answers to these questions were yes.

I wondered–if all my answers were yes, what was the downside of having an open adoption? Sure it’s one more family to have relationships with, to keep in touch with, and that can be work. But having another family that supports, encourages and loves a child can only be a good thing. More love for a child is never a bad thing.

For me, adoption is always about love, and that includes loving birth parents.

Two and a half years ago, we met with an expectant mom who chose to place her baby girl into our family. We have gone to Sunday dinners with her immediate family and Christmas parties and religious events with her extended family. We celebrated Amelia’s second birthday with her whole birth family: her birth mom’s brothers sisters, and parents. Aunts, uncles, and cousins all came to not only celebrate Amelia, but also to support her birth mom and her adoption decision. It was amazing!

When I see Amelia playing with her birth mom, all I see is love. Love is truly what adoption is all about.