Is Your Spouse Hesitant About Open Adoption?

Here are just a few great resources on openness in adoption to share with them.

Stacey Stark July 17, 2017

Open adoptions are becoming commonplace in the realm of domestic infant adoption. Maybe you are already in agreement, but perhaps you and your spouse do not see eye to eye on what level of openness you are each comfortable with. This is an important discussion to have ahead of time and be honest with each other about. It is critical to never over-promise a level of contact to an expectant parent considering an adoption plan unless you are committed to following through with that agreement.

Openness in adoption exists on a continuum and can be as unique as any other relationship. Many prospective adoptive parents have never had any experience with openness, and their uncertainty is rooted in fear and misunderstanding. Thankfully there are some excellent resources that you can go through together to prompt discussion on the topic!

Were you and your spouse on the same page? If there are additional resources you have found helpful, we hope you will share!

Are you ready to pursue a domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with a compassionate, experienced adoption professional who can help get you started on the journey of a lifetime.

1. Books

There are a number of great books on the topic of open adoption, such as The Open Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole by Lori Holden with insightful contributions from Crystal Hass, her daughter's birth mom. One of the required books for our home study was Making Room I Our Hearts: Keeping Family Ties through Open Adoption by Mickey Duxbury. Consider asking your adoption professional for any other book recommendations.

Adoptee Stories
2. Adoptee Stories

The real experts on open adoption are adoptees themselves! Read a great interview with Taylor, an adult adoptee who shares what it was like growing up having a relationship with her birth mom. Angela Tucker is a transracial adoptee who shares what it was like reuniting with her birth family as an adult.

"Understanding Open Adoption" Documentary
3. "Understanding Open Adoption" Documentary

The Donaldson Adoption Institute, a leader in adoption research, education, and advocacy, produced an hour long documentary called "Understanding Open Adoption" that is available to view online. The interviews with adoption professionals, birth parents, and adoptees who are living open adoption should open up some helpful discussion between you and your spouse.

Academic Studies
4. Academic Studies

If you or your spouse prefer more academic based research, also from the Donaldson Adoption Institute is a fascinating study published in 2012 and available online called Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections by Deborah H. Siegel, Ph.D., and Susan Livingston Smith, LCSW.

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Birth Parent Perspectives
5. Birth Parent Perspectives

Many prospective adoptive parents are fearful of open adoption due to negative preconceptions about birth parents who place their children for adoption. Read (and watch!) the stories of birth mothers like Melissa to help understand openness from another perspective. In her memoir God and Jetfire: Confessions of a Birth Mother, author Amy Seek beautifully describes the tension between grief and gratefulness she experiences in the open adoption of her son.

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Webinar Courses
6. Webinar Courses

If your agency requires specific adoption training (or even if it doesn't!), there are training webinars available that might meet those requirements. Adoption Learning Partners is one such online training provider. "Open Adoption 101: What to Consider, How to Establish, and Ways to Stay Connected" is available for a small fee for you and your spouse to walk through together. 

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Stacey Stark

Stacey lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and is mom to two young kiddos via local, open, domestic infant adoption (did you catch all that?). She works part-time as a nonprofit bookkeeper, and spends the rest of her time going on adventures with her family, reading, and drinking lots of coffee. She is passionate about openness in adoption, and you can connect with her further on Facebook or Instagram.

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