5 Things That Happen Because Open Adoption Is A New Concept

Open adoption has not always been common in the adoption arena.

Karen White August 05, 2017
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1. People assume you are co-parenting

Tell someone you have an ‘open’ adoption and the first thing you will here is, “Oh I don’t think I could do that! Isn’t it like co-parenting?” In reality, the adoptive parents have the say in what happens with the child, and don’t have a new partner in parenting. While healthy open adoptions often include face to face visits, FaceTime, etc, there are not many states that legally require open adoption contracts to be upheld. Birth parents have little to no control over when they get to see the child they placed for adoption.

2. “I could never have someone like her around.”

Adoptive parents in open adoptions often are asked “Was she on drugs?” or “Why didn’t she want the baby?” We often spend a lot of time defending our children’s birth parents honor to friends, family, and strangers alike. Tune into any Lifetime-esque channel and you will see a litany of movies showing the scary birth mom who tries to steal her child back. Even the people closest to us don’t understand the relationships we have which can lead adoptive parents to feel isolated at times.

3. “Isn’t your son/daughter going to be confused by having their birth family around?”

Were you confused when you got married and gained a bunch of family? Probably not, and it isn’t confusing for kids either. In fact the more support from people who love them that kids have the better! Plus being able to look at someone and see physical similarities can mean a lot to adoptees. Not knowing birth family history is WAY more confusing that knowing you have a mom by birth and a mom you live with!

4. Constantly explaining adoption to teachers/doctors/daycare.

Family tree projects, family medical histories, behavior issues. All of these can make an adoptive parent cringe. Not because we have to explain that our child was adopted, but because we know the litany of questions that will follow sharing this part of our child’s lives. No parent wants their child to be viewed as ‘different’ from their peers.

5. Adoption is the center of jokes.

Adoptees are one of the few ‘minority’ groups that are still often made fun of in the media with no backlash. Meme’s are often shared with two babies or toddlers, one of whom is crying and captions with “I just told him he was adopted.” Just recently comments were even made in the political arena about it being announced that the President’s biological child was actually adopted because then it would explain away his ‘seemingly’ disgraceful behavior. These jokes continue to make adoptees feel like they are less than their non-adopted counterparts.

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Karen White

Karen White is the self-proclaimed leading authority on being "that mom." You know the one. The PTO Vice President, room mom, baseball team mom, AND leader of well-behaved kids (OK, the well-behaved part may be stretching it . . . like really stretching . . .) When she isn’t threatening to tackle one of her boys on the ball field if they don’t run faster, or convincing her 4-year-old daughter that everything doesn’t HAVE to sparkle, she is also a wife and stay-at-home mom of three. One of the three happens to have been adopted, but good luck figuring out which one it is, since they all have pasty white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes.


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