What are the advantages of an open adoption?
What advantages are there to an open adoption?
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edited September 23
is a great option when it is something both the adoptive and birth parents agree to. As more and more people are understanding what a healthy adoption looks like, open adoption is becoming all the more popular. There are many advantages to open adoption when it is an option.
Open adoption allows a child to maintain a
. No matter how anyone wants to spin it or deny it, there is tremendous loss in adoption. The birth family loses a child and the child loses their birth family. While adoption is wonderful, biological identity is very important to a child's development and part of who they are. Open adoption removes this identity crisis and mystery.
In adoption, there are many players. Some who did not make the adoption choice. My children have aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and grandparents all whom did not choose adoption. I can't imagine "keeping" my children from them because their mother chose to place. A piece of paper saying I am their mom does not make them any less family. Open adoption allows for the continuation of these relationships. The more my children feel loved and have support, the better.
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The best way I know how to explain the advantages of open adoption is to tell you about mine. To preface this, I have a more open adoption than a lot of other people, but the benefits remain the same. Open adoption was by far the best option for everyone involved in the adoption triad in our particular situation.
Open adoption is, first and foremost, about the child. Placing my little girl protected her from so much. The relationship I had with her biological father was not healthy and in no way conducive to raising a child. With open adoption, she gets to have parents who have a strong marriage and stable home life, while maintaining contact with both of her biological parents. The relationship she has with both of us is independent of the other bio parent, so she will never be subjected to what a mess that relationship was. She won't have to choose between us.
The next thing that makes open adoption the best thing for the adoptee is that it curbs a lot of the complications that can sometimes come with being adopted. For example, it's not uncommon for adoptees to feel abandoned by their birth parents, or feel like they weren't loved. My birth daughter is never going to have to question that. Every time I see her, I smother her with snuggles and kisses and I tell her how much I love her. Last time I saw her, she was waiting in her front yard for me, running up to my car door for a hug. She won't have to feel like I left her- because I didn't. She will know how much I love her because I can tell her so myself.
Another complication that can sometimes come with being adopted is having questions about where they come from. I can't imagine how hard it would be to not have a thorough medical history or know the circumstances surrounding your birth. My birth daughter knows her story. Even though she's only a toddler, she understands a lot. She has a book full of photos of me when I was pregnant with her, the day I placed, and her babyhood. We've read through her book together and she is so excited to tell me about how she came to her parents from my tummy, it's the cutest thing. Open adoption is so good for her because if she has any questions, she can ask either me or her birth dad. She won't have to miss a minute of her story.
Not only is open adoption good for her, it's good for me, her birth mom. A lot of people think it would be hard to see the child you placed, but not for me. I look forward to every visit, they are treasured hours. Watching her thrive in the family I believe she was meant for reminds me that I did the right thing for her. It comforts me so much to see how loved she is. I know birth mothers from closed adoptions who have no idea where their birth child is, and that seems unbearable to me. I know what she's up to, I know her interests, and I know that she's okay.
My relationship with her is so amazing. We have been able to maintain a strong bond. It does not take away at all from her adoptive mom, our relationship is so different than theirs. She is my little buddy, and I love her with all my heart. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't love on her. She's going to be the flower girl at my wedding, and I'm so excited for it
Open adoption has also helped my family so much. When I placed, I didn't just place a daughter, I placed a granddaughter and a niece. It was a loss for my entire family. Nothing can ever quite make up for that loss for any of us, but being able to maintain contact helps them in their grief as well.
As far as her adoptive parents, I think open adoption has been good for them too. I consider myself a pretty cool person, and we enjoy a really awesome friendship. I make sure they know I think that they're doing a fantastic job, and I will always be behind them as parents. If my birth daughter ever comes to me saying that her adoptive parents aren't her 'real' parents, or that she'd rather live with me, I will tell her to march right back to her mother and apologize. I respect their role as parents and rather than detracting from it as a lot of people think, I feel like I reinforce the idea that they are real parents.
If their daughter has questions about her adoption, they won't be at a loss. They won't ever have to explain to their daughter that they don't know much about her birth story, or try and answer questions that they don't have answers to. Either she or they can simply ask me.
Adoption is a balancing act for sure. But if everyone involved is willing to be mature and work together for the good of the adoptee, and is willing to respect boundaries, I believe that it is by far the best thing for everyone.
Here are a couple of great articles about open adoption that show how wonderful it can be.
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