Adoption in the new millennium looks very OPEN. Open Adoption is the transfer of parental responsibilities which preserves the relationship between birthparents and the child they entrusted to the family that they painstakingly selected. Each adoptive couple is trained in open adoption and expected to be open to maintaining a relationship with the birth family. The birth parents are trained in the benefits of open adoption but are not forced to maintain open relationship if that is determined to be too painful. The birth parents maintain a relationship with the child and his/her adoptive family through the years. They may exchange letters, pictures and presents; they may even exchange e-mails or talk on the phone. The level of openness is agreed upon by the birth parents and the adoptive parents. They often see each other face to face.
Open adoption is based on mutual trust and is like any other trusting relationship in your life. All of the openness gives the birth parents a sense of security and satisfaction that their child is loved and well cared for. Most importantly, the openness is created for the benefit of the child. It gives him/her the opportunity to know where he/she came from. The level of openness may fluctuate through the years based upon the needs of the child.
Open adoption is an example of love that we are commanded to show as Christians. Philippians 2:1-4 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, in any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done of selfish ambition or conceit, but in holiness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Birth parents exemplify that love when making the selfless decision to place their child for adoption. Adoptive parents exemplify that love when they uphold their commitment to show love through open communication with individuals who made them parents.
- Because nobody ever heard of a child being loved too much.
- Because keeping secrets inevitably hurts everybody, someday.
- Because no one else truly realizes how brilliant your child really is.
- Because it reassures adopting parents that the birthfamily trusts and appreciates them.
- Because it reassures birthparents that the adopting family trusts and appreciates them.
- Because the best time to start talking with your child about adoption is right from the start.
- Because birthparents responsible enough to choose adoption deserve to know its outcome.
- Because adoption is a journey and not a destination.
- Because studies show that openness and honesty in adoption promotes healthier, better-adjusted children and more emotionally secure parents…on both sides.
- Because you have nothing to fear but fear itself.
- Because somebody has to show the media that there are happy endings in adoption stories.
- Because the very best relationships just begin with placement, and you deserve the best.
- Because it allows the adoptive family to begin bonding with their child even before birth.
- Because it frees adopted children from feelings of guild, disloyalty, and insatiable curious.
- Because it frees birthparents and adoptive parents from paranoia and power struggles.
- Because the people who makes you parents deserve more than an occasional greeting card.
- Because it assures your child “This is the future chosen for you be all of us together.”
- Because social workers shouldn’t be getting all the credit for the miracle of placement.
- Because you need each other, and because adopted children need you both.
- Because the truth sets us all free.
Open Adoption Advantages
Advantages for Birth Parents:
- Sense of control: Having the ability to review, interview, and select the parents to place you baby with, usually provides birth parents with a sense of empowerment and control.
- Reduced uncertainties: Most birth parents experience a sense of comfort knowing about the child’s well-being through interactions and updates with the adoptive family.
- Improved mourning: Being able to visit and talk with the adoptive family and the adopted child often provides an increased ability to deal with the grief and loss.
- Reduced fear: When there is on-going communication with the adoptive family before the birth and following the adoption, it usually helps reduce the fear about what is going to happen to the child.
- Relationship with the child: With an open adoption, there is potential to develop a healthy relationship with the child as he or she grows.
- Relationship with the adoptive family: There is an opportunity for you to develop a relationship with the adoptive family. For some birth families, the adoptive family becomes like part of their own extended family.
- Reduced guilt: With an ongoing relationship and communication about the well-being of the child, you may experience less guilt about making a decision to place for adoption.
Advantages for Adoptive Family
- Reduced Fear: When there is on-going communication with the birthmother or birth families before the birth and following the adoption, it may help reduce the fears one might have about the birthmother’s intentions because her desires are known.
- Medically informed: A medical history is provided prior to the adoption; however, with an open adoption there is an ability to seek additional medical information as things may change as the child develops.
- Relationship with the birth family: There is an opportunity to develop a relationship with the birthmother or birth families. For some adoptive families, the birthmother or birth families become like part of their own extended family.
- Affirmation: As an adoptive family, you may experience a sense of empowerment or encouragement knowing that you were chosen as the adoptive family.
- Understanding and confidence: An open adoption provides a greater understanding of your child’s history making it easier to answer the questions: “Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?”
Advantages for the Adopted Child
- Identity and self-confidence: Open adoption provides adopted children with direct access to birth families for information about family history and family trees.
- Protection against a sense of abandonment: Having the opportunity to communicate with the birth families and receive the reasons behind the adoption can help prevent the child from experiencing a sense of abandonment.
- Absence of the need to search: The potential need to search to find the birth families is removed.
- Medically informed: With open adoption there is opportunity to gain needed medical information.
- Relationship with the birth families: It is healthy for the child to have a relationship from the very beginning with the birth families.
- Support Network: The birth families have a genuine concern for the well-being of the child which often makes them advocates for the child and serves as additional support to the child.