What Is Open Adoption?
Due to the fact that many people have never heard of the term "Open Adoption" and would probably like a brief overview, I'm starting our story with our definition of an Open Adoption and how it applies to our family.
Open adoption, to our knowledge was spear headed by birthmothers who wanted to have some control and knowledge of how their child was placed. The motivation came out of a basic human instinct, a mothers love for her child and her need to know that her baby is safe, well cared for and loved.
Due to the pain and suffering that closed adoptions imposed on adoptees who had been placed in the traditional methods, adoptees embraced open adoption and helped lead the way for adoption reform and open records.
At the same time open adoption agencies and adoption lawyers sprung forth to facilitate, support and lobby on behalf of open adoption.
The open adoption philosophy can vary from person to person, agency to agency, and law firm to law firm. An Open Adoption can range from, very open to semi open to barely open. The basic thing that seams to be the common thread between the various types of open adoption, unlike closed adoption, is the birth family and adoptive family share personal information, such as birth and medical history. Short of this basic, the term "Open Adoption" lends itself to many definitions depending on the type of open adoption you want.
We would like to point out that we are not open adoption specialists, facilitators, or counselors, so what we know about open adoption relates only to our own personal experience, so here is a little bit about our process.
To read more about the definition of Open Adoption in the U.S. please visit the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse
Legal Steps For An Open Adoption - First, we selected a facilitator and licensed agency that believes in very open adoptions. Then we went through all of the legal necessities for pre-approval required by our State. We also attended support group meetings to help educate ourselves on open adoption. Then we created information about ourselves, got on the web and after several near misses our birth mother, the mother of our daughter, found us. We met, loved each other and all agreed upon the kind of Open Adoption that we wanted. When Madison was born we did all of the legal paperwork which allowed us to take her home until our adoption was finalized in court 8 months after her birth.
Moral Steps For An Open Adoption - We wanted an Open Adoption where letter writing, photos, sharing of family history and contact with each other was possible. How often we would get together for visits would be determined by our birth mothers comfort level and the reality of life and it's demands on all of us.
At first our birthmother wasn't sure how frequently she wanted our visits to be, fearing that it could be to painful, but like many birth mothers once her baby was born just the opposite occured. Contact and visits have helped ease her pain and it definitely helped us as a family as well. We love her very, very much.
Adoptive families like ours make a moral commitment to keep the promise of openness. Much like a family counselor does for any traditionally formed family, a good Open Adoption Facilitator, Counselor or Agency will be there to help you facilitate any difficulties you may experience throughout your childs formative years.
We encourage you to surf around the internet and research some other resources and definitions of open adoption, just like the philosophy of open adoption itself, knowledge, information and keeping the doors of communication open is the right choice, a healthy choice and a loving one.
Read about our adoption journey!