Thursday, February 5, 2015

Is Open Adoption Worth It?

The other night I had a tea with a friend (who also happens to be a social worker).  I was explaining to her some of our recent open adoption struggles, and she asked me, “Knowing what you know now about how hard open adoption is, would you still have pursued it?”

Yes.  And no.

Open adoption is a bittersweet, complicated, joyful, ever-changing, and frustrating journey. We have three children and three separate open adoptions. Each situation is different.  Each child is different. Each birth parent and birth sibling is different.  And to further complicate it, there are also two other adoptive families in our ever-growing open adoption family.

It’s a lot to manage and balance. There are always mysteries, complexities, and confusion. A lot of times, it’s “fake it until you make it.” Other times, there’s genuine connection.  There have been days I’m livid and other days I’m thanking God for the access to not only a relationship, but medical history. 

I want to know how the kids’ birth families are doing.  I want to hear about their lives: their joys, their challenges, their successes, their setbacks.  I want them to know I love them.  I do love them.  Deeply.

As flawed as open adoption is, as flawed as all of us to make up this family orchard are, I’m thankful we said “yes” despite our many doubts, fears, and insecurities.

I’m thankful we have photos of our kids with their birth families.

I’m thankful for every text, phone call, and visit. 

I’m thankful for the questions that are answered.

I’m thankful for the commonality of persistence and commitment, despite the complicated feelings that adoption and life-after-adoption evokes.

I’m thankful for possibility. 

Choosing open adoption is hardly easy.  Living in open adoptions is challenging. 

Is it worth it?  The upsets? The intricacies? The frustrations? The miscommunications? The expectations?

I don’t know. 

When my kids are older, probably young adults, I’ll have my answer.   And maybe twenty years from now, if we still have contact with the kids’ birth families, they will tell me if it was worth it or not to them, too.

Sometimes I wish I could see into the future and know that what I’m doing today is the right choice.  But since I cannot, I have to rely on my mommy-gut, God whispers, and a commitment to what I think is the right thing to do.

One step at a time.

I can’t say for sure that “it” is worth it. 

But I also can’t say it’s not.

So we press on, with rose colored glasses on the tips of our noses, giving us the opportunity to look over them or through them.

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