Friday, May 19, 2017

Dear Sugar: To the Hopeful Adoptive Mom Who Is Scared of Open Adoption

Dear Sugar:

I was once the woman who didn't want an open adoption with her child's birth family.

When we got the initial pile o' paperwork from our social worker, we swiftly marked "semi open adoption" and moved on.   We just didn't want the messiness of visits and what to call birth mom and shared moments with the child.  I didn't want to be under a microscope, and I was under no illusions that an open adoption relationship would be all happy-happy.  

In essence, I didn't want the vulnerability.  

Everyone comes to adoption via some sort of event or situation. Most of the time, this "sort" is one of heartbreak, or oftentimes, a series of heartbreaks.  The idea of putting our hearts on the line AGAIN and waiting for someone to shatter it, tamper with it, or toy with it is simply unbearable.

So we try to protect ourselves in any way we can.   

Sugar, here's the deal.   It's not about us.  

What you check on that list is of the utmost importance.

I do not think you should throw open the door to open adoption because "everyone else is doing it."  I don't think you should do it because you think it'll get you a baby faster.   I don't think you should consider open adoption because you think it'll be this perfect sunshine-rainbows-glitter situation where you and the birth mom will be besties foreva...perhaps complete with matching lotus tats.

Open adoption is very, very hard.  It is bittersweet on repeat.   It requires continual effort, education, and empathy.   It is nothing short of exhausting. 

And every phone call, visit, text, e-mail, Facetime call, feeling, thought, and ounce of energy is worth it.  

I want you to say "yes" because you know it's what is good for your child.  I want you to say "yes" because you know what open adoption is, and you accept it for face-value.  I want you to say "yes" to open adoption even though you know it means work--for life.   I want you to say "yes" out of education and not ignorance.  

I've written extensively on this topic, and hopefully my authenticity has shown.   I want to give you a balanced, honest perspective and experience to consider.  I want you to know I've been where you are:  scared, confused, uncertain, leery, skeptical, anxious.   

Sugar, those tough feelings do not begin and end with the placement of a baby into your loving arms. Adoption is challenging, parenting is challenging, and parenting an adoptee is a combination and culmination of beautiful challenges.  These challenges will happen whether or not you have openness.     

Challenges are opportunities.   Run to them, not away from them.

Don't pass up the opportunity for openness if it's healthy and possible, don't deny the experience to your child, don't cower in a corner or wallflower during the dance.  Instead, learn.   Listen.   And with those two things, you might just have a bit of luck.  


For further reading on open adoption, consider... (click on image or link to learn more):  

Do Open Adoption Big

"Aren't You Scared Their Birthparents Will Try to Take Them Back?"

-This post contains Amazon affiliate links

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