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An Open Adoption Lesson from the Military – Thoughts from a Birth Mother

“In open adoption, in which the birth parents and adoptive parents communicate directly with each other, the relationships have an opportunity to grow and develop, but first you must make a commitment to be involved with each other. To be committed to being deeply connected to each other before we feel completely comfortable in the relationship is highly unusual, but it is not without parallels. For example, in time of war, men and women in a military unit entrust their lives to their comrades without first building individual relationships. Typically, they emerge from the experience feeling a deep bond despite differences in backgrounds or values. Even if they see each other only occasionally in subsequent years, there is a depth to their relationship that time and distance will not erase.”
– From The Open Adoption Experience, Lois Melina and Sharon Roszia, 1993

My Husband is a Veteran

While engaged in reading this book, The Open Adoption Experience, I came across an interesting passage correlating the experience of the bonding between a birth mother and adoptive parents to the relationship between comrades in the military. I found this quite interesting, and since my husband is a veteran, I decided to explore this paragraph with him.
My husband, a veteran of the second Gulf War, explained to me that the military breaks individuals down to create cohesion within the unit. The individual walks into the military with a sense of individuality. Throughout basic training, this individual is taught that he or she is no better or no worse than any other individual in the camp. Essentially, individuality becomes irrelevant as members are re-trained to become a cohesive unit.

Strength in Relationships

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” relayed my husband. I find this profound and relevant to every relationship. Take, for example, a marriage: when one partner is weak and the other must be strong, the strong partner brings the weak back up to a level of strength so that the entire relationship can become strong. Take, for example, the relationship between a mother and a child. When a child is throwing a temper tantrum, the mother must encourage the child to come out of such a tirade to bring peace back into that household or moment.

God Bless America

This idea takes us a step further to relate to the saying: “United we stand, divided we fall.” While basic training teaches the unit to behave and think as a cohesive mind, soldiers end up in different training camps learning different skillsets so that they can function as a team, where each difference serves a purpose, and each purpose unites to serve one mission. While the color of their skin, their political agendas, and their religious beliefs may vary, none of those things affect their ability to serve their country when they are obeying the commands that they are given.
In times of war, men and women of all backgrounds come together on the battlefield, implement their training, and behave and think as a cohesive unit. While they may be skilled in different areas, their mission is the same, and it is that mission that binds them. It is about the cause they are fighting for, and not the differences among them. It is about respecting the unit, not about catering to the individual.

Relation to Adoption

This is absolutely like the immediate need for a commitment between a potential birth mother and potential adoptive parents. While individuals come from different backgrounds, the mission is the same: to give that child a safe and healthy upbringing and life. The intentions that commence must be cohesive, and in times when the child needs all parents, they must behave as a cohesive unit to achieve their mission.
Choosing adoption has many facets, and while there are resources available to help guide the process, there is no drill sergeant orchestrating the entire process. There is a mediator, perhaps an adoption agent, but the responsibility of maturity lies on the shoulders of the adult parties involved. I am referring to the potential birth mother and the potential adoptive parents.
For any party considering adoption, I share this passage from The Open Adoption Experience and the experience of my husband as a veteran to relay the following:
Open adoption is a long-term commitment that requires potential birth parents and potential adoptive parents to behave and think as a cohesive unit to achieve the ultimate mission: ensuring the wellbeing of the child.
~Lindsay Arielle
Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.