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Open and Closed Adoption From a Post-Placement Perspective

I am a birth mother who chose open adoption for my baby over 13 years ago. My baby was 6 months old when I chose the option of gifting myself and my child with an open adoption.

I call adoption a gift because of how the choice has played out in my own life and in my son’s life. He is blessed to have incredible, loving, and attentive parents who provide beyond his basic needs and give him so many opportunities educationally and recreationally to not only grow in maturity, but to flourish in life.

Of course, at the time I chose adoption, I felt like my soul was being ripped from my body. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I was to choose adoption, I would have to meet a prospective adoptive couple who would respect and honor my choice to have it be an open adoption.

It has been more than 13 years since I chose adoption for my baby, and every year I find myself repeatedly blessed by the decision to have my adoption be open.

What My Open Adoption is Like

Every 6 months to 1 year, my son’s mom sends me an update of how he is doing. I receive pictures with descriptions of his friends, family, and pets. She even writes me a letter outlining all the activities my son is involved in, how vacations play out and what he is excelling in whether in school or sports.

I cherish these updates. I have a Tupperware bin that I use specifically to store all of the memorabilia I receive from my son and his adoptive parents.

In between annual updates, my son’s parents send me birthday and Christmas presents from my son. Once he became old enough, he started choosing the gifts he wanted to send me. I cherish every single one!

I love opening my memorabilia bin and looking through the photos, letters and gifts as a reminder to myself that I absolutely made the right choice by choosing an open adoption for my baby.

Blessings of Open Adoption in My Life

I’m not the only one in this adoption triad who is blessed by an open adoption. My son knows he was chosen by me and his parents to have a special life. He even has a special name for me as his birth mother.

He knows who he is, where he came from, and that he has extra family and love in his life. This reality never could have been possible for him if his parents hadn’t done such a great job raising him openly as we had agreed upon pre-placement.

I also have the blessing of visiting my son, usually annually, so we can spend some time together and he can keep in touch and build a relationship with me as his birth mother. I see the importance of this connection for him. I always want him to feel secure and comforted in knowing he can come to me about anything, including and especially his identity and where he comes from.

I never want him to feel abandoned by me or confused because he has questions about me, or even his birth father.

Challenges of Open Adoption

Navigating an open adoption has not always been an easy road. There have been hurt feelings, insecurity and tension in my relationship with his parents at times.

However, when mature adults decide to come together in unity for the love of a child, peace finds its way back always. I am honored and proud to say that I love my son so much and that I love his parents so much. To me, they are not his “adoptive parents,” they are his parents, and I am his birth mother. All the parental roles in our adoption triad are important and honored within our dynamic.

Thoughts for Women Considering Adoption

I’m so grateful that I chose to have an open adoption. I can’t imagine how much worse my feelings of loss and grief would have been if I had chosen the option of a closed adoption.

There have been periods in my life, though, where either I have needed more space or my son’s parents have needed more space. These times are challenging, but if we respect the requests of each party, we find that our adoptive-family dynamic has evolved into mutual understandings today.

I don’t want to minimize any other birth mother’s decision for a closed adoption, and I want to make it clear that I do believe there are situations in which closed adoption is incredibly beneficial. While I could write out yet another list of the benefits of open adoption compared to the benefits of closed adoption, I prefer to say this:

It is up to each individual prospective birth mother to look within her own heart to determine what type of adoption best suits not only her child’s needs, but her needs as well. This is the beauty of free will: we get to make decisions about what is best for ourselves without anyone else influencing our choices.

I highly encourage any prospective birth mother reading this to ask yourself what option of adoption sits right in your own heart. If you need to talk to someone to learn more about the option of open and closed adoption in depth, please reach out to (800) ADOPTION. An adoption professional is available on that phone number 24/7 in the hopes of helping women considering adoption all across the country to make a decision for themselves about what is best for their own individual situation.

God Bless!

-Lindsay Arielle

Lindsay Arielle is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption more than a decade ago. Over the years, Lindsay has chronicled her post-placement healing walk via her writing to share her experience, strength and hope with other birth mothers on their own paths of healing. Lindsay’s blogs boldly reflect that, “Healing is a journey, not a destination.”