“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin
Someone once told me to look for the “little miracles” in my life. As I went through my day, I was to look for every opportunity to be grateful. At the time, I was in the beginning of my healing process after choosing adoption. I desperately needed to find things to be grateful for to combat the depression I was living in at the time. So, I followed their instruction and began finding more and more things I could be grateful for. One of the greatest “little miracles” I have ever experienced have been the bits of communication I have had with my son over the years. I chose an open adoption, in which I have contact with the child whom I placed for adoption. During this Christmas, I am incredibly grateful for the open adoption that I have with my son and his parents.
What Is an Open Adoption?
An open adoption is an option for any woman facing an unplanned pregnancy who is considering adoption. There are three types of adoption: open, semi-open, and closed adoptions. In a closed adoption, there is no communication between a birth mother and her child during his or her upbringing. In a semi-open adoption, there is a great level of privacy, as an adoption agency mediates all communication between a birth mother and her child that she placed for adoption. In an open adoption, a birth mother communicates directly with the adoptive parents and her child while he or she is growing up. An open adoption varies when it comes to the type and frequency of communication that she has with her child and his or her parents.
My Experience with Open Adoption
I knew when I began considering adoption that I would want an open adoption. In fact, that was a deal breaker for me. I had raised my son for six months, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine not having communication with him while he was growing up. The adoption agency that I chose to work with facilitated many successful open adoptions, and they were able to choose adoptive family profiles with families who were interested in a high level of communication with an open adoption. The adoptive family that I chose agreed that we would have frequent contact, as often as annual visits and bi-annual updates. We came up with a post-placement agreement that included the minimum communication requirements that we would have while my son was growing up; however, we have more communication than what was originally outlined in this agreement.
Gratitude for My Open Adoption
The reason that I am grateful for my open adoption is mostly for the sake of my son. My son is growing up knowing that he is adopted. His parents answer all of his questions he has about where he came from and who his birth parents are. He doesn’t ask a lot of questions, as far as I know, but the ones he does ask are being answered. My son’s adoptive parents are amazing at not only loving me, but allowing my son to love me as well. Over the past seven years of my open adoption, I have had the joy of watching my son grow up in a happy and healthy and loving environment. I enjoy immensely the communication that we have. I am able to speak with my son on most holidays. We have annual visits. I send gifts to my son and his parents, and they send me gifts as well. We are family.
The Adoption Triad and The Beauty of Open Adoption
The adoption triad includes birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child who was placed for adoption. Every adoption triad has different dynamics. Some open adoptions use pictures and letters for communication. Others include physical visits. Some hold phone calls. Every open adoption situation is different and beautiful in its own right. Navigating an open adoption has its ups and downs, as every relationship does. The downs may seem frustrating and emotional at times, but with a solid foundation of transparency and respect, the adoption triad can get through these times and come out with a stronger relationship dynamic. In the good times, I recommend just enjoying the ride and appreciating every moment of communication. Even though bad times will happen, every member of the adoption triad can embrace these times and know that they can come out of them stronger together if they so choose.
If you are a woman considering adoption, consider an open adoption. Not only will you find communication with your child joyful and fulfilling, you will also give your child the opportunity to have a happy and healthy birth parent experience in reference to their adoption. I am a firm believer that if we raise our children to believe adoption is normal, then they will grow up to embrace their past, instead of suffering from any potential trauma. If you are considering choosing an open adoption and have questions about what that might look like for you, please contact an adoption professional today. Be encouraged! While adoption is the hardest decision I have ever made, my open adoption is part of why it is the best decision I could have ever made.
This is the tenth post in a 12-part series on gratitude in adoption. Stay tuned for more.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption seven years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.