Open adoption is not always possible, but when it is, it can be incredibly beautiful. Not only does open adoption allow for relationships to continue, but it is often healthiest for the overall well-being of the child. When open adoption is an option, its benefits outweigh any doubt a parent might have. Through honesty and communication, open adoption can be incredibly successful and life-giving to the child along with many other notable benefits. Here are some of the benefits of open adoption.
1. Continued relationship
Open adoption typically allows for the child and birth parents to maintain some form of contact. While no two open adoptions look the same, this contact often allows for the child and birth parents to continue to maintain and grow their relationship even though placement has occurred. Not only does this benefit the child, but it makes transition much easier on birth families as they are able to know their child is okay and loved while growing up.
It is often hard for any parent to imagine “sharing” his or her child, but this is mainly a common issue of pride. It is important to realize that children are incredibly insightful and will understand how to differentiate between each relationship. Three of my children have two sets of parents, yet the relationship with each set is completely different and means something incredibly different to them. There is little stock in a label, but much to be said for a relationship.
2. Medical Questions
It dawned on me at my daughter’s first doctor’s appointment. Her pediatrician asked me multiple questions about her family history, and I knew next to nothing. After a momentary panic, I was very thankful that we had agreed to an open adoption. I had access to both parents for all of these questions, as they were just a phone call away. My daughter had a food allergy we were immediately able to recognize by knowing this history. Not only will history be important, but future needs as well. God forbid a child ever need a medical donation such as blood or an organ, but it does happen. Open adoption widens to the net you can cast to seek help for your child if it ever becomes medically necessary.
3. Secure Identity
Read any adoption blog or watch any adoption reunion story and you will notice a common theme. Many adoptees who have not been a part of an open adoption tend to go through a crisis of identity at some point in life. This may look different for each person; however, this search for identity can be harrowing and heart-wrenching. With open adoption, children have access to their family history at their fingertips. They don’t have to wonder what their birth parents are like. They don’t have to ponder the question of why they were placed and assume the worst. They will know which of their traits were inherited and in what ways they are like their birth parents.
Similar to having a secure identity, children within an open adoption will also be able to maintain a sense of normalcy. My youngest two children will always know that they came to us through adoption. They will always know their birth parents and birth family. For them, adoption will be their normal, just as my biological children understand how they came into the world as their normal. Adoption will be a part of the life story of my younger children. If they understand their story from the beginning, they will not have to feel out of place or like they don’t belong. Our children came to us through different avenues, but all understand that they are all equally a part of our family.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on <a href=”//www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/”>Facebook.</a>