When approaching adoption for the first time, hopeful adoptive parents and expectant parents alike will often find themselves wondering an open adoption will look like for them. The answer is: it varies. There is no “one-size-fits-all” template for an open adoption. Like Tamra says in the video, “Because personalities are different, it’s going to be totally different from one person to a next–just like every other human relationship. Just like having a sister doesn’t look the same for you as it does for me.”
These four birth moms each have varying levels of contact with their birth children, but they talk about a few key elements of successful open adoptions:
Love. “Knowing that you’re loved and cared for makes the world of difference,” says Haley, who relates how powerful it was for her to hear that her birth daughter prayed for her by name each night. Love is the foundation of every meaningful relationship, and it must play a role in open adoption.
Trust. Shantel and Myra both talk about how, because they know they are loved and their children are happy, they don’t feel the need to be in contact with their kiddos’ families constantly. Everyone is busy living life, and sometimes there isn’t going to be a ton of communication or get-togethers. And that’s okay. But because the door is open, and love is there, she feels secure.
Communication. Haley says that if she could pick a defining word for open adoption, it would be communication. “If feelings are hurt, you need to let them know that feelings were hurt. . . I think both parties need to say, ‘This is where my boundary is, this is where my line is, this is what I need, this is what I don’t need.”
Realistic expectations. “Some people are maybe afraid of open adoption, because they think that in order for it to work, it’s always going to be sunshine and rainbows,” says Myra. It’s important to understand that no human relationships are ever perfect–but both parties need to commit to working through the hard parts.
If you’d like to learn more about open adoption, please reach out to us. At Adoption.org, we work hard to help our clients plan for and maintain successful open adoptions.