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A question for anyone involved in open adoption

I have an almost 5 yr old and an almost 1 yr old. We have open adoption with both bmoms, but very little involvement with our youngest child's bmom and lots of involvement with our oldest child's bmom and extended family. Our LO is "sharing" his sister's bfamily, and he will be able to call her grandparents grandma and grandpa. They even bought him some gifts at Christmas. I'm just wondering how to handle it when he's old enough to feel sad that he has so little involvement with his birthfamily. Has anyone else run into this? I'd really love to hear from any adoptees raised in open adoptions who may be able to give insight. Thanks!

 
Iamgr8teful

Asked by Iamgr8teful at 11:19 PM on Jul. 19, 2009 in Adoption

Level 25 (23,279 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • Yes! My daughter (now 19) has a younger brother also adopted (he's 14). My daughter has been in an open relationship with us (her birthfamily) since she was 7 and we have always included both children in all our activities.

    His birthmother discontinued contact with him and while that hurts and nothing that we can provide will make up for that yearning, he enjoys the "extended" family he has gained through his sisters birth family.

    As an adoptee, I couldn't agree more with onethentwins - if you don't truly know the answers of what a birthmom feels or decided please don't try to guess. It is far better to just say that you wish you knew and that it is sad that you don't know. If you provide them with an "answer" then there often isn't room for a conversation about how the adoptee is feeling about things.
    PortAngeles1969

    Answer by PortAngeles1969 at 2:09 PM on Jul. 21, 2009

  • I dont have an answer but will be very excited to hear as we are beginning to run into the same problem.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:12 AM on Jul. 20, 2009

  • Ours was a termination of rights, but we offered the bmom and grandparent contact with us for pics and info, no contact from them at all... sometimes you can comment to you youngest child about the extended family... it will hurt less if the youngest child knows from the get go that he is very loved by you and your family and that the extended family cares for him too... less focus on the other family and more on you and yours... good luck
    BlessingsBegin

    Answer by BlessingsBegin at 5:42 PM on Jul. 20, 2009

  • I have heard several people who have open adoption arrangements have this happen. In one situation the boy's biological mother is very involved and calls just to chat with adoptive mom - they have become friends and a lot of times the conversation does not even get about the son. But her daughter's birthmother is a very different story. She never really has had any contact despite the invitation being always available. It is not a judgement call on that bm, I'm sure she has her reasons. But the daugheter did struggle. Not b/c her brother's birth family had a high degree of contact. It had nothing to do with that. It had everything to do with knowing her adoptive parents have an open door and her birthmother did not want to call, write, ect.... That is hard. Just like every family they get through it. They support her in her desire and grief. In the other situation they are still little so perhaps there is still
    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 7:32 PM on Jul. 20, 2009

  • time for the birthmother to make contact. I can't say what the future will hold for my friend with her two young kids. It may or may not work out that either one of them will have ongoing contact with their birthmothers. In the little boy's case his birthmom is very sick and is living with AIDS, currently still uses, and struggles with mental health issues. Realistically she may not be alive when he is a teen or adult. He will have his own grief there. But his grandparents (bio) are super supportive and I am sure that will help. With his sister - there is very little information to go by. They met at the hospital and that was that. She never tried to contact since. She can and has ways to do that. Again, I'm sure she has good reasons. Drugs/alcohol and mental illness were not an issue to the best of anyone's knowledge. She was smart and had a toddler who just turned two. But my friend will support her kids.
    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 7:37 PM on Jul. 20, 2009

  • There are very few adult adoptees that have been a part of open adoption so far. What Marlou Russell would say is "tell the truth and use 'I' statements" ex. "I don't know why your mother doesn't want an open adoption with you. I'm so sorry, I'm sure it makes you very sad". Never speak for birth mother. Allow him to feel the loss and don't minimise it.
    onethentwins

    Answer by onethentwins at 1:55 AM on Jul. 21, 2009

  • Thank you all for your input, and I will welcome any other comments that people might have. OTT and PortAngeles, I think the main reason DS's bmom hasn't been available for contact is that it hurts too much and is still too fresh (we are not quite through the first year). I think it makes good sense to avoid trying to tell our son a reason when we are not sure. Maybe it will change in the future. It makes me sad that he has two older sisters that we cannot know. I always wanted a sister, and if I had a sister (or sisters) out there somewhere, I'd want to meet them. He has his sister in our family, but I think he'll be missing out if he can never know his 2 bio sisters. Maybe after a few years we can approach the subject with his bmom and ask if she would be open to letting us meet them.
    Iamgr8teful

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 12:24 AM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • "I think the main reason DS's bmom hasn't been available for contact is that it hurts too much and is still too fresh (we are not quite through the first year)."

    Yes, please don't write the relationship off. I had to take a break and pull back dramatically for a couple of years in the relationship I have with my daughters parents. I was fortunate that they hung in there - they could have decided that I didn't care anymore (I didn't tell them just how much I was hurting from my decition). When I reached out again, they were there with welcome arms.
    PortAngeles1969

    Answer by PortAngeles1969 at 3:32 PM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • Port, in one of the last updates (which we send monthly the first year), I recommitted to staying in touch, just so she knew we take that committment seriously. We will not put pressure on her. We've asked her a few times if she wanted us to come meet her for lunch (a 2 hour drive each way), but we didn't manage to get in touch until Mother's Day, when she told us she is having a hard time. She said maybe she'll come our way next time, and I said that would be fine.

    We're doing this not only to help her live with her decision, but mainly for our son. We want him to know her, even if he doesn't see her often. We will keep the door open for contact even if it is only one way for a while.
    Iamgr8teful

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 10:37 PM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • quote - We're doing this not only to help her live with her decision, but mainly for our son. We want him to know her, even if he doesn't see her often. We will keep the door open for contact even if it is only one way for a while.


    Bless you for that.


    love you sign

    onethentwins

    Answer by onethentwins at 6:27 PM on Jul. 24, 2009

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