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Open adoption mommies - were you convinced right away or did it take you a while?

I will be the first to say that when the idea of OA was first presented to us, I was not thrilled about it. I'd never heard of it before and had the usual misunderstandings (co-parenting, etc.). My big fear was that the bfamily would be critical of my parenting and undermine my confidence. We were probably two years into our first OA before my heart was really in it. We value keeping our word, so we had every intention of keeping contact, even before we were fully convinced that it was best.

Our first agency gave a list of books for "suggested" reading, but I thought I was too busy. Our second agency gave a list of 8 books for required reading. I resented it at the time because I was doing pre-reqs for Nursing and had a toddler, but now I believe the reading helped me.

We now consider our kids' bmoms to be our own extended family.

I'd like to hear how others felt early on, then later. Please, no drama mamas.

 
Iamgr8teful

Asked by Iamgr8teful at 9:47 AM on Dec. 1, 2009 in Adoption

Level 25 (23,279 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • OP, thanks for posting this question. It helps to know that others struggled with the idea at first. I think that it's a process, and similar to meeting any new friend, that the relationship grows over time, especially if both have the common goal of doing what is best for the children. I think it's normal to have "fears" especially if we haven't been thru it before. It's kind of a "trust" that has to be built upon over time. Thanks, again.
    doodlebopfan

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 11:23 AM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • Intially my husband wanted no contact with any biological family member. This was before we even settled on which adoption organization or really set any plans into motion. I was used to "open" adoptions in the sense I had adoptees as clients who were being parented by extended family who adopted them. Of course the child knew and in most cases there was contact. It was not given the formal name of "open" adoption. I also saw some complications from different angles. I also worked with kids/teens who were struggling with identity issues because they were not given all the information. I don't know. It was a gradual process. When our adoption organization educated us on "open" adoptions it made sense to me. As a clinician it just clicked. For my husband he needed more information and research. My great disappointment was that it has not gone the way I thought it would. I thought if I were open, friendly, and fair

    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 9:56 AM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • it would work out for the best. It hasn't failed. It is just my child's birthmother has some things she is living with that make it hard for her to have a healthy relationship with him or with us. Intellectually I understand but I also have some fears and concerns. Its a tug of war. In the best case scenario I want her to call once a month, for me to send pictures, e-mails, updates, and to visit once a year (we live far away). But she doesn't give us her number, we don't have her address, and I wish we did. But I will say I am going to be much more cautious next time around. I want to have some idea that we can have that healthy great relationship with my future child's birthparents. It has been said there are no guarantees when it comes to adoptive families. Well, there is no guarantee birthparents are going to want to be updated and available.

    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:05 AM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • Sorry this is long. But I also want to clarify the kind of openess we are comfortable with: that for us it would be a process. First updates and phone calls...then visits. Then more and more as we all get to know each other.
    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:08 AM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • Frogdawg, thanks for your input. As a social worker, you have a unique perspective. I do know what you mean about still having some fears and concerns. For us, OA has been a good experience (more contact in one than the other, though) and we respect the kids' bmoms immensely. At the same time, I'd prefer not to have anyone in my life who is using drugs. I've cut contact with some old friends over the years for this very reason. It's different with family, though. We look at it like there are good times to have face-to-face visits and not so good times to have that. So far we've never refused a visit. Both women are sensible and are never under the influence during visits.
    Iamgr8teful

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 10:31 AM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • Was I convinced right away? I had to think about it for a minute. It took me 10 years to come to adoption and during that time I had a lot of fears about having birth parents in our lives. When people would suggest adoption to me as a solution to my fertility issues I would simply reply, "Adoption isn't for everyone." A few times I told people "I will forgive you for asking if you forgive me for not answering you" when asked why I didn't adopt.

    But when I finally opened my mind and heart to the idea of adoption, I went to education. I read books. And at that first education orientation meeting, yes, my heart was changed. Everything about adoption changed for me. Right away I wanted to welcome a baby AND it's birth parents. Once I went to that meeting, I was a changed person as far as my attitude toward adoption and birth parents. For me, adoption and birth parents have always come as a package deal.
    hollyanne31

    Answer by hollyanne31 at 10:52 AM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • My answer would depend on how you define open adoption. Like Holly above, I think I was sold at the first agency meeting on the "concept" but the level of contact is what I took some time to come to terms with. There are some Amoms on here who see their child's bmom at every family event, I have never gotten to that point where she is just another relative that comes over. When we meet up with her, it is just us and it is a seperate (but very special) relationship.
    It is an envolving process so who knows what it will be in a couple of years.
    SandalsKitty

    Answer by SandalsKitty at 12:59 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • Hollyanne, I have to say that you are a more generous person than I am. At one of our first meetings before we ever adopted, there was an amom who was saying that she was sad that their child's bmom had lost touch with them and left the country. Since we're trying to have an open and honest discussion here, I will admit that I was thinking, "Why would she be sad about that? That would be great!" It took some time for me, but now I think of my DD's bmom as the sister I never had.

    DBF, I know that with foster-adopt it is not always possible or advisable to have continued contact. Is there any possibility that you and your son will have contact with his bfamily at some point in the future?

    SandalsKitty, you're exactly right that there are many levels of "open". We had originally said first names only, contact through the agency, but it has evolved into a fully open relationship.
    Iamgr8teful

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 1:52 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • DBF, I know that with foster-adopt it is not always possible or advisable to have continued contact. Is there any possibility that you and your son will have contact with his bfamily at some point in the future?


    Iamgr8teful, the short answer is yes. And it involves 2 grandparents, one who visited him several times while he was in care even though she was not a candidate for placement (I am so grateful to have a few pics of him and her together) and another who he was almost placed with.

    doodlebopfan

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 5:09 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • DBF, those pictures of our kids with their birthfamilies are precious, especially when we only have a few of them! I made sure they made it into both kids' baby books. I was able to give some of the hair from their first haircuts to their bmoms.
    Iamgr8teful

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 5:20 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

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