View Full Version : Anyone in an open adoption situation?

10-13-2004, 05:54 PM
I am interested in any info on your experiences with open adoption. Specifically those who still have on-going contact with birth parents. How often does your child see their BP, and how is it working out?
When we were offered DD, we were told that the BP were ok with whatever level of open-ness we wanted. At the time, I felt that I didn't want alot of contact. My reasons are long, and I can explain more if needed. Anyways, our agency suggested that we start with letters and pictures monthly sent to the BP for a year. As time rolls on, the BP then are interested in seeing DD around her bday. Social worker lets us know and says maybe a good idea, and we can consider offering to do that each year. So, we agree and meet them at Chuckie Cheese (their choice) and it goes pretty well. I think the location had something to do with their 7yr old son. (we also saw them at an entrustment ceremony 3 days after placement)
DD was comfortable with them, but didn't show the recognition and excitement to see them that she did after only 3 days with us.
My problem is, that while there, they mention wanting to get together again at Christmas! That is only 2 months away. Is this something we should do considering that they are still grieving over their loss? Or, are we setting ourselves up to increasing requests to spend time together?
Yes, I know that there is alot of info about the benefits of open adoption, but how open is best? I know some people that have BP over to their house all the time. That's just not for me, I guess.
So, if you're still reading this, I'd love to know what works for you, or what you would do in my situation.
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. It has been bothering me all week.

10-13-2004, 06:59 PM
Okay....I am totally going off my adoption education, experience, and opinions....
We are in an open relationship with both of DS's birthparents. When we started the adoption process, I wasn't quite sure how I felt about the idea and was very "this is how it's gonna be" in controlling contact. As I learned more and heard more from other adoptive parents, I relaxed a bit, but still had reservations to a degree. Then, we met Connor's birthmother.
She and I hit it off like a couple of old friends (wasn't expecting that), she's smart and fun and socially responsible. She had valid reasons for wanting to place DS with us and they were all because of her love for him. The more we got to know her, the more we loosened up on our ideas about calls, visits, letters, etc. I send her a letter and pics every month (agreed upon for the first year and then 4-6 times a year for the next few, then once or twice a year when school-age....at least, that's the plan). We call when we feel like it, which has ended up being maybe every month or two. We've seen her right after she delivered and the next two days in the hospital, a couple of days after he was home with us, at an entrustment ceremony, and two other times. We have met his birthfather twice and have sent some emails and pics (he is overseas right now in Iraq, so we will have to see how visitation goes when he's back).
The way I see it, and I have always felt this way, is that I wouldn't be a mom without her. And, as a mother, I would always want to know that my child is okay. I never want her to worry for a second that her child is warm and safe and loved. I now know that my initial concerns to control how things were going to be done was just my insecurity about being seen as his mom, drawing lines of involvement, and ,yes, trying to have some control (the worlds of infertility and adoption take away a lot of choices and control). I am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy the openness. We haven't heard from her in over a month and she hasn't returned my calls and, honestly, it makes me a bit sad. Most likely, she is busy, but I would hate for Connor to lose his "link" to his heritage and history. He's going to have a lot of questions growing up and I think that she can give the best answers for some of them. I can tell him a million times that she loved him, but I think to hear it from her is going to mean so much more.
I also have to say, though, that even though I am in a great open relationship, I also have my limits still. I wouldn't want to have calls every week or visits every month. We agreed upon 4 visits a year, but I am open to more. I would only limit visits with his birthparents if there was a strong reason (drugs, alcohol, etc) or if when he grows older and can make his own decisions he chooses to do so. All of this is so not about me or my husband, it's about our son and what's best for him and his future questions. Try to remember that they made their openness decision at a very stressful time.
I'm not sure if this will be helpful as to why your child's birthparents are starting to visit now (as I do not know your personal situation), but it could just be that they are finally comfortable with their decision. They also may just want to see for themselves that their child is healthy and happy. Maybe they are concerned that she needs to know they still love her and think about her. Maybe the "big brother" has been asking questions or is concerned about her. Our son's birthmother has told us that she likes seeing us as a family and especially likes pics with all of us in them. We've also had her over at the house for a few of our contacts and I think she liked seeing his room and our pets. It helps to give her the big picture of his life. It could be something as simple as they want to give her presents for the "gift giving" events like birthday and Christmas and these days just happen to fall within a few months of each other.
Anyway, I think I have rambled. Please feel free to PM me if you want. Adoption, especially open adoption, is hard sometimes and society tends not to "get it", so I have found it nice to know others who are going through it, too.
~Connor's Mom~

ETA: His birthmother just emailed me.....said she's been busy and some days it is still very difficult for her, but that she thinks about all of us every day. And she RSVP'd for his Baptism. Yea!

10-13-2004, 07:52 PM

I'll give you a brief summary of our experience. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to talk more as there are details that I don't feel like revealing online. As the PP said, most of society doesn't 'get' open adoption, so I know this can feel a little isolating.

We saw J's birthmother about 1/mo. after placement and have a 4x per year agreement until he is 18. Regarding the agreement, our agency's attitude was make the agreement, but then put it in a drawer and make a relationship. I know we've already seen her more than 4x this year and the visits keep getting better--more comfortable. Relationships take time to develop, so I think seeing eachother more frequently (especially when the child is young and doesn't need a lot of explanation about what is going on) helps. We have had a couple really uncomfortable visits and I'm not sure she will ever completely 'get over' making an adoption plan. She declined getting counseling, and if we do do this again, I think we may make that part of the adoption agreement.

We view her and her family as part of our extended family. J's birthmother has many issues. She chose open adoption vs. putting him into state care, and we have nothing really in common. However, I cannot imagine being in a less open arrangement. The more I've gotten to know her, the more I admire the accomplishements she's made despite some of her background. She is on a good path now (I could not have said this a year ago) and I hope that it continues.

We have gained a wealth of info. about J's background--most of it contrary to what we were told at placement--that we may otherwise not have known without as open arrangement.

I don't know if you've read the open adoption experience, but it gives a good overview of what it's like to be in an open adoption:

Mom to Jeremiah 2/4/03