Why Open Adoptions
If you don't know anyone who has been through the adoption process in the last two decades, you have probably never heard the term open adoption. I know that until we started the process of adopting I never had. If you were to start the adoption process today, one of the questions that you would be asked is how open you would like your adoption to be. This basically translates to how much contact you want to maintain with the birth family. It can range from having the birth parents come to visit to you never even meeting them. Traditionally, adoption has been more of the later. It used to be that birth parents would surrender a child to an agency or orphanage and then that agency had full control over the family the child would be placed with. This is no longer the norm. Orphanages were phased out in the United States starting after World War II with foster care taking over as the main system managing orphans by the 1950's. The adoptions that did still happen were closed adoptions, where the children would have no information about their birth family. Studies have started to show that this is detrimental for the mental health of adopted children. Curiosity is a natural human emotion and one that has led us to the top of almost every possible food chain. It is the engine behind human innovation and deep rooted in our psychology. Wondering can drive a person crazy, especially when it is about something as important as "why did my birth parents give me up." If this question is unanswered it often leaves the child feeling as if they where unwanted and this is almost never the case. There is a story behind every adoption. It usually just comes down to parents wanting to give their child a chance at better life. One of our children's birth mothers was raped and wanted to escape a painful memory. Another deemed unfit to parent by the state and would have had her baby placed in foster care so she wanted to make sure they made it to a good home. The third was recovering from drug addiction and knew that it was not a safe environment to raise a child in. But all three of them loved their children very much and wanted to give them something better. Since we, as their parents, know these stories we can help our children through any struggles they have with their origins. We have pictures and names and reasons to help put their minds at ease. To let them know they were loved by their birth parents and why they are in our loving home instead.
Sebastian's birth family even came to visit last weekend since his birthday is right around the corner. If you are wondering, yes it does make for a little of an awkward day. But it was for our son so we rolled with the punches and now we have another memory of them to share with him. They gave us a incredible gift in the opportunity to raise our son and we want to do the best we possibly can with him in exchange for that. The same goes for Gabrielle and Simon as well. It is really a lot like having an extra aunt and/or uncle who lives far enough away you only see them when a big family event happens. And can having one more set of people around to love your children really be a bad thing?
I am sure that I will get into adoption more in future posts but in the meantime if you have anything you want to know, please reach out. My wife and I have gone through the process and the paperwork three times now and if there is anything we can help with in order to make adoption possible for somebody else, we will try.
In the mean time I hope this post finds you in good health and of a sound mind. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering...
HOW DID I GET HERE?