For the past couple of months I’ve been meaning to write a post on why we have chosen to have an open adoption. I finally got around to writing it! This is just a summary of our thoughts on open adoption, but I hope it will give you some insight into our journey & into open adoption.
*I realize that we are very new to adoption and all of the complexities involved. I’m writing about this topic from our own experiences and choices. We’ve made our decisions based on multiple factors. We have done our own research, been given adoption resources, prayed about this decision and talked to people about their experience with adoption. I know many of you may have different experiences or opinions about open adoption. Although I believe this is the best decision for our family, I realize it might not always be the best choice for others.
Our definition of “open adoption” goes something like this:
Open adoption means we will enter into a commitment with Baby K’s birth mother to be a part of each others' lives. In a way, an open adoption is like marriage. Our family and the birth family will be connected because of our love for Baby K. Through open adoption, Baby K’s birth mother will become a part of our “family.” We will be making this commitment to open adoption and our baby’s birth mother in hopes that Baby K will have the opportunity to have a connection with his/her biological family. Open adoption is very flexible but it basically means that we are committed to communicating regularly with our baby's birth mother & family throughout his/her life. The amount of communication we have with Baby K’s birth family will most likely change over the years based on each of our needs, circumstances, etc. We know that, more than likely, Baby K’s birth mother will come from a different background than us. She may have different beliefs, lead a different kind of lifestyle, make choices we don’t always understand or agree with, etc. Regardless, we will show her love, welcome her into our lives & work through our differences to build a relationship. Just like most relationships, we realize the relationship with Baby K’s birth family will require work, communication, and empathy. We know it will not be easy, but we believe it will be worth it.
A few side notes on open adoption:
Open adoption is not legally binding. We enter into this “commitment” in good faith that the other party will put in the work to maintain the open relationship. On our end, we are committed to maintaining a positive and healthy relationship with Baby K’s birth family. If at any point we feel like this relationship is causing harm to Baby K or our family, we will be free to distance ourselves. However, contrary to the way the media often portrays open adoption, this type of scenario is unlikely to occur.
Open adoption is NOT co-parenting. Once our baby comes home with us and the adoption is finalized, Cary and I will legally be Baby K’s parents. We will make the decisions about how to parent Baby K like every other family does with their child. Our birth mother will understand that parenting is our role, not hers.
Why open adoption?
There are a many reasons why we are hoping to have an open relationship with Baby K’s birth mother. The main reason is because we truly believe that an open relationship can be beneficial to all involved.
Baby K is obviously our top priority and there are many reasons we think an open adoption could benefit him/her. I will only talk about a few of the reasons here.
It is our heart’s desire for Baby K to grow up with an understanding of how much he/she is valued and loved. We believe having an open adoption will not only allow our Baby to experience this from us, but to also from his/her biological mother. We know that our child will have questions about their biological family. We want to always do our best to help our child get the answers his/her little heart and mind needs. We realize that as he/she grows older, the complexity of these questions will increase. We hope that by having an open adoption, Baby K will have a better opportunity to have his/her questions answered directly and truthfully.
By having an open relationship, our child will know his/her biological mother (and potentially know the biological father) and will not have to imagine or fantasize about their birth parents. We realize our baby might have other biological siblings and if that were the case, we would love to be able to help them connect whenever they are ready to do so. Another positive benefit of open adoption is that Baby K will have access to his/her medical and genetic history.
We believe an open relationship can also be beneficial to the birth mother/parents and biological family of our baby. We know that adoption is bittersweet as our joy over welcoming Baby K home will be the birth mother’s greatest heartache. We hope that having an open adoption will allow Baby K’s birth mother to experience healing. By having an open relationship, the birth mother can experience confirmation that she made the best decision in choosing adoption for her child. Studies show that birth mothers in an open adoption work through normal feelings of grief much quicker than birth mothers in a confidential adoption do. An open adoption gives the birth mother an opportunity to continue to love her child from afar as well as have a direct voice in explaining to the child why she choose adoption.
We feel like as Baby K’s parents, we will also benefit from an open adoption. We will be able to build a relationship with Baby K’s birth mom that is built on a mutual love for Baby K, trust and understanding of one another. We will have the opportunity to learn about who our birth mother is as a person…her likes & dislikes, talents, dreams, hobbies, if she is left or right handed, etc. We think it will be so cool to be able to make connections between our child's & his/her birth mother’s mannerisms, attributes & similarities.
An open adoption will allow us to love on the woman who choose life for our child life and blessed our family in such a monumental way. When praying for the relationship with Baby K’s birth mother, this verse has come to my heart, “We love because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19. The desire of our hearts is to love on Baby K’s birth mother as we have been loved by God: unconditionally. Cary and I have both given our lives to God and His love has radically changed us. We believe the Lord calls us as Christians to truly love those who enter our lives. We are praying that Baby K’s birth mother would also experience this type of life-changing love from the Lord & that she would enter into a relationship with Him.
I hope this summary of our heart for open adopting gave you some insight into our decision. Like I said above, we realize an open adoption will not always be easy by any means…but we absolutely believe it will be worth it. As long as we are all committed to loving Baby K and doing what is best for him/her above all else, the relationship can flourish! :)
Would you be praying for us as we prepare to be matched with, meet, develop a relationship with & love on Baby K’s birth mother?!
Since we have not been matched yet, we are not completely certain that our adoption will be open as the decision depends not only on us but also on the birth mother. Would you be praying that this type of loving, healthy & beneficial relationship with Baby K’s birth mother will be possible?
And while you’re at it, will you ask the Lord to move on our behalf & match us with Baby K quickly? Our hearts are yearning for news of our little one.
We know the Lord has big plans for our family & we cannot wait to see how He knits everything together.
Thank y’all so much for following our journey! Please keep us in your thoughts & prayers.
Photo credit: Carolynn Seibert Photography
Photo credit: Eva Cranford Photography