Openness in Adoption

Openness in Adoption
Posted on 06/20/2018

“Where there is fear, there can be no love.”

The above quotation was shared with me by a grief counselor early in my journey as an adoptive parent. I think of it often when reflecting on openness in adoption, especially when I’m tired or feeling annoyed.

An adoptive parent may experience a great deal of fear in relation to a birth family. Will the birth family interfere? Will my child attach if she has contact with her birth family? As an adult will my child choose her birth family over her adoptive family?  Though the fear is understandable, I try to be brave and make openness decisions based on love for my child not fear of an unknowable future.

My daughter was seven when she first started living with me. Prior to placement, she had weekly CAS visits with her birth mother and also had been living with her grandmother (aka foster mother) for 3 ½ years and had an especially close bond with her.

Early on, an acquaintance of mine, who was not familiar with the birth mother and grandmother, said to me, “Once the adoption is complete your daughter will be all yours and you won’t have to deal with those others anymore.” The adoption has been final for a while now and those relationships remain strong because they’re important to my daughter, her birth mother, and her grandmother. It’s not my place to interfere with their love. In fact, I see it as my role to nurture my daughter’s relationships with these women because she will need to carry all our love into adulthood. It’s the love we feel as children that sees us through difficult times as adults and the more sources of love the better.

It’s not easy to resist fear but I try to place my worries aside when making openness decisions. I do this because I want to positively influence my daughter’s identity and sense of self-worth. I also know we’ll work through it if any of my fears become reality.

Tammy, the mother of an adoptive daughter, believes the adage, "It takes a village to raise a child" is as relevant today as it ever was.

 

 


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