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Open Adoption:
Double the Love

  • Linda R. Sexton

Six in Ten Americans

Six in ten Americans have had personal experience with adoption, meaning they themselves, a family member, or a close friend was adopted, had adopted a child, or had placed a child for adoption. That is a lot of people! (adoptionnetwork.com).

During a recent panel discussion at our local Story and Song Bookstore, I talked about open adoption and the first question was – “What is that -I never heard of that.” I explained that open adoption is an adoption arrangement in which the biological parents and the adoptive family know each other’s identities and choose to remain in contact after the adoption process is finalized. Further, the reason I am writing about it, is that while six in ten Americans have personal experience with adoption, far fewer even know about open adoption. Most are familiar with the outdated closed and secretive culture of adoptions, leaving so many adopted children searching for their birth families. It does not have to be that way.

Adopting a child is not like it used to be. In today’s open culture the adoptive parents and birth parents can choose each other and decide how to maintain contact. This can be anything from sharing letters and photos to regular and continued visitation. The good news is that this open arrangement can be liberating for the birth parents and healthy for everyone, especially for the adopted child. It is the ability to openly celebrate both the adopted child's nature given by their birth families and the nurture given by their adoptive family that can make the child whole.

The challenge is that this can also be a very frightening commitment and both birth and adoptive parents need guidance and confidence. Fortunately today, unlike when we adopted nearly thirty years ago, adoptive parents and birth parents have access to training, counseling and support groups needed to help them through the process.

Several people in the audience shared their stories with me. One had a daughter who had adopted in an open arrangement and was struggling with setting boundaries. Another was thinking about adopting in the future. One was adopted in a closed arrangement and delighted in finding and meeting their adult birth siblings. Yet another knew of an adoptee who was afraid to find her birth parents for fear of hurting her adoptive parents.

There is so much to learn and share about families and it is clear that that our world is full of beautiful and blended families formed in many different ways. Our ideas of “good and normal” are surely changing and that is a very good thing.



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1 comentário


Membro desconhecido
26 de jul. de 2022

Thank you for helping start the this illuminating conversation about the ‘new normal’ of adoption. It truly can bring so much healing to those connected to an adoption story, especially benefiting the child at the center of it all.

Curtir

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