November is National Adoption Month, and Abrazo invites you to join us in showing the world #thisisopenadoption, not to “sell adoption” but specifically, to raise awareness of the kind of adoption Abrazo promotes.
We say “not to sell adoption” because there is a perception that National Adoption Month is an industry strategy to do just that, and that is not our intent at all. For some birthparents (especially those who call themselves “mothers of loss”) and adoptees and even adoptive parents, the mention of adoption may trigger painful memories or feelings of rage or unbridled grief, and we must all be sensitive to those for whom adoption has not been positive.
Yet it is just as insensitive to downplay or disregard the thousands of families for whom adoption has been a child-centered and life-changing experience– particularly those with open adoptions, who have learned firsthand that sharing their lives with a child means sharing their child’s life, too, and that becoming “forever family” means including everyone forever as family.
Why does this matter? It’s because there are so many misconceptions, even today, of what open adoption is and how it works– and because so few people truly understand the importance of open adoption.
What’s good about open adoption?
The biggest benefit of open adoption is that it enables children who must be adopted (for whatever reason) to “own their own truth” every day of their lives. (This is huge.)
Open adoption empowers adoptees to grow up with full access to their own life stories from Chapter One, helping them to form a stronger sense of identity and to feel more grounded in and attached to both the family who gave them life and the family who teaches them to live it.
Beyond that, open adoption enables parents that place to be more at peace with their placement decisions because they know how their child/ren is/are doing, and it empowers parents that adopt to enjoy healthy relationships with their child/ren’s birthfamilies, thus enhancing their comfort and security within their own parenting roles.
Open adoption eradicates the secrets and lies that used to produce adoption shame. It allows adoptees to enjoy lifelong access to, information about and relationships with their biological kinfolk while gaining the benefits and security of a stable adoptive home. It provides more accurate family medical histories with the capacity for updated information that can be advantageous to both birthfamily and adoptive family members as well as future generations.
How can you help others learn about open adoption?
Here’s how you can join in Abrazo’s campaign to show the world #thisisopenadoption this November.
* Share your story with us, to be shared on Abrazo’s social media throughout National Adoption Month. (Just write up your experience or your perspectives on the value of open adoption and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with a note permitting us to share it online; let us know if you want some, all or none of your name used. Just be sure you’re sending original material; we’ll edit it as needed.)
* Post your own open adoption messages, each day throughout November, using the hashtag #thisisopenadoption.
* Send Abrazo your favorite photos that depict what open adoption looks like that we can share online with the hashtag #thisisopenadoption throughout the month. (Again, just email submissions to email@example.com with a note permitting us to publish on our social media accounts and/or our website; no names will be used. Please be sure all individuals pictured consent to this use of their photograph/s.)
* Each one tell one: make a point of talking to people around you about the concept of open adoption. Whether it’s a grocery store clerk or someone at your church or a coworker who’s considering adoption or your doctor during a check-up, or just someone you cross paths at random, make it your business to say “I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, but open adoption can be really amazing and here’s how I know this…”
* Finally (and most important of all), be sure you’re living up to your own open adoption promises. If it’s been awhile since you last heard from (or checked in with) your child’s other family, there’s no time like the present to reach out and renew those family ties, for your child’s sake. November being National Adoption Month and the season known for Thanksgiving, it’s a perfect opportunity to call or text or email or write or visit, just to remind your child and his/her people what they mean to you.
This is open adoption, after all; people joining their lives and their resources to ensure that children grow up happy and whole, with all the best of both worlds.
If that seems like a message worth sharing, then remember to add #thisisopenadoption to the messages you share in the month to come, because if it helps even one person to embrace open adoption, then that brings the whole world one person closer to nirvana– which is a good thing for everyone.