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Open Adoption


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Good evening and welcome to the forum!

I agree with Christina. My husband and I are fairly new to the process, and someone recommended us buying and reading "The Open Adoption Experience". I ordered it off amazon.com, and it is a very informative book. It will definately be able to answer many questions you have about Open Adoption. The book is a little lengthy but not hard to read/understand. I enjoyed it!


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Hello and welcome to the forum.

I am an adoptee of a closed adoption and a birthmother of 3 year old triplets and a two year old girl, both in open adoptions.

Although I have never met my birthmother, and had a wonderful adopted life with my Adoptive Parents. I am still a big advocate of Open adoption (except special circumstances) To me it is great, knowing that my birthkids are ok and well loved, both by me and their Adoptive Parents. I see both families about once or twice a year, but we correspond and talk on the phone often. Which is great!

Again, welcome to the forum!!


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The explination above is a great one, and I hope it has answered questions. But my definition of open adoption is this:

A child, who by circumstances that can only make them more unique, has become the object of many parents love. This child has mom & dad on a daily basis, and the extended family that any typical family would have beyond mom & dad. But, they have a unique and incredible bond with another family, their birth family. All of these family members both birth and adopted work hard to include and involve each other in their lives. Both for the benefit of the child and each other. The amazing thing is that the love and knowledge is a shared thing. All have access to and connections that are unbreakable!

Welcome to the forum, and as always we will be happy to help in any way!

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Well said! Here's another definition, from Ruben Pannor and Annette Baran, co-authors of "The Adoption Triangle" and researchers credited with best describing the formal structure of modern-day open adoptions:

"Open adoption... is a process in which the birthparents and adoptive parents meet and exchange identifying information. The birthparents relinquish legal and basic child rearing  to the adoptive parents. Both sets of parents retain the right to continuing contact and access to knowledge on behalf of the child. Within this definition, there is room for greater and lesser degrees of contact between the parties. The frequency and meaning of the communication will vary during different times in the lives of the individuals involved, depending on their needs and desires, and the quality of the established relationship." Baran & Pannor, 1990: The Psychology of Adoption, pg. 318, Oxford University Press, New York.
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  • 8 months later...

The Legacy of an Adoption

Once there were two expectant mothers.

One carried and cared for you beneath her beating heart.

She became your Birthmother.

The other carried the hope of you within her,

She became your Mom.

As the days passed, and you grew bigger and stronger,

Your Birthmother knew that she could not give you

all she needed after your birth.

Meanwhile, your Mom was ready and waiting for you.

One day your Birthmom and your Mom found each other.

They looked into each other's eyes and saw a friend.

Your Birthmom saw the life your Mom could give you.

Your Mom saw how much your Birthmom loved and cared for you.

They decided that what you needed was both kinds of love in your life.

So now you have two families, One by birth, the other by adoption.

And now you have a home where you can get:

your questions answered, your boo boos bandaged,

your heartaches soothed, and much-needed hugs.

And a place where you can find:

answers to your questions, your image in the mirror,

a part of yourself, and much-needed hugs.

Two different kinds of families.

Two different kinds of love

Both a part of you.

Author Unknown

Edited by MarkLaurie
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Actually, the author of that poem is Brenda Romanchik, a birthmom who is well known to the Abrazo staff from years of northern Michigan adoption conferences.

She placed through Jim Gritter's agency, Catholic Social Services and also is the creator of the Birthparent Book of Memories. Brenda's son Adam was adopted in an open adoption; he is now in his teens and has a very positive relationship with his parents as well as Brenda, her husband and their two children.

Some of you may be familiar with her, as we distribute her tape recorded presentation from one of those Michigan conferences as part of our Adoption Institute homework. Thanks for sharing her poem here!

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  • 3 weeks later...

honestly, i think the most important fact in open adoption that no one on either side should forget that by choosing open adoption you are willing to share your baby with the people who wanted to make the best decision for the baby. and by sharing i dont mean they get the baby on weekends or every other holiday, just that this isn't only your baby, that there is a whole other family that loves that baby just as much as you do but had to make a painful decision, once you get a child imagine knowing that you couldn't take care of it and had to entrust someone else with your baby. how much you'd want to know is probably a starting point for how much the BP in your adoption will want to know. Now sometimes, the BP find contact too hard, but that doesn't mean they dont care for that baby just as much. With open adoption you might have to see the BPs and watch them hold your child and kiss and hug your child and tell your child how much they love it. and if thats not all alright with you then a fully open adoption is probably not your best bet.

the way i see it (i placed my son Colby his AMs name is Angie) When Angie talks about Colby he is her baby, when i talk about Colby he is my baby, but both of us always know that he is OUR baby.

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XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX!(Sound of enthusiastic applause!!!)

Kristal, I am giving you a standing ovation!!! That is just about the most simple and profound explanation of open adoption I've ever seen. Wow!! (If it's okay with you, I'd like to reprint that in our newsletter going out this week.)

Birthparents are and will always be a part of any child they birth and place, so any other family who adopts that child has to be able to accept and embrace that truth--and that birthparent!-- if they are truly prepared to fully accept and embrace that child as their own.

It's that simple. (And that complex.)

Sharing is hard. It's hard when we're in kindergarten, and it's hard when we're grown. But it's by learning to master that challenge that we teach our kids to do the same.

Because they, too, may adopt one day, and what a gift you will have given your grandkids or birthgrandkids by having taught their parents the blessings of openness and honesty in adoption by your example!

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You betcha, sweetie. Just call Pamela at the office tomorrow and let her know (1) if you want us to use your full name or first name, and (2) where to send your newsletter! smile.gif Thanks again!

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"the way i see it (i placed my son Colby his AMs name is Angie) When Angie talks about Colby he is her baby, when i talk about Colby he is my baby, but both of us always know that he is OUR baby."

And Colby is one lucky little boy!!!

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The point you make about it being OUR baby is so right!!!

It just so happened that we just spent a wonderful weekend w/ our birthmom and her family. We had family pictures made and went out to eat afterwards, this lady came up to us and asked why we were dressed alike, so we told them we had family pictures made and she asked who the girls (Samantha and her birthsister) were and we (our birthmom and I) said OURS!! It was the most natural thing to say and it just came out without a second thought.

We consider our birthfamily part of our family and would not want it any other way. I love to see our birthmom holding, kissing and loving on Samantha.

By the way, I have been following your story and am glad you are posting so we can see things from the birthfamilies point of view.


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What an inspiring post! Congratulations on such a great visit with Samantha's birthfamily. (And your little girl is walking now...watch out! )

When the four of us (me, Larry, Joshua, and J's birthmom) would go out in public in San Antonio after Joshua was born, several people commented on what a precious baby and asked whose he was. Joshua's birthmom was always quick to point to me and Larry and say, "he's theirs," which at the time I thought was so sweet and so affirming. Now I wish I had been wise and "enlightened" enough to say, "He's ours" for all three of us. Although none of us "own" Joshua, he definitely has some of me, Larry, and both of his wonderful birthparents. He would not be who he is without all of us, and that makes me so proud!!


As always, thanks for sharing...and giving us all something to think about! Hope you are doing okay. Sending a hug your way.

Susan biggrin.gif

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All our children are lucky!

they have more people than ever to love, and hug them until they wanna wriggle away. I bet that these Abrazo Babes will always know it too! After all we are all on here and they can go back and see just what we mean about loving them like one big family!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Amanda Mc shared this quote elsewhere on the forum, but I thought it captured profoundly the fear that some feel about birthparents... even when, like Eric W., they are adopting internationally and thus have little or no opportunity to ever get to know their child's original parents.

The following is a quote from Eric Weiner. He posted a journal about adopting his daughter from Kazakhstan, which is actually pretty good.

"We've been interrogated, fingerprinted, and jerked around for more than a year now. But if this teenage girl decides, "Why not? Yes, I would like to try raising the child I discarded nearly nine months ago," then all bets are off. Game over. For adoptive parents, there is nothing more anxiety-inducing than the birth mother, lurking out there like a great white."

What is really at the root of this fear? Is it fear of loss? Is it need for ownership? Is it longing for autonomy? A sense of obligation? Discomfort with dependency? Lack of control? Birthparents, after all, feel the same kinds of uncertainty and apprehension towards adopting parents; each party worries that the other holds all the cards, and each fears that the other may forever have the potential to disappoint.

Yet the actual outcome of most open adoptions is so much more positive, so much healthier. Why is it that these fears and anxieties still hold such power over those who approach the adoption process? It's okay--and normal-- to feel these things; what's important is that we work through those feelings and learn and grow, so we can teach our children to do the same.

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What is really at the root of this fear? Is it fear of loss? Is it need for ownership? Is it longing for autonomy? A sense of obligation? Discomfort with dependency? Lack of control?


All of the above. The fear of the unknown and the fear of what you think you know (But do you really?).

But I believe that most things worth doing come at a price. And overcoming these fears for the sake of your child, their birthfamily, and yourself is one of these "worth-it" things. We are choosing to battle our fears in order to keep as much of that door open as is within our power. And what is not in our power, we choose to turn over to our Heavenly Father.

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Joe and I were talking about open adoption this morning.

In our opinion -- those that don't want an open adoption haven't really educated themselves on open adoption. Because we feel that if they do educate themselves (by doing lots of reading), then they will feel that it's the right thing for the child.

Yes, open adoption can make adoptive parents nervous and uncomfortable. But in reality, we didn't go through with an open adoption for our (APs) benefit --- we went through with it for Gracie's benefit.

Also, I have found it easier to tackle my fears on the forefront rather than have them looming out there to resurface -- say when my child is 10 or 15, 25, etc.

Anyway for what's it's worth (which isn't much) -- that's the Luthers' opinion on the matter.

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Mark and I completely agree!!!!

As we have just placed 2 days ago and are sitting in a hotel with this precious gift; it is wonderful to be able to talk to the BP and go do things with her.

Last night we all went out to dinner and had a wonderful time. She needed the time to see the baby and we needed the time to see her with him.

It definately is all about educating yourself, in our situation I feel that I have experienced everything but the physical part of the birth which believe me my BP says I am not missing anything tongue.gif I was fortunate to stay in the hospital with her and the baby for the 2 nights she was there and we bonded even more; which I did not think was possible biggrin.gif The hospital staff was wonderful; they woke me up every 3 hours to feed the baby and taught me alot about how to care for a newborn.

In all honesty it is hard to hear the words OPEN ADOPTION at first because it is threatening but once you realize all the many many benefits there is just no other way to do it.

Hi TONI!!!!!

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Hello Everyone...My 2 cents!!

Hello Coopers - Congratulations!!

This week our daughter received a package from El Paso, TX. It was a pair of pajamas (Dora princess jammies) from her birth grandmother. I have not been able to get them out of her sight. (Pretty soon they are going to start walking around by themselves...) =)

Pretty scary, huh? =)

I am not sure the root of the fear from most people. Before Chloe, some people in my family thought we were "odd" because we truly wanted an open adoption! Chloe's birthfamily does contact us - and they provide her love and caring. Is anyone loved too much? My family "gets it" now...and they also want to participate (and have participated) in the relationship with our daughter's birthfamily.

It is about education but primarily, people have to talk to and be around people who have experienced the joy of open adoption. Then, they have to live it and the fear just goes away...

God Bless and Happy New Year!!

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I've thought a lot about the "Fear" of open adoption. I think it's pretty complicated, yet simple. I have come to believe that it is based on selfishness in the end... but begins with ignorance. We all want to "own" things and have "control" of our environment. It's hard to share especially someone you "think" should be yours. Open Adoption asks you to release a lot of those controlling feelings and basically just trust. I was fortunate that I was at a point in life where I did trust wholeheartedly. That was not the problem for me. The problem was ignorance. I did not understand how sharing a child could bring such fullness and completeness to one's life or how it would benefit our son. I did not want to share a child or rather I did not know how to do this. This isn't something we are taught growing up (unless you have experienced it first hand). One of the things that is very difficult about adoption is that so much is out of our hands. We can do our part, but the other half of the relationship etc. lies in the hands of our Birthparents decision to parent, to be part of our lives, to not be part of our lives. It takes a special blend of committment for all to work well. A lot of people do not even committ to other things in life that are supposed to be so important, so how can we expect them to understand one of the ultimate committments of all. I know it will always be a work in progress and I have committed myself to educating those who are open to listening and learning. I not only have to do this for my son, but I WANT to do it for our family.

As time passes, I think we will all come to new understandings about why people fear this. It's just like anything else. The unknown is really scary until we learn about it and overcome our fears.

Adding my two cents too,

Claudia tongue.gif

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In the past few weeks, I have had the chance to talk to two close friends about adoption. Both of them adopted their children via "closed" adoption 18+ years ago. It was so weird because both of them told me how terrified they were that the birthparents would come find them and try to take their babies back. They were always looking over their shoulders - living in constant fear of a person who they'd not be able to recognize, wondering if the woman that they just saw looking at them was actually their child's birthmom.

It really confirmed to me that this is ONE of the things that makes open adoption so incredible. You have the birthmom's "permission" to raise their child. I know Elizabeth mentioned this during the orientation, but it just really hit home when my friends were talking to me.

My friends still have a hard time understanding why open adoption is better, but that is because closed adoption is all they know. Their birthmoms have been the scariest things in their lives and they can't understand why anyone would want them in their lives voluntarily. I say, "Why would anyone want to go through that fear for the rest of their lives?" Isn't it better to work through that fear at the beginning so that it doesn't affect you and the precious child that you're going to raise for the rest of your lives.

They don't even realize that the fear that they've had is completely irrational. When you talk with the birthmoms, you realize that they are incredible women, making the greatest sacrifice of their lives to help someone they love so dearly. They are not monsters, nor are they scary. In most cases, they are wonderful people just trying to do the best they can in a very dificult situation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Something that I have been enjoying reading on the forum lately is Marcelo and Claudia's reports about reuniting with their precious little guy's birthparents. I think their words have spoken so beautifully of the open adoption journey. (You can find it under Joyous Journeys - And the journey continues). Thanks Marcelo and Claudia (and Dante) for showing us how it works. smile.gif

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  • 3 weeks later...

One of the things I have come to appreciate about working with Abrazo is their SINCERE commitment to OPEN adoption. There seem to be lots of agencies out there jumping on the open adoption band wagon - but it seems to be for the wrong reasons. Abrazo somehow finds the time and energy and resources to meet the needs of adoptive parents AND birthmothers and it is all (of course) for the sake of the babies. Thanks, Ladies!

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