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You know something's gone mainstream when it makes the Washington Post! Here's an extraordinary story of open adoption and the aftermath: Then she said... Yes!

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Thanks for you feedback, guys. Hannah, I can relate to much of what you wrote. From conversations with you to what you've shared on the forum, I know we are on the same page. I think learning about t

My niece, a college freshman, is writing a persuasive speech about open adoption for her speech class (Yes, I'm very proud she chose this topic!) She e-mailed and asked me to share some of my perspect

Why I love open adoption. The article "A Stroll into the Possible" http://mymindonpaper.wordpress.com/ Heather

For every prospective parent who secretly worries that hearing from the birthparent(s) after the adoption might feel invasive... and for every parent who overcame that fear and embraced open adoption only to find their birthparents are not as ready to keep in touch as they'd hoped...

I'm taking the liberty of reprinting part of a recent note mbell posted under her group thread, because I think it illustrates so beautifully why openness matters (particularly the next-to-last sentence, which I have emphasized in bold):

Thanks to everyone who shares in my excitement (about the letter we got from our daughter's birthmom after not hearing from her for nearly a year)!

While I have continued to send letters and lots of pictures to Kate's birthmom, I did not know if she was geting them, or if I was telling her the things she wanted to know, etc. It was so good to hear that she has received our packages and loves the letters and seeing Kate's smiles in the pictures. Just that feedback was so great.

But she also reiterated that she was glad she had chosen us -- what better words are there to hear from the person who entrusted us with a piece of herself??!! It made my day!

I am crying as I read this post as we are going through the same thing right now. We have not spoken with our birthmother for about 2 months now. It has been so difficult not knowing how she is doing especially when we were used to speaking with her at least once a week. This gives me hope that maybe soon we will be able to speak with her. We do speak with her mother weekly but even she has not heard from her. She is going through some really hard times right now so please keep her in your prayers.

Thanks for the sparkle of hope!

Donna

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You know something's gone mainstream when it makes the Washington Post! Here's an extraordinary story of open adoption and the aftermath: Then she said... Yes!

Once again another great article. Thank you for all you do to continue to educate us.

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Awww, shucks... ;) I can find plenty of stuff like this to pass along, but it's only as good as the folks who actually read it and put it to use, so thank you for that!

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  • 1 month later...

For an excellent overview of the risks and benefits open adoption, check out THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN, from Princeton University and the Brookings Institute.

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They concluded that birthmothers in open adoptions did experience more prolonged grief and dependency than those in closed adoptions.

That makes me sad. I wonder if that is true where there is counseling after placement like at Abrazo?

Given the present state of knowledge, decision making around open adoption remains a risky business, with substantial need for caution, assessment, and planning. The primary need is for further research, particularly longitudinal research, to help determine whether and how openness contributes to stronger adoptive families and healthier adopted individuals.

That seems kind of harsh to me. Just because there isn't any research yet doesn't mean that it is "risky". Anything is an improvement over the old "closed file" system. How can adoptees feel "normal" about their adoption if they aren't supported on all sides by ALL of their loving parents?

Several large-scale longitudinal studies of adoption are currently in progress, including one by McRoy and Grotevant in Texas and Minnesota, and another by Barth and Berry in California.

Is Abrazo a part of this study? If not, they should be! Let's give some positives to this issue!

while many adoptees were interested in meeting or getting information about their birthmothers, the majority (77%) felt indifferent toward their birthfathers.22

I wonder why?

This was a very interesting article too. I hope Abrazo alumn are involved in some of the studies mentioned. I can't wait to see their findings.

As always, thanks Elizabeth for helping us stay informed!

You rock!

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READ THIS.

Nice story.

What's wrong with this picture?

Sign me:

Already Fired Off My Letter to the Editor

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“We’ll keep the open part of the adoption as long as it’s in the best interests of the children,” Strickland said.

Well isn't that nice????

“The love is the same,” said Strickland, who has two biological children from a previous marriage. “You don’t really realize they aren’t your own.”

They aren't your own??? What???

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“The biggest thing is how you present it,” said Andre. “Most of the time it isn’t a big deal for them. But (parents) should be prepared in case it is something the child is concerned about.”

This also bothered me. It just kind of brushes over adoption. :(

There was also a quote about how they will tell them "one day." I think the boy was 4 right? If his parents were really being open about it, they should already be talking about his birthfamily.

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There was also a quote about how they will tell them "one day." I think the boy was 4 right? If his parents were really being open about it, they should already be talking about his birthfamily.

Thank you very much!!

Adoptions that are truly "open" don't wait for "one day", later on, to tell children the truth of their beginnings, and there's no time like the present to get your kids acquainted with their relatives.

This is why Abrazo's placement agreement requires the families we place with to begin telling the adoption story to the babies we place with them right from the start; so there's never a day nor a time when that child can remember not knowing!!!

Openness is about honesty, and either you IS or you ISN'T. :rolleyes:

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There was also a quote about how they will tell them "one day." I think the boy was 4 right? If his parents were really being open about it, they should already be talking about his birthfamily.

Thank you very much!!

Adoptions that are truly "open" don't wait for "one day", later on, to tell children the truth of their beginnings, and there's no time like the present to get your kids acquainted with their relatives.

This is why Abrazo's placement agreement requires the families we place with to begin telling the adoption story to the babies we place with them right from the start; so there's never a day nor a time when that child can remember not knowing!!!

Openness is about honesty, and either you IS or you ISN'T. :rolleyes:

We have a picture on McKenna's dresser of her birthparents, we show it to her everyday. It is so important for her to know about all the families that truly love her! :D

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Openness is about honesty, and either you IS or you ISN'T. :rolleyes:

Amen! What always strikes me about comments about either not wanting to tell their children about their adoption or wanting to just wait to tell them, is I often think it is because the adoptive parents are more worried about their own feelings or fears of rejection rather than their childs. Adoption is not all rainbows and sunshine, there is hurt involved, hurt that isn't going to go away because we hide it or ignore it.

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I am including my email to the author and her response...

Me to her..

Tell me just how you can consider it “open communication” if the adoptive parents do not acknowledge the existence and reality of a birthfamily that is involved with the children? I am more than a little confused. I would recommend you do your homework on what open adoption really means from more than one source, because in no way would I describe the comments in the article as “open” adoption language. I would be happy to speak with you, or you may contact the agency I placed my son through, Abrazo Adoptions Assoc. in San Antonio, Texas. You may visit their forum at www.abrazo.org to see a real view of what open adoptions are really about.

Her response..

Thanks for reading the article. It was an open adoption, as it stated in the article, until the birth mother started calling the child under the influence, which Ana Strickland asked me not to print in the article. Communication can be closed if it is not in the best interest of the child or if the birth mother discloses crude language or material to the child that the adoptive parents do not agree with, as in the case of the Stricklands. For the article, I spoke with 6 adoption/pregnancy support agencies, and I would hope none of the agencies would give me wrong information. I was told many times that eventually the birth mother stops communicating with the adoptive parents, not the other way aruond. The Strickland's was just a case of the parents protecting the child from bad language and behavior. Thank you again for reading.

My response to that..

The article does not say anything about that, and how can it be "open" if any party closed it? I believe Abrazo would dispute your statistics on birthparents stopping contact as well.

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Hey, Lisa-- thanks for contacting the reporter. (Go get 'em, Tiger! ;)) If any of our birthparents were to "drunk-dial" an adoptive family OR if any of our adoptive parents drunk-dials a birthparent, I certainly support the right of either to impose rules and set boundaries about when it is (or isn't) appropriate for communication to occur.

But that, in itself, wouldn't seem to me to justify "closing" the adoption completely/forever, nor would it warrant the hiding of information about the birthparents and/or adoption from the child/ren at the present time:

Strickland and Bunch both say that one day they will tell their children about their birth mothers and biological family. The mothers said they have no intention of hiding it from their children.

The benefits of openness (honesty, information, contact with birthfamily members, etc) can still apply to children who, for whatever reason, have limited direct access to their birthparents, and I know plenty of good parents around here who work hard to make that so, in "their own" children's lives.

I also found the last sentence of this paragraph somewhat bizarre (emphasis mine):

Mark Andre is director of the orphan care initiative for Focus on the Family, a Christian nonprofit group that describes itself as "dedicated to nurturing and defending families worldwide." He's also an adoptive father. He said telling a child that he or she was adopted can be good for the child.

To quote one well-known father by the name of Homer Simpson: "D'oh!"

Finally, as for the "assurance" that the birthparents eventually go away, so do houseplants if you don't water them enough, but that doesn't mean it's a good thing. (!!!) :huh:

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Hi,

Just my own 2 cents;

We have a picture of Skye's birthmom and birthsister by her crib. We tell everyone that she is adopted and we're proud of it. We try to keep an open line of communication open with her birthmom, but she is not as motivated as we are. There might come a day where she stops communicating with us altogether, but I would still consider this an open adoption. Open in the fact that Skye and everyone else is aware of the situation. Open in the fact that her birthfamily will ALWAYS be acknowledged, loved, missed and welcomed in our home and hearts. I feel that as long as all of the facts are "open" and not hidden keeps this an open adoption and does not "close" it.

Just my 2 cents.

Sandi

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I certainly support the right of either to impose rules and set boundaries about when it is (or isn't) appropriate for communication to occur.

But that, in itself, wouldn't seem to me to justify "closing" the adoption completely/forever, nor would it warrant the hiding of information about the birthparents and/or adoption from the child/ren at the present time:

I agree. In stepping back from a particular situation and seeing what was / is in the best interest of our child, imposing rules / setting boundaries and sticking by them has definitely created a stronger foundation for the still growing relationship; even though our thinking was headed in a different direction. Thanks Elizabeth!!! ;)

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  • 1 month later...

A new study shows that secrecy in adoption has lasting negative effects on adoptees. Read more, from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute newsletter:

AUSTRALIAN STUDY FINDS SECRECY HAS NEGATIVE IMPACT ON ADOPTEES

An Australian study investigated the impact that openness or secrecy in family communication about adoption had on 144 adopted adults. It found that those who experienced greater secrecy felt less close to their adoptive parents, perceived their parents as less caring and more controlling, and experienced more loneliness within the family. "Secrecy within Adoptive Families and Its Impact on Adult Adoptees," by Nola Passmore, Judy Feeney and Alex Foulstone was published in a newsletter, Family Relationships Quarterly (Number 5, 2007). Adoptees who found out about their adoptions later in life often felt a sense of betrayal and, for some, the trust issues transferred into relationships outside the family. To access the article, go to: http://www.aifs.gov.au/afrc/pubs/newslette...r5.html#secrecy

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A new study shows that secrecy in adoption has lasting negative effects on adoptees. Read more, from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute newsletter:

AUSTRALIAN STUDY FINDS SECRECY HAS NEGATIVE IMPACT ON ADOPTEES

An Australian study investigated the impact that openness or secrecy in family communication about adoption had on 144 adopted adults. It found that those who experienced greater secrecy felt less close to their adoptive parents, perceived their parents as less caring and more controlling, and experienced more loneliness within the family. "Secrecy within Adoptive Families and Its Impact on Adult Adoptees," by Nola Passmore, Judy Feeney and Alex Foulstone was published in a newsletter, Family Relationships Quarterly (Number 5, 2007). Adoptees who found out about their adoptions later in life often felt a sense of betrayal and, for some, the trust issues transferred into relationships outside the family. To access the article, go to: http://www.aifs.gov.au/afrc/pubs/newslette...r5.html#secrecy

Wish stuff like this could be pasted on all agency websites!!!!

Jenny

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Here's an interesting interview with an adoptee who's also a therapist and believes that openness is one of the keys to good mental health: Why The Truth Helps Sets You Free.

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  • 1 month later...

I read this interesting tidbit this morning and thought I would share:

"I believe that nature, nurture, and choice are the three factors that affect who a person becomes. I believe that both the birthparents’ nature and the adoptive parents’ nurture influence who the child will become. However, it is ultimately the child’s choice what he does with this influence. He can embrace what has been given to him (whether what was given was good or bad), or he can reject it. Ultimately, he will make the choice about what kind of man he becomes."

It's from the Adoptive Parenting Blog: http://adoptive-parenting.adoptionblogs.co...n-adopted-child

I loved the way that the three factors mirror the adoption triad, each brings something to the child's life and together they make a whole.

Best, Kay

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