When meeting with biological parents, as they consider making an adoption plan, the number one fear we hear is “I’m afraid they (the adoptive family) won’t stay in contact.”
While we would love to offer the biological parents a pat on the back and assurance that that would never happen, the reality is, it does. Navigating an open adoption relationship is often times cumbersome. Emotions are high on both sides of the table. Sometimes well intentioned lofty promises are made by adoptive parents in the days or hours before the baby is placed with them.
While the intentions are to keep these lines of communication open a sort of “out of sight, out of mind” mantra can easily slip into the routine of adoptive parents, leaving biological parents further heartbroken. Other times the road blocks (homelessness, new phone number, fear, etc) in the biological parents lives make staying connected hard or even impossible.
Open Adoption is work. It’s commitment. It offers a road to beauty and redemption….but that road, hills, valleys, and pot holes, must be traveled, with consistency, by biological parents and adoptive parents, to arrive at a destination that honors everyone and is best for the child.
Open Adoption is ultimately about the child.
There is large misunderstanding in the adoption world that the ultimate purpose of an open adoption is for the mental health and well-being of the biological parents. While this is partly true, and their well-being is extremely important…the reality is the purpose of working towards a healthy open adoption is ultimately for the adopted child. It’s biological parents and adoptive parents coming together for the love of a child…because that was the catalyst for the adoption plan in the first place. The child.
In the end, open adoption is adoptive parents setting aside fears, bringing honor to the decision their child’s biological parents made, and saying “yes” time and again to the needs of the child. It’s biological parents risking triggers and opening wounds that have left scars deeper than their words can articulate for the love of their child. It’s sacrifice, time and again.
And, it’s a road that offers the destination of beauty.
Choosing Hope Adoptions has implemented an “Open Adoption Mediation” program for all open adoption placements.
What does this mean?
Along with an open adoption agreement adoptive parents and biological parents are committing to coming back to the table with Choosing Hope Adoptions 1 year following the adoptive placement, sooner if need be. This will be an opportunity to discuss and listen, together, how the open adoption is
going. What’s going well? What’s not going well? Are there areas of the open adoption plan that need to be adjusted? Are there hurts or areas of mistrust that need to worked through? Are we working towards a relationship that best loves the child?
Agreeing to the Open Adoption Mediation program is a requirement for all adoptive parents entering into an open adoption through a Choosing Hope Adoptions placement. After the first year we will evaluate whether or not to set a meeting for the end of year two. It is our hope that this program offers direction, freedom, and a safe place for all members of the adoption triad, alongside Choosing Hope, to work together for the best interest of all.
Whether it’s social media, Christmas cards in the mail, or a text message, each day we see the beautiful tiny faces of the children who Choosing Hope Adoptions has had the honor of placing into an adoptive home. Time and again it’s not their smile, or eyes, or wild baby hair alone that we notice…it’s their likeness to their birth parents that we see.
We see a resemblance. The smile…she looks like her mom. The hair color…we know where that comes from. The way her ears pop out just a little extra…just like her hero, her first hero. That courageous and brave mom and dad who decided to tell a different story.
Our staff at Choosing Hope…we see you. We see you in your child.
The new TV series This Is Us has taken its viewers on an emotional roller coaster and given a glimpse into the heart of an adopted Child. In a recent episode, Randell, an elementary aged boy who was adopted as a new born, has recently learned that being able to roll your tongue is a genetically inherited trait. Randell doesn’t know who his birth family is. He doesn’t know his story or why his birth parents made an adoption plan for him…he’s left with so many questions.
Randell is black and can roll his tongue. So, while out in public, he approaches black adults and asks them if they can roll their tongue. Because if they can, maybe, just maybe, they are his birth parents.
This scene depicts a reality of adoption. While so much is gained through an adoptive family, much is lost. There is a loss in adoption that cannot be ignored, stuffed away, or left a secret.
Adoption is a redemptive plan to a crisis. It’s a “yes” to telling a different story. When coupled with the Hope of Christ adoption redeems…but not just the life of the child, but equally important the lives of the birth parents.
With very few exceptions we find that open adoption is best. For a child to know where they came from, for them be able to see those likenesses they have with their birth parents…where their smile, hair, or ability to roll their tongue came from…it ties up loose ends and helps bring healing, to the child and the birth parents.
Watch for more posts on Open Adoption and the vision God has given Choosing Hope Adoptions to partner with the foster system in hopes of telling a different story there.