Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Open Adoption–Positives and Challenges

I wanted to say again how nice it was to read the comments from my earlier post and to see how many readers have followed this blog either since Zoe came home or from long before that.  Like I wrote in the last post, I have been unsure of what to write.  I have wondered if I should continue writing the blog or not.  I really love to write; I am just unsure of the direction I want it to go.  I want to focus as much as possible on adoption (open adoption, specifically), but I also debate with myself about how much is okay to share.  This is an experience that belongs to more than just me – it impacts our daughter, my husband, my family, and of course, Zoe’s birth family.  As I write my posts, I find myself trying to write in a way that will honor and respect everyone.  I also find myself wanting to share more because I really feel so passionately about adoption.  I love sharing our experience and encouraging others, too.

I had said that I would answer all of the questions asked in my earlier post.  Penelope mentioned in her comment that she would “love to know more about the good/challenging things in an open adoption.”  There are so many great things about having an open adoption with Zoe’s birth mom, Z.  I am so thankful to her for wanting to be in Zoe’s life and to be in our life.  She’s part of our family.  We have gained so much by having this relationship.  Zoe does not understand adoption yet, but she knows that she is very loved by Z and her family.  Zoe is so happy when she sees them. 

Zoe’s birth mom is a really strong, brave person.  She made such a hard decision and has impacted our lives forever. She is funny and kind,and it has been wonderful learning more about her each time we visit (or talk, text, or email.)

My husband agrees with me, but he also added a few things to what we appreciate about having an open adoption.  Steve brought up how it is really a positive thing to have medical information about our daughter.  And if something  should come up health-wise, we could ask Z about it.

Steve also brought up that it has been a gift to us to get to know Z and to see how she has been doing since choosing adoption for her/our daughter.  And we are so glad that she (and her family) get to see how Zoe is doing.  Zoe will have a relationship with her birth mom.  She will know how loved she is by her birth mom, uncles, and grandparents.  Because of our open adoption, we are connected to each others’ lives.

As far as challenges go, I guess there are some.  I know that I was incredibly nervous when we got together the first time.  We were so excited to see them and for Zoe see her birth family.  But I was so nervous about what to say.  I really wanted her birth mom to see how much we love Zoe and how beyond-thrilled we were/are to be her parents.  I also wanted her to be happy she chose us.  That’s a lot of pressure, you know?

Steve and I also talked about how when we adopted Zoe, we went from a couple to a couple with a daughter to a family of three with an even bigger family.  You have to be sensitive and respectful to everyone’s feelings.  Of course we have always tried to be respectful to our family members, anyway, but then you suddenly have a whole new section of your family.  You have to consider a lot of different feelings and get to know the new family members as you go.

Penelope also wrote: “If you plan on adopting again, how (if at all) would you change aspects of the birth parent involvement?”  We would love to adopt again, but we are not sure if/when it will happen.  I will probably write about that in another post.  But as far as would I change aspects of the birth  parent involvement…If we were in a similar situation with another birth parent or a set of birth parents, I would not hesitate to have the same level of openness.  We got to know Zoe’s birth mom prior to Zoe being born and we were comfortable with the idea of having an open relationship with her.  As long as we felt that way, we would be happy to have another open adoption relationship.

I think I will stop here for now..I will read through the comments again and see if there are other questions to answer in my next post.  I will leave with a pic from our Labor Day weekend…we spent some time at the lake with my parents.  Zoe is quite comfortable on Grandpa’s boat!



LisaAnne said...

I am wondering what your level of openess is with Zoe's birthfamily.

Open adoption is so different for every family. I would be interested in knowing how much contact and what types you have with Zoe's birthfamily.

I would also like to know how you came to that level of openess. Was it 'agreed upon' or did it happen organically?

Thanks for sharing with us. I love people who are willing to debunk the scary idea of 'open adoption'.

birthmothertalks said...

Very adorable picture and I love the way you write about Zoe's birth family.

Leah said...

Love this post! I cannot even imagine the pressure you must have felt after Zoe's birthmom seeing you and Steve with Zoe, and hoping that she thought she made the right decision. I have a feeling she has absolutely no regrets in that department.

I am a big fan of open adoption. Our adoption is not open, and it leaves a huge void in our family. There is so much we don't know, and that makes me sad for my son.

Penelope said...

Thank you -and Steve- so much for answering my questions! We have a semi open relationship with my son's birthparents and often wonder if the relationship will/should become more open in the future. I also struggle with questions surrounding whether or not we will be able to adopt again in the future. Your blog has really been inspirational to me. I can very much relate to your experiences and I respect the fact that you are sharing your story in a way that is truly respectful to Zoe and everyone in Zoe's life. Thank you again!

Wendy said...

LisaAnne - Just wrote a whole post (inspired by your questions) :) Thank you!

Birthmothertalks - Thank you so much!

Leah - I can understand wanting to know more about your son's birth family. I'm sorry it's hard.

Penelope - Thank you so much.