Adoptimist Adoption Blog
July 1, 2014

Why I Chose Open Adoption

I didn’t know much about open adoption at all when I was pregnant and making my adoption plan twelve years ago. In fact, it was my son’s mother who first suggested open adoption as we sat around her dining room table during my very first visit to their house (while I was still pregnant). She had done her research and believed open adoption was the best option for adopted children in most cases. She explained that via open adoption I could receive pictures and updates of my son and even visit with him and his family over the years. Ultimately after a lot of thinking and prayer, I decided open adoption would be the best option for my unborn baby. 

Here are some of the reasons I chose open adoption:

1. I am directly accessible should any medical concerns arise in my son’s life or should there ever be a need to know more biological family medical history. Although I did fill out a short medical form as part of the adoption paperwork, it was not very extensive. I’m always just a phone call away should anything ever happen and the need arises.

2. If my son ever has questions about why he was placed for adoption, he can come straight to me and ask. He never has to guess or wonder why I made the decisions I made. All he has to do is come to me and ask.

3. Through open adoption, my son is able to have a live connection to my side of his biological family. He is able to have a relationship with me and know some of the members of his extended biological family, such as my parents (his biological grandparents).

4. Open adoption gives my son a more complete picture of who he is. Not only is he able to see traits and characteristics he has picked up from his adoptive family, he can also clearly see the ones that were inherited from his biological family (such as his physical appearance).

5. Through open adoption, both my boys know one another and even know that they are brothers. I had a son who was four at the time of the adoption. And while theirs is not a typical sibling relationship (growing up together in the same house), nonetheless it is an important relationship for both.

6. I’m not a mystery or fantasy to my son. I’ve read that some adopted children/adults who do not know their birthparents often wonder or fantasize about who they are and what they are like. Because of open adoption, I am not a mystery to my son.

7. Open adoption seemed like a healthier choice. I can’t imagine not knowing my son. Or not knowing that he is a healthy, happy child, along with all the other little things I am able to know about him as a result of open adoption.

I had already chosen a family and was technically in the process of a semi-open adoption when I learned of and chose open adoption. But another reason that women may choose some level of openness is that through open adoption, they can pick the family they wish to raise their child.

While there is still pain as a birthmother in an open adoption, I am grateful for the opportunity to know my son and watch him grow up.

About The Author

Coley Strickland

Nicole “Coley” Strickland has become a strong voice for expectant mothers and birthmothers. At the age of 25, she became a birthmother, lovingly placing her three-day-old baby boy into an open adoption and the arms of his adoptive parents. She and fellow birthmother Leilani Wood went on to found BirthMom Buds, a website and nonprofit organization that provides support to birthmothers.

Coley has further given a voice to the bittersweet turmoil of birthmothers, becoming an active member of the adoption community, writing, speaking and sharing her story with others. In addition to her numerous blogs, she has also been featured on a number of radio programs, magazine and newspaper articles, as well as in the books: How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio by Madeleine Melcher and A Personal Touch on Adoption by Peter Berlin. In addition to her many other roles, Coley has been blessed to parent her special needs son Noah, who along with the son she placed, is the love of her life.

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About This Adoption Blog

The Adoptimist blog features advice, tips, and inspiration for adoptive parents who are actively pursuing adoption connections online.

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