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.