Open adoptions are so varied. Some the birth parents want occassional contact, others they want to be more involved. It is worth exploring. I have cousins who adopted their 3rd child via open adoption. The birth mother has been by a few times since then but is not really involved with any raising.
On the other end of the spectrum I have a good friend who gave up a child in open adoption. She wanted to choose the type of parents to raise her child. Beyond that, she gets a school picture every year and a letter. And she doesn't want any more than that.
Based on those admittedly 3rd-hand experiences, it sounds to me like open adoption is something to explore. Agencies try to match you with a birth mother who wants the type of adoption that you do.
I have a neice that was placed for adoption with a family in Canada. My sister picked the family & they agreed to an open adoption. My neice knows that she has 2 mommies and receives pics of her other siblings throughout the year. I now too am in contact with the adoptive mom and send her pics of my kids - or cousins to my neice. I feel strongly that my sister made the best decision in placing this litte girl for adoption. It basically saved her life. However it didn't mean that my sister loved her little girl any less. In an open adoption, you not only get to learn the medical background of the parent(s), but over a slow gradual period of time, the child gets to learn more about who he/she is (why do i have blue eyes? why are my feet so big? who do i most look like, etc). My sister & I have both expressed our gratitude for this other family and will NEVER deny her being the "true" mother to our little girl.
In an open adoption the adopted child gets to gain an understanding of why things happened the way they did in a healthy gradual way. Of course I don't advocate contact with a mentally ill parent (or abusive parent). But really, a young woman that places her child up for adoption today may not be the same person 2, 5, 10yrs from now. And i think her child needs to understand that we are all human and we make the best judgement calls we can. And it's NEVER the child's fault - which only a birth parent can really, truly emphasize. In the long run, i think it's the healthiest way to go for the child.
Now of course an open adoption is extremely hard at first for the birth parent - but REMEMBER: just because you chose to place your child up for adoption doesn't mean you don't love him/her. ANd sometimes being a parent-even if just a birth parent - we have to do hard & uncomforable things. TOO BAD. That's being a parent. Cry in your pillow, seek therapy, but let your child know that you will always be there to answer questions. My 2cents!
My best friend gave her baby up for adoption and now has an open adoption with the parents. I couldn't imagine any other way for them. The adoptive parents named the baby after her and visit from time to time. Both my friend's family and the adoptive parents's family are absolutely amazing, so it works. They've created one giant family full of love! My friend doesn't feel weird about it at all because she always felt like the baby was their's while she was carrying him. All in all, I think it should be up to the birthmother...whatever makes her feel comfortable.
I am sorry to be chimming in late on the topic but I wanted to share. We adopted both our children through open adoption. With our first (son, almost 7 years old now!) the adoption started as semi closed. We were in the hall at the hospital when he was born. After placement we talked on the phone and sent pictures a few times during the first nine months. At nine months his birth mom asked if we could get together. I was terrified but we met for lunch and then went to the play area at the mall. The visit went really smoothly. For the next four years we would chat on the phone every few months, send pictures and then get together once or twice a year for lunch. At four my son knew he did not grow in my tummy, but hers, that she was called his birth-mom, that he had a big sister that lived with his birth-mom, and they both adored him. What can be wrong with that.
When he was four we adopted our daughter. Her birth parents invited us to ultra sound appointments and we were present for her birth (they even had me cut the cord!). We saw them and their two children every week or two for the first few months and talked on the phone at least once a week. It was like they were our extended family and we were eager to get to know them as much as they were eager to get to know us. Over time the family visits began to stretch to once every month or two and the phone calls to every few weeks. It was like we needed to get that strong family bonding done and then we all felt better and could relax into an extended family mode.
Because this adoption relationship was going so well we were eager to open up more to our son's birth mom and she was pleased too.
When my son is asked about having siblings sometimes he just says he has a sister but more often than not he proudly says he has four sisters and a brother. He counts his 2 biological sisters, his little sister, and her biological sister and brother. I have learned that these relationships eb and flow over the years depending on what is going on in all of our lives. When times are busy we may not get together but as it is with all family we know (and they know) that they are just a phone call away.
I encourage you to read more about open adoption. Check out Adoptive Family Magazine for more information. Call agencies and see if there is a support group in your area so you can meet other adoptive families. Yes, open adoption can be scary. Yes there is a chance of heart ache. Yes, it takes a strong couple to grow their family in this way but it is worth it. Your child will benefit from knowing their birth family, the birth family will benefit from knowing their child is loved and adored by you, and you will benefit from all that you will learn about sacrifice and love from your child's first parents. Good luck on your journey.
Our boys are adopted from Ukraine. One of the questions we get is, "Why international adoption?" Part of the reason, besides the children's need for loving parents, is the changing rights of birth parents in the US. I completely respect the difficult decision birth parents have to make regarding adoption. But increasingly, birth parent rights are trumping adoptive parents rights. A birth parent that changes their mind about adoption may regain custody, leaving the adoptive parents devastated. In regards to raising our children, I wouldn't want our boys to have two sets of parents guiding them. It is confusing for them and not fair to us. I believe that's our choice as parents. Our boys will have questions about their birth parents and we completely understand that. We are looking forward to helping them answer any questions they have. But our duty is to the best interest of our children, not the person that was not ready for parenthood. They made the difficult decision that they were not capable of raising a child. I feel they then have to respect that we took on the responsibility of parenthood for a lifetime.
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As a birth mom myself, I agree that the birth parent's decision to not follow through on an adoption can be devastating. I think it's the worst thing you can do to allow another couple to enjoy & bond with their adoptive child only to pull the rug out from under them. On the upside, it has to be done in the first 6 months. So there's not a huge time window for changing minds. And I really haven't heard of this happening a lot. I'm not saying it doesn't cause Heaven knows it does, but for the most part, I've witness people such as myself who are admittedly not ready for parenthood & realize that they are doing the best thing for their child.
People that place their baby/babies for adoption are doing a very selfless thing. The natural mother in us wants to keep our children with us, but the reality is not everyone is fit and or ready to be a parent & the best thing to do is put our own feelings aside & think of our children instead. I commend you for doing an international adoption but I think there are equal risks involved. I've heard of international adoptions falling through as well, and it's much more complicated when that happens because there are different rules from country to country. No matter where it happens, it's truly a sad circumstance.
We adopted and felt the same way you have felt, we were scared to death.
First off we did an open adoption, we told the birth parents we would either send a photo or have a supervised visit 1 time each quarter but it was their responsibility to contact us for that. We secured a post office box in a city away from us and gave them a cell # only. People fade in time, we only heard from the father and he was 6 days late, so we denied his request and told him next time. He said he knew he was not on time and understood, we also told him that we didn't want to confuse our daughter and not until WE were ready would she know exactly who he or her mother was. The mother called a few times.. it has been almost 2 and half years, haven't heard form either in over a year... people fade.. but you have to do what is in your heart, my daughter was taken from birth, their other children had been taken by cps and they were given up for adoption. Looking back, I cringe at what type of life she might have had, but YOU have to listen to your heart and you have to pray about this decision and make sure it is one YOU can live with and remember the greatest gift they re giving YOU is their child, so if a photo everyone in a while might not be such a bad thing...
We have an open relationship with our son's birth parents. They are both friends of ours on Facebook, though I do restrict how much they can see (I am not comfortable with them seeing EVERY status update, picture and video I post of Dante). One of his birth grandmas tried to 'friend' me but I declined - I told them that while we are okay with being their friends, we would rather their friends/family hear about Dante through them. We had to draw a line.
I also recently had to ask the birth dad to stop referring to Dante as his son (he would say "how is my/our son doing?" It made us uneasy that he said that (they are very young - I just don't think he realized what he was saying).
We see the birth mom, who lives 45 minutes away, about every other month. That is the arrangement that was determined for the first year that we are with Dante. When the year-mark rolls around in June, we will probably see her less.
I continue to send them both updates about his progress and I know they really appreciate it. It has been a very positive thing for our family, but it has its stressful moments, and moments of insecurity, too.
As an adopted child, I would have welcomed at least a semi-open adoption. Having some idea about the birth parents would have helped me a lot in coming to terms with the idea of adoption, and I wish I had some medical records available. It really depends on your situation, and as an international adoptee it's definitely much harder to have an open adoption.