#AdoptionTalk – Navigating Open Adoption & My Feelings

 

It’s never an easy thing to navigate through open adoption, especially if it’s the first time for all involved.

My birth daughter’s adoptive parents and I are currently navigating our open adoption. We are always re-evaluating things as she grows up. For example, our visits for the first two years were lunches in restaurants. Then we realized that that wasn’t going to work since she was more active an independent. So our most recent visit also included letting her run around a play area in the mall.

Things will continue to change as she gets older, and that’s how it should be. What works now when she’s a toddler won’t be the same as whatever works when she’s eleven or twelve.

I’ve seen other open adoptions through social media that are very different from mine, but that’s the nature of the situation. Every adoption, every family, every birthmom, they all vibe differently and their structures vary.


I was originally scared of open adoption, and didn’t think that I wanted one. I had heard so many horror stories about adoptive parents who would go back on their word about updates and visits and communication. Leaving the birthmom or birthparents hurt and clueless and wondering what happened.

But now, two and a half years into my open adoption, I honestly love it. We don’t have one where we talk or see each other all the time. We get together twice a year. They send updates halfway between visits. If something major happens, I know I can email them and they’ll respond within a few days. I’ve done it when family members were very ill or passed away.

At this point, I couldn’t imagine if I had gone with a closed adoption. The pain of not knowing what my daughter looks like or who she’s growing up to be. It would be too much to bear.

I know that it’s not for everyone one, and that’s perfectly fine. But it is definitely something that I would encourage birthmoms to think about when making an adoption plan for their child.


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Finding Dory Reaction

I finally went to see Finding Dory in theaters (back on July 5th). I don’t like going right when movies open cause everyone’s there and it’s just too crowded for me, so I went with a friend on a Tuesday night.

I’ve seen a post going around Facebook from an adoptive mom saying that Finding Dory is a movie that should be screened before taking your kids to see it. And to some degree, I can understand that. But you also need to know your child and whether or not they can handle something like that. I feel like the adoptive mom who said it, and those who agree with her, are the ones who aren’t ready to have a discussion about the birthmother with their child. It’s really not that difficult.

This is what’s going around for everyone to see:

“WARNING! Before seeing Finding Dory, all foster/adoptive parents should preview the movie first! We thought our teenage bio kids & 9 yr.-old adopted son (we’ve had him for 4+ yrs) could see it without us previewing it. Our kids sat in the row in front of us. Halfway through the movie, our 100 lb., very tall son, got up and came and sat on my lap for the duration of the movie. Dory has childhood flashbacks throughout the movie as she seeks to find her birth parents. The movie deals with multiple levels of abandonment and loss. While the ending is sweet as she is reunited with her birth parents & we realize her birth parents were looking for her too, there are elements of the ending that can have detrimental results for our adopted kids.

1) It was Dory’s forgetfulness that caused her to be separated from her parents…. basically, her separation was her fault.

2) Her birth parents were physically, emotionally, & mentally stable and ACTIVELY seeking for her. This is not the case for MOST of our tender-hearted kiddos. This birth parent ‘fairytale image’ can create a false image in their forming minds.

3) At the end of the movie, once Dory, Marlin & Nemo find Dory’s birth parents, they ALL (including the birth parents) travel back together to Dory & Nemo’s home and all live TOGETHER Happily Ever After. Some young foster/adopted kids might think that is the end goal.

So, bottom line… preview the movie first & evaluate for each child. There are some heavy topics brought up in the movie that are difficult for every foster/adopted child to deal with even at older ages, so don’t think this cute Disney movie is for everyone.”

Everyone has been seeing/hearing the adoptive parent side of it, but I think now it’s time to hear the birth parent side of it from one of us…

Let me touch on each of this woman’s points before going into my rant about what I think happened here.

1) Dory’s short term memory issues aren’t something she asked for – it just happened to her. If it was out of her control, it can’t really be her fault that she was separated from her parents.
It’s like saying that a child facing a challenge due to some medical issue they have, it’s their own fault if they fail. They never asked to have the medical issue, so it can’t be their fault.

2) I am a birth mother who more than likely could have cared for my child when they were born, but I knew that I couldn’t provide everything I wanted them to have. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be part of my child’s life. That’s what open adoption is for. I still get to have a relationship with them, and be able to have conversations as they grow up about why I made the decision I did.

3) If you raise your adopted child to know who we are, allow us to be part of your/their life, and have conversations about why we made the decision we did then things won’t become complicated like that.

Okay, now for me to talk about what I think happened here: 

Honestly, I think that this woman hasn’t had (or even tried to have) a conversation with her adopted son about his birthmother. Now, maybe they don’t know about his birthmother. That could be part of the issue here. But I think it comes down to how comfortable the mom is with permitting the birthmother to be part of their lives.
When you have an adopted child, you have to know that things like this can (and inevitably will) happen, and figure out how you’re going to handle them. To me, it sounds like this adoptive mom hadn’t thought it would happen or thought about how to handle it. I can only hope she sat down with her husband and her son at home after the movie and talked about everything.

I also think that the mom is dealing with other things that are frustrating her and taking it out on the movie. There could be a lot of things that factored into her making that post, and I don’t know about them, so I can only write this response based on what I read and how I interpret it.