The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
Write a response at your blog–linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs–and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is fine; I’d appreciate it if you’d add a link back to the roundtable. If you don’t blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.
Are you approaching openness differently in 2013? What experiences from in the past year influenced you most?
Alice Anne (adoptive parent) @ Xavier, Alice Anne, & Kal-El: “The thought occurred to me at one point that it would’ve been nice to have that open adoption agreement to fall back on – to know that even when things get busy I’m still doing enough to include my son’s birth family in his life, even if I could only manage to do what we agreed on and nothing more. But then I realized at any point in time a standard could be set on what is expected out of this open adoption. Just because we didn’t write anything up in the beginning doesn’t mean I can’t come to a conclusion about being consistent now. I just have to start doing it. So, I sat down and wrote out what I thought would be important to send on a regular basis and how often we’d like to try and visit, what bare minimum would look like in busier times, etc. Done. That was so simple. Why was I making it so difficult and worrying over nothing?”
Dolores (first parent) in a comment: “I have read so many [blogs] the last year and have learned a lot about the experiences of others. As a birthmom, I have especially learned what adoption is like for adoptees and adoptive parents. I think this has given me more compassion.”
Cindy (first parent) @ Another Crazy Christian: “Am I approaching openness differently?? Maybe, different as in not at all. Well not as aggressively as I could be. I could be messaging my son’s adoptive mom every week, asking for a visit. I could be worrying more about it. The fact it that I’ve become somewhat ambivalent about my whole situation.”
Danielle (first parent) @ Another Version of Mother: “This year, I might actually get to see what a real open adoption truly looks like. This year, I get to see his writing, and read his thoughts. This year, I get to converse with my son, the same way I converse my readers on this blog, through writing, and that? That is an amazing, wonderful, brilliant breakthrough for this adoption.”
Traathy (adoptive parent) @ Happily Ever After: “Then he made a little speech and said that even though all his grandchildren live in different homes they are all family and that all the kids would be getting an annual fund from the grandparents. We all live in different homes but we’re all family. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted for my child. People who love her. So many people. Despite knowing that we are more than able to provide for K, they wanted to be a part of something important for her.”
Wendryn (adoptive parent) @ Wendryn Doubt: “A long time ago I wrote a post about little-f family and big-F Family. Little-f family is made up of the family you are born with, the ones you don’t choose. Big-F Family is made up of the people you choose, the ones you absolutely know will always support you, and the ones you call first when something happens. Sometimes you are lucky and they overlap.”
Venessa (adoptive parent) @ Unexpected Dreams: Our adoption situation started out with a few bumps in the road but the last half of 2012, things started to turn around for the better. The best thing that happened was we started having coffee meetups! I have monthly coffee dates with Little Miss’s birth mom. It is just a chance for her and I to grow our relationship with each other which hopefully will help her and Little Miss and LM continues to grow.”
Lynn (adoptive parent) @ Open Hearts Open Minds: “I know that relationships and people evolve over time. Maybe one day she’ll change her mind; maybe she won’t. If she decides not to be part of Elliot’s life, we’ll have to figure out how to explain to him why she isn’t…especially if his birth father is. And, even if she decides she doesn’t want to stay connected, I do hope she’ll be available to Elliot later on if he feels he needs to contact her.But, since my baby is only three, we have some time to figure this out. And for now, we can concentrate on building a stronger relationship with Elliot’s birth father, which I believe is what he also wants. Has anyone out there had a similar experience with a birth parent who decided to cut off contact?”
Artsweet (adoptive parent) @ Artificially Sweetened: “I can’t say that I am approaching openness differently in 2013 than I did in 2012, because it’s all so new to us. I do know that my experience of openness in reality is so much richer and more beautiful than anything I had imagined pre-Posy.”
jkhallowell (adoptive parent)@ keeperofthepark: “In the first days of contact, it’s very much like a new dating relationship. You want to spend a lot of time getting to know each other, asking questions, sharing pictures etc. As we get to know each other in 2013, we’ll figure out how to develop our relationship and become a part of each other’s lives. I look forward to it!”
Robyn (adoptive parent) @ The Chittister Family: “I started thinking about this prompt, and the flip, sarcastic answer came immediately to mind. I’m in that kind of mood these days. After that settled, I started thinking, “What
else more can I do?” And the answer came back: Nothing. I really can’t do anything else.”
Racilous (first parent) @ Adoption in the City: “It’s funny, I know we grew a lot as a family, all of us, in the past year. We poked at things that seemed scary and in doing so we were able to be honest. That honesty I really believe will end in our having a stronger relationship. But when I look at this year my focus tends not to be on how we grew, but on the fact that no matter how much I grow in my relationship with my son, I still feel grief, sadness, loss. I still struggled during the holidays. I still feel like I’m fumbling through all of this especially in my own life.”
Barb (first parent) @ Sideshow Barb: “I fought the good fight, navigated a boat to safety against currents. Fifteen years later, I’m “passed” it. Not “over” it. Never “over it”. But I’m passed the anger, guilt, uncertainty, resentment that came with the territory. Fifteen years full of self loathing, self doubt, medication. All I needed was the information, the Real Kid. The more dimensional he became, the ability to let it drift away increased.”
Amber (adoptive parent) @ Bumber’s Bumblings: “Ash has had the opportunity to do some traveling this past fall and this month. I’m so thrilled and happy for her. I have to say that I miss her tons when she is gone. I love sending her pics and telling her cute things that B does and says throughout my week. It’s amazing to have this kind of relationship. I mean who else is as crazy in love with their child as a mother and be able to share that is just so sweet.”
Meghann (adoptive parent) @ Four Wild Blueberries: “We are in the midst of a quantum shift with Julia, not just about adoption but about everything. She is so observant, so curious, keeping us always on our toes with all of her questions. We have talked about adoption with her—with both of them—since they came home, practicing when they were infants and couldn’t understand what we were saying in the hopes that by the time it became important to talk about it, we would have figured out how to talk about it well. Children have a way, though, of throwing a wrench into things when you think you have it all figured out.”
Petite Coccinelle (first parent) @ Navigating Normal: “I was thinking about it again the other day when it all just sort of broke free in my head and I started laughing out loud. It truly was hilarious. I would never agonize over offering to watch a friend’s kid and what implications would go along with this gesture of good will, so why was I treating this situation so differently? Even though relationships built around adoption carry a different weight than other relationships do, they should still work the same basic way. The moms and I have had so many conversations about this very subject in the past, about embracing open and honest communication and not letting ourselves be scared to the point of holding back. The fact that I took the time to consider their point of view, wanted to make my offer in a way that was respectful to them, and would accept any response they gave to it without being hurt or taking it personally made it perfectly ok for me to make this offer.”
About the author:
A mother by open adoption, Heather Schade is the founder and editor of Open Adoption Bloggers. She writes at Production, Not Reproduction.