This month there have been and will continue to be introductions by some new Open Adoption Bloggers contributors and it got me thinking.
I’ve been living in an open adoption for over twelve years. Adoption has been a research focus of mine for almost as long. I’ve written about adoption and been part of the online adoption community for almost a decade. I’ve lobbied and testified for open adoption records. I’ve attended and presented at adoption conferences and worked as a social worker at an adoption agency where I co-facilitated the pre-adoptive training on openness. And yet, I don’t consider myself an open adoption expert.
How could I be? I am living one very specific open adoption. One very specific adoption that changes so much, so often. One very specific adoption that is unrecognizable from what it was ten or even five years ago. I’ve worked with and witnessed such a small number of adoptions. Whenever I have a question I turn to those I know who are also living it, researching it, and or working with it, but I never search for a specific “expert”. How can anyone ever consider themselves an expert on open adoption (or adoption in general)? How can anyone ever trust the knowledge base of someone who deems themselves an expert in adoption?
Maybe there are some true experts out there, but perhaps it’s best to dismiss the title of expert all together. We are all just living our own open adoptions, witnessing each other’s adoptions, and sharing the knowledge we’re acquiring with each other as we go. And maybe that’s better than having one or two experts. Getting so many perspectives and then using your own expertise on your own life to decide how or if something can apply to you. Not getting hung up on “doing it right,” but focusing on doing it right for your own situation.
The many varying experiences is one reason I love the open adoption community, the open adoption bloggers blogroll, and of course all the bloggers who will be posting here on OAB!
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there is a set of characteristics that make up a definitive open adoption expert. What say you?
About the author:
Kat Cooley, MSW writes here at Open Adoption Bloggers twice a month. She previously worked as a social worker providing comprehensive all options counseling to those experiencing unplanned pregnancy and is now pursuing a PhD in Social Work with a focus on adoption related research. She is also a birth mom over a decade into an open adoption. She is always open to suggestions for topics; you can leave them in the comments, at the OAB Facebook page, or tweet her @KMCooleyMSW.
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