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Old 08-27-2007, 09:56 PM
 
73 posts, read 293,489 times
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My husband and I have been exploring adoption since being faced with fertility issues. Before even trying to go down the fertility treatment road, we have decided that adoption is something we'd really prefer to do. For us, the end result of having a child is most important (not for it to be biologically ours).

In our journey we are learning about open adoption and finding that this seems to have more of a positive outcome for the child. In reading other posts about adoption and reading different stories, it seems that for a child not to know their birthmother, this opens up the door for endless questions without answers. I wonder how this impacts a child as they grow older. What type of relationship exists with the birthmom and the adoptive parents.

I like the idea of having some sort of dialogue with the birthmom to be able to answer a child's questions. I also think it is impotant to know the child's health history, etc. should their ever be a need in the future.

International adoption seems to be a wonderful option for some families, but the secrecy and the lack of information on the birth parents seems it might open the door for a host of questions that can never be answered.

Can anyone talk about their experiences with closed/open adoption, experiences as the child gets older... what it's like to know your birthmom, what it's like to not know who your birthmom was? What about for birthmoms who are kept abreast of what is happening in the child's life?

I'm interested in hearing all different sides and would be so appreciative of anyone who might be willing to share their story and experiences.

Thank you!
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Old 08-28-2007, 02:15 AM
 
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I not only worked in the adoption field for 5 years but we also adopted our daughter, now age 4 at birth. We have an open adoption with her birthmother. We got matched with her birthmom when she was 6 mos. pregnant. We live in different states, so we would speak by phone and I would also mail her photos, cards and letters during her pregnancy. Our daughter was born by c-section and I arrived the day she was born at the hospital. I spent most of the day everyday in the birthmom's hospital room holding and caring for her as well as getting to know her birthmom better. At the termination hearing I promised our daughter's birthmom that I would send pictures and letters and keep contact and I have. We email now and then, I mail lots of pictures about twice a year with letters, send her a Xmas card, and birthday card, and talk on the phone now and then as well. I am glad I have kept contact. One day I think my daughter will be very happy I did this. I have also written any info I find out, medical, family background etc. I have had no contact at all, not even seen a picture of her birthfather though. This is because the birthmother cut off ties with him and moved away when she was pregnant. I believe open adoption is a emotionally healthy choice. In international adoption generally little to nothing is known about the birthparents and there is rarely any contact. I wish you luck in your adoption journey!
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:42 AM
 
73 posts, read 293,489 times
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Thank you so much for sharing your story! I think open adoption really sounds like the way to go in this day and age. I'm wondering how the children in the open adoption adjust later in life. What is their relationship with their birthmother. I have learned of the extreme open adoptions where the adoptive family maintains a VERY open relationship, so much so that the birthmom comes over frequently and visits with the child. That is something I'm not sure I'd feel so comfortable with. I just don't know how that would affect the child. Plus for our own sanity, I think I couldn't help feeling like it wouldn't really be our child if they had so much contact with the birthmom. I don't think there have been studies on this but I think it would be interesting to see how the child adjusts or feels having the opportunity to know their birthmom.
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Old 08-28-2007, 09:27 AM
 
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I know someone who had a baby and did open adoption. It was tough because in the state she was in they didn't allow open adoptions or something like that, I can't remember what she said, but the birth mom had to take the baby home from the hospital. She had the baby 3 days and really wanted to change her mind as she had time to bond, but she was under too much pressure from all sides to go through with the adoption on day 4. It was supposed to be open in that pictures were supposed to be sent at least yearly, but the adoptive parents pulled away. They didn't send pictures like they were supposed to. I guess they had fear the birth mom would decide to take the baby back since she was wavering in the beginning. The "baby" is now an adult and has done very well and seems well adjusted.
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:35 PM
 
Location: gilbert az "move me to Boise"
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We have in our family experienced both an open and a closed adoption
open adoption was my sister - had a family adopt her baby girl - back 20 yrs ago on an open adoption (my sister was ill and has since passed on - actually when the baby was 1) - she would visit the family and my mother (grandmother) would write every year since my sister passed and the family would never give her - the child - the letters, the gifts, etc. We recently found my niece in NJ and she did not know any of this - and her parents had been divorced for years.
as for closed - our son was adopted, privately through a closed adoption - both biologicals were young and wanted to get on with their lifes - my son is aware that he "came from my heart" not my stomach and is fine - I wrote a story when we were going through the process up until he was 2 and he has me read that once in awhile - or I should say - di - he is now 12 and life goes on - we are his parents - and that is all he wants to know - he knows this is his family,
SO my opinion is - if you open your heart and GOd is lucky to bless with you a child whether you 'carried" or not - why confuse a childs life - love the child, raise the child - he/she is YOUR child..
Why do we even have to use the word - ADOPTION - outside of the blessed Mother Mary giving birth - does it really matter who gives birth - rather than who raises and loves the child..
Good luck...
And by the way - talk to your local general physician - they have teens or ladies that can't provide come in alot not knowing what to do with these precious babies - and the doctors make notes of local couples wanting children.

Another note - all medical records whether open or closed are passed to the adopting parents - and all birth parents have to sign off on all paperwork and the adoption being released - so you will have all the information you need
I personally am glad there is no contact with the birth mother - she has moved on in her life - went to college, degreed, married, and has children through her marriage - so why confuse them all - why make questions come up that need not be there - if you have been upfront in the beginning, let the child choose when they are of age - if they want to pursue - fine - but why force it on them... these children love you as their parents - why confuse them and make them feel that they have to love 2 sets - or 2 people. Remember she carried - she did not raise and love...

Last edited by LVGAZ; 08-28-2007 at 01:46 PM..
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Default closed adoption...

We adopted our son as a newborn in a closed adoption. We had agreed to do the adoption however the birth mother was most comfortable. The closed adoption is what she chose and that was our preference from our standpoint. However, from the standpoint of a birthmother, I would normally think an open adoption would be preferable.

From our standpoint, the closed adoption worked out fine, but of course, there is no way to know what issues the birthmother may or may not have had since we didn't keep up with her. But again, that is what she chose to do, not us.
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Old 08-28-2007, 05:50 PM
 
73 posts, read 293,489 times
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Default open vs. closed adoption

I thank all of you for your stories. It brings up an interesting point when you say that closed adoptions do disclose the information about medical history. I think I would want something in between, where we do know the birth mother and I can answer any questions about her if our child wants to know, but that we'd leave it up to the child when they are 18 if they want to meet her. I don't know that I'd want the birthmom to be an active part of the child's life as I've seen some open adoption agencies advocate. Perhaps we'd send a picture or a letter every now and then, but I don't know if I'd want them to know our last names, where we live...hmmm... it's tough... to say and I suppose so much of that comes from who the birthmom is, who the adoptive parents are and what feels right.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JinLA View Post
I thank all of you for your stories. It brings up an interesting point when you say that closed adoptions do disclose the information about medical history. I think I would want something in between, where we do know the birth mother and I can answer any questions about her if our child wants to know, but that we'd leave it up to the child when they are 18 if they want to meet her. I don't know that I'd want the birthmom to be an active part of the child's life as I've seen some open adoption agencies advocate. Perhaps we'd send a picture or a letter every now and then, but I don't know if I'd want them to know our last names, where we live...hmmm... it's tough... to say and I suppose so much of that comes from who the birthmom is, who the adoptive parents are and what feels right.
It seems to me that you'd be more comfortable with a semi-open adoption. In a semi-open adoption, you may meet the birthparent(s) before the birth and agree to send letters and pictures at specific times. You may also agree to some visits after the birth at a neutral location, but if you are working with an agency, you wouldn't exchange identifying information (e.g., last names, addresses, phone numbers). Your letters would be sent to the agency and forwarded to the birthparent(s) and vice versa. You will still likely to get medical information (at least for the birthmother unless the birthfather is known and cooperative). Although communication agreements are only enforceable in a limited number of states, I still believe that one should not promise more than you are comfortable with. I think that if the relationship develops well over time, you can always agree to more communication in the future.

Best wishes with your adoption plans.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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It is not correct that you are automatically given all medical information. It depends on who you adopt through. Many adoption agencies provide what information (correct or not) to you. If you adopt privately or through a facilitator you likely will not get that info unless the birthmom herself gives it to you. Keep in mind many birthmothers have some background they are not proud of such as past abortions, drugs and/or alcohol during the pregnancy, previous arrests or jail time. It is very commonplace for them to not be truthful on their paperwork. I cannot tell you how many times I have known of birthmothers that claim no drugs or alcohol etc. and background checks done by the agency after the intial intack paperwork showed previous DUI's, drug arrests, jail time, whatever. You may have a birthmom that is truthful, and you may have one that has not smoked, used drugs or alcohol during her pregnancy etc., but you may, and you may or may not know about it. The odds are much more likely you will have a birthmother with one or more of the above mentioned situations.
Unfortunately for many birthmothers, many adoptive parents make promises to these girls that they never keep and many times never ever intended to keep, but agree to just to get the baby. It is very sad. All these girls have left is what photos and letters they get. I feel it is not fair to not go through with a promise like that. If the birthmother disappears and cannot be found and you lose contact that is one thing. As long as I am alive and I know where our birthdagther birthmother is, I will continue to send her pictures and letters. She just moved from the state our daughter was born to another and made a point of emailing me her new address so I could keep in touch.
Adoption is a very emotional thing and both sides have so much to lose and to gain. Treat the birthmom of your possible future baby the way you would want to be treated if you were her.
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Old 08-28-2007, 10:41 PM
 
73 posts, read 293,489 times
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Actually, I recenty discovered that my first cousin is a birthmom. She was estranged from our family, and one day I was doing a search online about adoption and and actually came across her name! It was very interesting to read her story on a support website for birthmoms. It is very clear that having an active roll in her daughter's life is importantto her and I was surprised to see how much she talks about her, and all the photos and visits she has. But as the adoptive parent, I think I would find it a bit difficult to maintain that level of correspondence. I fear I would feel my child was on borrowed time, or as if the birthmom would somehow get the best of both worlds, by being a "mom" without the real responsibility, which I know is rediculous to say when this woman is making a choice to give her child a life that she may not have been able to. (Hardly an easy thing to do). In some cases by giving up her child for adoption, it might also allow the birthmom to have a better life and time to grow and be responsible to eventually be ready to have her own child in the future -- in a more stable environment, once she's grown up, become clean, etc...

I'm realistic, in that it seems drug use, alcoholism, and multiple partners are common with birthmoms putting their child up for adoption. Having a chance to witness the birthmom's character was some of the appeal of having an open adoption -- as it was explained how the birthmom and adoptive parents meet each other. It would seem that the adoptive parents would have a chance to survey the mom's character and to get a feel for her mental state, etc. If it didn't feel right, one agency told us that we wouldn't have to call it a "match"... but I fear that being faced with that first chance at having a baby, I would somehow start overlooking the initial criteria that I had wanted to avoid in the birthmom (drugs, etc.)... like I'd start to become more lenient in those things. Does that make sense? I wonder the risks of drug use, in birthmoms and if any adoptive parents have experienced behavioral problems?

Anyway, sorry if I'm ranting here...just kind of thinking outloud...
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