Adoption takes many forms and can mean something different to each biological and adoptive parent, the extended family, and of course, the child.
There is no doubt adoption is a beautiful gift, created by two selfless acts: one giving the love of a child to another person or family and one giving the gift of love to someone not biologically related to them. I’ve also discovered other incredible blessings: the love of extended biological families, a new understanding of what acceptance of others means, and an amazing connection that can be shared only by the birth parents and adoptive parents.
Of course, this means I am talking about something much more than a “regular” adoption. I am talking about “Open Adoption.”
Make no mistake, this is not always an easy idea to embrace…and I guarantee living this idea is even more challenging. And, I will admit, I was completely against open adoption as I started my parenting journey. However over time, I realized the amazing gifts a birth family can provide to an adoptive family.
“Where do I come from?”;
”Why was I given up for adoption?”;
”Do they think about me?”; or
A medical provider: “Is there any family history?”
Being able to answer these questions with knowledge and honesty provides the child with the help needed for her to grow into a healthy and functioning adult.
Being able to facilitate a birth parent and child conversations throughout the year, but especially on the child’s birthday, allows the birth parents to move through life with reassurance that the child is cared for and loved. Read that again – it allows the birth parents to move on.
Having an open adoption and being an adoptive parent, has allowed me to get to know the child’s biological “two times” Great Grandma, her Great Grandparents, and Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins – and not just get to know them, but understand and learn from them and about their distinct family history. I’m able to pass along funny family stories to my child. Her birth family has become part of our family…my other children have also been welcomed into that family. And no one can deny a child – any child – can use all the love offered!
Most of all, the gift of open adoption opened my eyes to the beauty of being able to give my baby, who has become an incredible young person, the gift of knowledge, acceptance, and love.
November is National Adoption Month. If adoption calls to your heart, please don’t turn it off – you may gain far more than a child.