adoption post - People ask all the time what are the differences between open, semi-open, and closed adoptions. So I am going to give you some definitions that are pretty accepted in domestic adoptions.
Closed adoption- this is where there is NO contact whatsoever between the birth family and the child or baby even as the child is growing up. There is no exchange of contact information and you may not even know who the birth mom's name is, have a picture, or know anything about them whatsoever. Most overseas adoptions are closed (except some programs now such as the Ethiopia program are pleased to have birth family meeting and happy to pass along pictures etc. to the families, but this is not the norm).
Closed adoption is also a protection for children that need to NOT be exposed to the birth family for safety concerns. Sometimes this option is ok with these situations because obviously the children need to be protected even at the cost of not having that relationship.
In my opinion these are the only two situations when adoption should be closed. I think even if it is minimal contact- there should be something. If for no other reason than just a curiosity that all children will have about the birth family. That is my opinion- you don't have to agree. I have had several families that have adopted overseas and really mourned the fact that they can't tell anything to them about the birth family. Breaks my heart because most of the time they LOVE their families, but just want to see if they look like their birth mom or have any of their traits....simple curiosity. Or they want to know that they are safe and ok.
On to Semi-Open...this is when you send ongoing pictures, letters saying what the children are doing at different stages, and you may even have open electronic lines- like e-mails, facebook, or blogs. Most times you meet the family at the child's birth or shortly after the consent forms are filled out for parental termination. This is what we have with all of our children's birth families. This is a pretty comfortable place to be. You get to share some things online, or with letters & pics. We tend to do this at least twice a year, with more often in the beginning. Eventually when our children are older we have made it very clear that they are able to choose getting to visit their birth families. We have had pictures of the birth families on the wall. We keep our conversations open about the birth families. We are happy to say things in our home like- oh you have _________'s smile.
The thought of this sometimes scares the mess out of people, but I want to emphasize that once you get passed the "scary" first meeting.....it is a great way to make sure your children don't feel that rejection as strongly. It is something you can be open about. Let me also state that the birth family is usually JUST AS NERVOUS as you are. Imagine for a few minutes how it feels to know that you LOVE YOUR CHILD SOOOOOOO MUCH!!! You have viewed profiles or been told a family has been found for your child....then you have/get to meet them. Sometimes for the first time - the day your child is born! I mean- talk about pressure. You wonder......do they think that I am a loser? Do they think I am just to incompetent to raise my child? Will they tell my child horrible things about me as they grow up? What will they really think about me?
I don't know about you, but that list crosses my mind as I think of our birth families........I want to MAKE SURE they know that NONE of that is true. ****I also want to say that in the case of foster care sometimes it is a GOOD thing to have a break before having any ongoing relationship. Sometimes I believe you can cause more damage by trying to start anything right away - on the child's behalf. As in we have always written the letters, and sent the pics. At first we didn't make a big deal about it....because just months prior our children had "mental breakdowns" over having to have visits with them. So you do have to judge this for your child's mental safety as well.
I would say that sometimes our feedback has not been positive. REMEMBER the birth family is hurting! This is a time to show grace and mercy....not throw stones! We have received plenty of negative letters from one of our birth families. This was an opportunity for us to show Jesus to her and resist any urge to be snotty back. We simply sent our usual letters and pics as if we had never received anything hurtful from her. You know what- just lately we have received some very nice letters from her :) Praising God for this! It is HIM who works things out and our job is to do our best.
Then there are open adoptions. These are something hard to do. They are not for the faint of heart. My cousin's family has an open adoption with both birth families....and it is sometimes heartbreaking. They have media contact, phone contact, as well as visits. Now this can of course only happen when you live at least somewhat locally. Which for most of our birth families....we don't. So it is hard to have any twice yearly or less or more often visits with them when they live pretty far away. We do plan on visiting birth families - when we are able to visit these other states in the future.
The tricky part with this is there is A LOT OF TRUST to do this kind of adoption. Sometimes it is not easy because a comment is made....and it can cause hard feelings. Although sometimes it can be very beneficial- but it depends solely on how the "adults" handle it as well. It can be well done if you put the effort in. Of course for us - it is a cross between semi-open and open. There are many options in between :)
So you need to figure out what you are comfortable with. One of our birth moms didn't want ANY contact, but after meeting her at the hospital.....that all changed. Now we have her number, and she has our blog address, and we are able to send pics and letter directly to her :) So sometimes it changes....and that is fine if both "parties" are good with that :)
**WE HAVE A COURT DATE FOR OUR OFFICIAL ADOPTION OF JOANNA- NOVEMBER 22, 2010!!!!!! 9:30AM :) We couldn't be more thrilled. YEAH!!!!!
****Please continue praying for the Loux Family!!! If you don't know - little Mattie (newborn) has a very severe infection and is on very heavy medications in the hospital. They are having to drive to St. Louis from Kansas City- yikes and they have 6 other children.
****My other cousin (not Heidi who just had her newly adopted baby girl Jessa)- Heather has been taken to the hospital. She hadn't been feeling well....and now has been told she had a heart attack. They are doing some procedures now. Please pray for her husband Jackson and her family & friends.
**** We also have a couple of unspoken prayers too....thanks!
Have a Blessed time seeing who we have put into the houses. HOPE you voted!!!!!!! So important to pass this very very very important privilege to our children!!!!! :)
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