I get a lot of questions about adoption from family, friends, and acquaintances. However, it turns out that most people are interested in domestic or international infant adoption, and since we adopted our children through the foster care system, I often don’t have much advice to offer. I usually acknowledge that everyone must make the right choice for their families, but I also encourage people to consider foster care adoption. Although that’s another story.
A few weeks ago, a coworker asked me about adoption. She told me that her friend was interested in adoption and was looking for an agency. We talked about my adoption experience for a few minutes and she told me that her friend was interested in infant adoption. She went on to tell me that this friend was not interested in an open adoption because she wanted to adopt the child, not the mother too.
I wish I had said this at the time, but the truth is, this potential parent is getting the mother too. She doesn’t have a choice. It’s like that familiar saying that when you get married, you don’t just get your spouse, you get his or her family too. I also wondered, why wouldn’t this prospective mother want her new child’s first mother? The first family is an important part of a child’s life, and I think it’s impossible to accept a child without accepting everything about him or her – the good and bad, the pain and the joy.
Because the rights of our children’s parents were terminated before we met them, their parents are not part of our lives. We do have a relationship with a member of our children’s first family. We see her once a month and the children talk to her on the phone. We’ve also been in touch with other members of their family.
Our acceptance of these relationships is often questioned by family and friends. But these relationships are important to us, because they’re important to our children. These people are a vital part of their history and if we love our children, we love them too.
As adoptive parents, we have to use caution in judging how much contact is appropriate. Of course, this depends on each individual situation. But, overall, I see open adoption as beneficial to everyone involved.