Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Open Adoption Roundtable #30

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption.
#30: Do you remember the first time you heard about open adoption?

When we first heard about open adoption, it was the first day of our group class for our home study. While we never imagined adopting a child and then never telling them they were adopted or not "allowing" them to meet their birth parents, we had no idea about the concept of open adoption. I will say, that day was very rough. The second day was even harder because the counselor leading that day was very bottom line about it. When many of the prospective parents kept asking questions about it, clearly not understanding the concept, the counselor just kept saying, "Don't worry about it now, you'll get it later." At one point, I even think they said something like, "You're child will always have a piece of them missing that you can never know, and may or may not be filled."

After learning some more, and talking to other adoptive parents, we learned that many couples have this same initiation into open adoption. While they are a force for good, many counselors forget that they are talking to a room full of people who probably can not have a biological child, are just learning to come to terms with that and accept that loss, and have more than likely been on a long journey where at every turn they are told the limitations and complications they will face to starting a family.

That being said, we had already been to counseling as a part of our sterility treatment, so we were cautious about letting these new and foreign feelings take over. As with every decision we have had to make along this path, we knew this wasn't going to be easy. We committed ourselves to learning more and, pun intended, opening ourself up to adoption and everything it meant. And we made the decision that we were going to work through this and talk to our counselor about openness.

Our counselor has been great and has helped us in so many ways as we navigate through this. I read other blogs and the pitfalls and broken promises many have experienced with open adoption. I feel like our counselor is not leading us astray and gives us wonderful advice. She reminds us that openness is about the child and their future story. She tells us not to say and promise things we are not comfortable with. She does not demand any level of openness from us. She tells us to talk to other adoptive parents and be around them to see for ourselves.

And, most importantly, she tells us that when we have been chosen and we meet the birth parent(s), we will know what to do. At first I didn't understand that. But then I thought, I knew that about DH when I wanted to marry him. And I knew I always wanted to adopt. And I knew that when that sixth IUI was done, I did not want to move forward with anything else. There are just things in life that you know; that make sense. While this is all new and unchartered for me, I know that when our time comes we will not seek out boundaries, because we've already had too many doors slammed in our face. It's time we start opening doors.

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