Sign In to Add a Forum Post

NOTE: These forums exist for archival purposes only.
Please post any new, active discussion topics to the most appropriate corresponding adoption group

 
 
Openness over the years
Posted: 30 September 2009 05:30 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  8
Rank

Hello,

Was curious how the openness of your adoptoin(s) have changed over the years.

With DD1, who is now 5, we started with a fairly closed relationship.  All contact was through the agency and we did not exchange last names, say what city we lived in, etc.  For the 2 1/2 years we sent pictures and letters to C through the agency and all contact was through the agency.  We still didn’t exchange last names or where we lived.  When DD1 was 2 1/2 C contacted the agency and said she wanted to visit.  We had talked about that before the birth, so we were fine with it.  At that point we exchanged cell phone numbers and email addresses to facilitate scheduling the meeting.  The visit went so well that by the end we had exchanged last names, addresses, and lots of other info.  Since then contact has been more sporadic, we haven’t visited since DD was 4, but we still exchange emails and I email C everytime I post new pictures of DD1 on our website.

With DD2, who is 15 months, things started a lot more open.  We exchanged email addresses, first and last names, where we lived, and phone numbers within the first 24 hours of contact.  We IM’d for 3 hours the first night we were told they wanted to meet us.  That was 3 weeks before DD2 was born.  Between our first meeting, which was us sitting around at their house chatting for 6 hours, and the birth we texted at least once a day and sent email and IM’d as well.  Since the birth we continue to text often, at least weekly, send emails occassionally and talk on the phone too.

Curious to hear how things work for others.

Tamilyn

Posted: 01 October 2009 08:02 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  2
Rank

I suspect my adoption story is a tad unusual in that my DD was adopted privately at the age of 16 mos.  She had been living with her birth mother and had a clear bond with her birthfather.  Her birthfather is a family friend of my cousin so that is how we “found” each other.  So we have a very open relationship with the birthfather and he visits us every few months.  We had our first visit with the birthmother this summer when DD was 2.3yrs and it went well so we will do it again at some point.  In the meantime I try to call her 1x a month and holidays etc…

Posted: 01 October 2009 11:02 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  5
Rank

With our son, we have limited contact with birthmom’s extended family.  He is four years old, and I’ve found that the relationship we have with them is very comfortable.  With our daughter, who is 2 year old, we have no background info on her birthmother, and that can be difficult.  I would love to be able to share more of her story with her, but we simply don’t have any info.

Posted: 02 October 2009 05:17 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  8
Rank

Wow Joanne, that is going to be a very interesting dynamic in your family with one child having more information and contact with her natural family.  My brother and I are both adopted but neither of us had any information so that didn’t really affect our relationship at all.  I can imagine that it will be hard for your daughter who doesn’t have any information, especially when she get’s older.  The agency doesn’t have any non-id information they can share with you?

Posted: 02 October 2009 06:04 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  5
Rank

I do worry about her.  We have some medical information, but I can never tell her that I know what her birthparents were like, or where she got her beautiful eyes or anything like that.  My son is four and he is starting to ask what his birthparents were like.  I can tell him some of the things that I know about them from personal experience, but not for my daughter.

Are you and your brother close?

Posted: 02 October 2009 07:05 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  8
Rank

My brother and I are not close at all.  We are very different people.  The one thing that we have in common is that we are adopted but we have ever only talked about it once and that is when we were teenagers and he asked me if I felt like I was placed with the right family.  I told him no because they didn’t share any of the same interests as me or look anything like me. At least he was good at football and my dad was a football coach and they all had brown hair.  He never told me how he felt.  He has never been a very emotional or expressive person. If anything he always showed a lot of aggression especially towards me.  Most people including our adoptive parents just chalked it up to typical brother/sister fighting and sibling rivalry. i think that he was angry and confused and didn’t have anyone else to take it out on.  Whenever kids in the neighborhood had questions about being adopted he wouldn’t answer. They ended up coming to me because I would answer. He just shuts down when the topic comes up.

Now, we just see each other at holiday and birthday celebrations despite the fact that we live in different suburbs of the same city.  I worry that he has never dealt with his adoption issues. He doesn’t want to have children of his own which was a surprise to his wife after he talked about a “five year plan” when they got married. I think he is scared about now knowing his past and any possible issues and ailments that he could pass on. Some adoptees are afraid that they won’t bond with their babies because after all if their parents gave them away it must be in their genes.  I know that scares me and my husband who was adopted out of foster care when he was 12 worries about that a lot.  But again, I am only guessing based on side comments and actions because my brother and I have never really talked about it.

Posted: 09 October 2009 04:04 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  2
Rank

Our daughter is 6 months old and we adopted her at birth.  We talk to the birthparents once a month on the phone, and send a letter with pictures once a month.  We had a strong connection at the hosptial and found we both had a lot in common with both birth parents.  My husband is in a band and the birth parents are asking to go see him play and we can sit together.  Im ok with this but will this lead into territory we are not comfortable with.  We want our daughter to be old enought to decide if she wants to meet her birthparents.  Even though she will not be at my husband’s show we hope to still keep a distance from our birth parents and daughter for now. We did decide to give them the date and address of his show.  Well see if they come.  any opinions?

Posted: 14 October 2009 02:23 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  8
Rank

Elbutt,

I can totally understand your hesitancy for contact with the birthparents at this point.  Visiting with DD1’s birthmom after finalization was very scary for us, but I think it was a wonderful thing for us, for Cora’s birthmom and for Cora.

For us we decided to play it by ear with visits and such.  We have visited 3 times in the 5 years since Cora was born.  Each time we decided at the time whether it was best, and decided it was.  Cora has wonderful memories of each visit, DH and I got to talk to Crystina without the pressure that was there prior to her signing paperwork, and we all got to laugh together about life and get to know each other better.

If at some point Cora decides she does not want contact with Crystina, that’s her choice and we will support her.  We will also explore the whys of the choice, to make sure she is ok with that choice.

With DD2’s birthfather we have stopped having contact.  When Avery was about 14 months old, he tried to commit suicice in front of his 3 year old daughter.  Because of that and other things, we don’t contact him anymore.  We are still in contact with Avery’s birthmom and birthsister, just not him.  I’m sure Avery will have to make a decision at some point about whether to try to contact him, and we will do our best to help her make that decision.  But we will not change our decision unless and until he gets some major help and makes some major life changes.  Its not an easy decision, and its not a decision I liked having to make, but I feel at this time it is the best decision for Avery and my entire family.

Posted: 14 October 2009 03:28 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  2
Rank

momofgirls_ Thanks so much for your advise and experience and I think we will do the same approach.  My husband said the same thing to me about not having the pressure of “what if she doesnt sign” We are taking the “play it by ear” approach is best for us too.  Sarah has 2 birth brothers and 2 half birth brothers so we really want this to be open for her to decide if she wants to meet them when she is old enough.

Posted: 23 October 2009 07:40 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  4
Rank

Our son will be two on Christmas Day.  When he was born we set up an email address and a blog for them.  We hear from them every few months, and we email at least once a month with new things he is doing etc.  We also update the blog every other month or so.  It’s a private blog - so they are the only ones who have access to it.  They sent him some birthday gifts on his first birthday, and we sent them a book of pictures of his first year of life.

Posted: 20 January 2010 06:55 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  3
Rank

Our son is only 3.5 months but so far it has been wonderful. I was a bit hesitant at first about open adoption.  I feared some strange woman showing up on my doorstep unannounced wanting to see “her” child.  My husband and the agency convinced me that it would all be ok.  So we went ahead with the open adoption route and I’m so happy we did.  We were chosen by a couple (birthmother 19 and birthfather 17) who wanted to do what was right for their child.  They had some family support for keeping the child, but not enough in their minds.  We felt a bond the very first time we met our birthmother.  She felt God was working through her to help someone start a family who couldn’t otherwise.  We met her September 16 and our son was born October 2.  In that small amount of time we became very close.  We were at the hospital when our son was born and they had a blessing ceramony with their families and ours.  We actually were the ones who took our birthmother home from the hospital. We have also become close to our birthmothers brother and her mother.  We got together and carved pumpkins for halloween, we have been to church together a few times and spent time with them around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They came over and helped us put up our tree.  I feel that we have adopted 3 kids instead of one.  I think it’s going to be wonderful for our son as he grows up.  Knowing that his birthparents love him and that he never has to wonder about them. Never has to wonder who they are, what they are like and why they chose adoption.  It will just be normal for him having them around at all of his special occasions.  We have been very blessed and I am so happy how it has turned out for us.

Posted: 21 January 2010 03:53 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  2
Rank

I currently have an open adoption with two of my kiddos. I adopted them through the foster care system, so I was leery on how much information I should allow and how to safely communicate with the parents. I came up with a site specifically to exchange pictures and letters as well as templates that prompt the parents to fill in some information I never had access too. I had the site written into my open adoption agreement too. It has been a very easy process. In addition to the pictures and letters, we have a visit twice a year in a designated public area near our home. The visit is scheduled for two hours, however last time it went for longer, it was a really good visit. I have had both kids since birth, so it takes the first hour for them to warm up to mom which I didn’t feel was fair to her. 

The site is available to anyone who could use it. I have posted a few responses with the information. I just find it very useful in maintaining contact and facilitating communication.

http://www.mylifetimeconnection.com

Posted: 02 February 2011 08:39 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1
Rank

I just joined the forum, and I’m happy to see some improvement in the level of openess in everyone’s adoption, but disappointed to still be reading a bit of fear of the birthparents. We have an “extreme” open adoption where the birthmom and her family have been our number one sitters and also taken our son on trips and one was even out of the country for a family reunion. I consider our family to be lucky in some respects that our son’s birthfamily is so nice and generous, but I also think there are many other nice birthfamilies out there just like I like to think most people out there are nice.

I wonder when someone gives birth and makes the difficult decision of placing their child with other parents they all of a sudden go down in the ranks of society as a suspicious or dangerous character? Why wouldn’t we automatically think of them as intelligent, kind or loving? I believe the history of adoption along with the fictitious stories on TV shows and hype through the new media birthfamilies and often adoptive families are portrayed in a bad light.

Now, I know there may be a few people with some problems, but I seriously doubt any of them would harm their birth child. So, please, if you have the opportunity to have an open relationship with your child’s birthfamily, do so. My son is so very happy about open adoption that at age 9, he is now making speeches about it in school and spreading the word. He’s been talking with his friends about open adoption since he was 4. His birthmother moved to California two years ago, but the relationship remains strong. She comes in town for his birthday. His birthgrandmother and birthaunt have eaten lunch with him at school and attended some events. Being active in the PTA and with many students, I have personnally seen some positive opinions forming about adoption and open adoption by the children.

Many kids ask about his birthfather, and our son explains he chose a closed adoption although we did meet him just after the adoption thanks to our birthmother. I also want to give a lot of credit to our adoption agency that set up a great plan for the beginning months of our relationship and counseled us and birthmom and her family. I’m sure many birthparents think they may not want to see, know or visit their child, but statistics have proven this is not healthy for them. A good agency will offer counseling and help birthparents know that seeing their child grow is truly best for them. Dates and times were set up for visits and of course, with our son being an infant, the visits really gave us a chance to talk and get to know each other. Now, nine years later, they are thought of as our family and friends.

I’ve know a few people that were adopted including my grandmother that had closed adoptions. I could always hear the bitterness in their voices as they announced they didn’t care about their birthparents or who they were. It’s quite a contrast to hear the excitement and happiness in our son’s voice as he talks about his birthfamily. He has curiousity about his birthfather, but is satisfied with knowing his birthmother and her family love him.

Posted: 03 February 2011 01:34 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1
Rank

Hi, I have an openess agreement with my son’s maternal birth grandparents.  The agreement is for non-indentifying information, letters, pictures, and small gifts ( their choice).  His birth mom did not want openess and his birth father is unknown.  Our first package was very touching because his grandparents sent pictures of his mom as a baby, child, and teenager as well as current photos.  I had never seen pictures of her and I am sure that my son will cherish the pictures when he is older. His grandparents also sent family mementos for him.  I look forward to gettting those packages and will cherish them with my son as he grows up and becomes aware as he is still an infant now.

Posted: 15 February 2011 11:46 PM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  1
Rank

How do you all refer to the birthparents with your children. Our daughter’s birth father is our son, so we actually adopted our granddaughter. He lives in another state 2,000 miles away and is in a difficult situation. We talk about him and pray for him often, but she refers to him by his first name because he’s never really been a father to her. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her, but she refers to my husband as Daddy because that is who he is to her. Just curious how those with open adoptions handle that.

Posted: 16 February 2011 01:02 AM   Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  7
Rank

Hello, everyone. I’m late to this thread, but I’m sure that’s OK.

We’ve headed toward more openness with all 4 of our children’s birth parents.
  * DD’s birth mom has been an extended family member ever since our daughter was born
  * DD’s birth father came into the picture when DD was 7. It’s been a mostly successful integration, and I think it’s important for DD to have a connection with him and his famiy
  *DS’s birth mom: open door. We are connected online and see her once in awhile in person. She is always welcome in our lives, but has chosen less contact
  *DS birth dad: I found him online a few years back and we are hoping to meet in the coming months. DS speaks with him on the phone on occasion.

I’m a firm believer in the benefits of openness, and in normalizing that openness.

Our children (now 9 and 7) call their birth parents by their first names, but sometimes they’ll experiment with titles. Sometimes it’s “birth mom” or “birth dad” and sometimes it’s “momma” and “daddy.” My husband and I are not triggered by whatever words the children use because we know it’s just our kids’ way of figuring out a complex situation.

Lori Holden
Blog: LavenderLuz.com (http://LavenderLuz.com)
Book: The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole (http://www.amazon.com/Open-Hearted-Way-Open-Adoption-Helping/dp/1442217383/)