Saturday, January 28, 2012

Our Openness Journey

The closer we get to the babies arrival the more it seems openness is coming up in conversations with family and friends.  They all know that we had decided early on to try and have a fully open adoption with whoever chose us to adopt their child.  I can honestly say that not only has our view on open adoption changed over this past year but so has the people's closest to us. 

I think at first the idea of keeping in touch with the birth family was scary for everyone.  I think they thought it might encourage them to change their mind during the waiting period or that it would create some sort of co-parenting that involved us to ask permission before we could do anything with, for or about our child.  I think that seems silly to everyone now but it was a valid fear at the time.

I know the fact that Nic and I made a point of educating ourselves and our family about open adoption is a big part of the reason for this change in attitude.  I also think it has to do with the fact that we have a very supportive and welcoming family and friend unit.  The more they hear about the birth family the more they become a part of our natural "circle".  I find when people are calling to check in on us they are also asking about how not only our birth mother is but also her mother, sister, etc.  It is like they have already become a part of our extended family and I have to say I LOVE IT!

I was worried that our open relationship might seemed forced and the fact that it has come together in a nature way is a pleasant surprise.  At first the birth family was not even sure if they wanted an open relationship with us and now we are making plans to get together after the waiting period and have them come visit for a long weekend in the summer.  I think part of the reason that it is all falling into place so nicely is because we have so much in common and genuinely enjoy each other's company.  I also think that because Nic and I took the time to explain to them what open adoption meant for us and how we saw our relationship developing in the future, they had a better idea of what having an open relationship actually meant.  It seemed that they had no idea what open adoption was about because none of the professionals took the time to explain it to them.  Or at least not in a way that they fully understood. 

I wonder if this is part of the reason that some open adoptions break down?  It does make me realize why people choose to work with people like Jennie Painter.  Working with an agency that is fully commited to openness at least gives you peace of mind knowing the birth mother is informed about her openness choices.  If Nic and I were not so committed to openness and spoke with our birth family ourselves I don't know if they would have chosen to have an openness agreement.     

I know that once the baby is born our relationship is going to change but I do hope that we follow through with all our plans and stay in touch.  I am sure there will be some adjustment time and our birth mother will want to get back to high school and her friends.  I just hope our relationship continues to grow and we stay friends.  I would hate to loose them from our lives or our child's.

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