Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable

I am taking a stab at the inaugral Open Adoption Bloggers Roundtable by answering the question "What one thing about open adoption would you tell your past self, if you could?".

You can check out other blog entries here.

Hindsight is such a double edge sword. You can use it to look back on things and not make the same mistakes again or you can look back on things and lose yourself in the What ifs and If onlys.

It was seven years ago last month that the idea of adopting even entered into the realm of possibility for Hilary and I. We had not planned on adopting, in fact we were on a break from trying to get pregnant using donour sperm. Adoption found us through one of our co-workers whose sister was expecting and making an adoption plan.

So by default of being what I now know to be called a pre-birth match, we entered into an open adoption. I didn't really know anything about Open Adoption, other then the fact that everyone would know each other. This was such a stark contrast to my own, very closed, very secret driven adoption, that I embraced the concept head on!

The one thing that I never anticipated about Open Adoption was that Liam's mom would not embrace it like I did. That she would not return our letters, that she would move and not give us forwarding information, that we would lose contact with her completely. Suddenly my vision for Liam, growing up knowing his roots, having a relationship with his older brother and extended family, being able to ask his mom any question he wanted, evaporated. This was not the Open Adoption I wanted. But I was (am) mostly powerless to change it.

So I would tell my past self to talk to Liam's mom more before she disappears, to explain to her what it means to be an adoptee who grew up with no information and no relationships with my siblings and tell her how all of that will be so important to Liam one day. I would offer to get her help and counselling to get her through the hard times. I would do everything I could to make sure that she took the opportunity to meet Liam the day he was born so that she could spend time with him and be able to say good-bye to him. I would ensure that they both had pictures of them together on that special day, something that can never be replaced. I would reach out to her during the 17 day waiting period, letting her know that we cared about her too, and not just her baby. I would do everything and anything I could to help ensure that this intended Open adoption stayed open, for everyone's sake.
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