I was talking with an acquaintance today about how blessed we were to be at the hospital when Jack's birthmother recently had a baby. Mike and I felt like we were part of a precious inner circle to be included in such a wonderful moment. They truly make us feel like family.
The acquaintance who is much older than me replied that so much contact would worry her and make her insecure in the adoption, as if an open relationship would make the birthmom likely to take her child from the adoptive couple.
I wasn't surprised by her reaction. Many people have misconceptions about adoption and may fear an open relationship. We have experienced the many blessings that come with an open adoption and have never regretted it. It was the best decision for Jack and turned out to be a wonderful one for us too.
I don't claim to be an expert on adoption, but I do feel that as an adoptive parent it is part of my responsibility to educate others about what I do know about adoption. I know that an open adoption will allow my son to remain in contact and develop a relationship with his birthmom and birth family. As he grows older, this relationship will allow him to ask her questions about his birth and her decision to place him for adoption. (Although we have shared Jack's special story with him since he was born, there will come a time when it will mean a lot to hear it from his birthmom.) This relationship also allows his birthmom to see Jack and know that he is being well taken care of.
An open adoption may help dispel fears or answer questions that a birth parent may have about their child. Jack's birthmom doesn't have to wonder how he is doing or what he looks like or if he has her nose or artistic abilities because she can see him and spend time with him. Jack can know and be surrounded by the great love from both of his moms. Take your mother's love (if you had a good relationship) and multiply that by 2. Pretty wonderful, eh?
I am an advocate for open adoption but I also understand that this type of relationship doesn't work for every birth family. And I respect that. I just want people to know that open adoption doesn't have to be so scary when both the birth family and adoptive parents have faith and are willing to make the relationship work.