Understanding and Connecting with Birth Families
If children lose the feeling of connectedness with their families, then they may have lost a big piece of their identity and have difficulty answering the question, “Who am I?” Whether children have a lot, a little contact or no contact with birth families, they have dreams and feelings about their families.
Open adoption is designed to be a child-centered arrangement based upon the premise that humans need genetic continuity to attain a healthy identity.
Open adoption is often presented to birth parents as a way to lessen the grief of losing a child to adoption. The grief we feel for our children includes not only missing the times we had with them as their mother or father, but mourning for the times we will not have with them as their parents.
Today, parents who adopt children from foster care cannot pretend their children were always a part of the family, and most know that becoming a legal part of a new family does not erase a foster child’s emotional ties to the past. As openness in infant adoption gains currency, it is worth considering how facilitated, safe contact with birth family members can benefit children adopted from care.
We sincerely believe more information is better than less, and that the more answers we can offer our children now the better their adjustment and understanding will be in the future.
If your child doesn’t ask, you need to raise the topic yourself; find out what your child thinks and what he wants to know. It’s your job to give them their information. It’s their right to know the truth.
Sometimes bringing our children’s birth parents into their lives – and ours – whether through truth-telling conversations, or letters and pictures, or occasional visits, or on-going contact – can be as uncomfortable and at times even painful for our children.
In open adoption, two family cultures come together to provide for the needs and to shape the life of an adopted child. Differences in these family cultures can sometimes cause confusion and mis-communication if they are not explored and acknowledged.
“But aren’t you worried they’re going to show up on your doorstep in the middle of the night, break into your house, and try to steal their baby back from you?”
Our first moms need to accept that we can love our adoptive moms.
Our adoptive moms need to accept that we can love our first moms.
We adoptees need to accept that we can love both moms.