Families Share: Our Open Adoption Experience

Our readers share what open adoption was like for them. Can you relate?

open adoption stories

“The best part about being a birth mother in an open adoption is that I am at peace. Colin and I are still a part of each other’s lives, yet he is so happy and deeply rooted in his family that sometimes I forget that he’s not their flesh and blood. Knowing he has the life I wanted for him allows me to move forward in mine.” —Jen

“The premise of open adoption is telling the truth, and that jives with our family values. There are some practical benefits, too. My son has someone other than his parents to go to for firsthand answers to his questions. He can see a family resemblance in her, and that is important beyond words. Open adoption squelches the tendency to fantasize about his birth mother, about the reason she made an adoption plan, and about the life he might have led.” —Jana

“My husband and I met our daughter’s birth mother during the eighth month of her pregnancy. After that, I would drive her to her weekly doctor’s appointments. The drive wasn’t far, but it created a wonderful opportunity for the two of us to talk and share the stories that have shaped our lives. That short month of parenthood preparation was a very sweet time, in which we developed a special relationship with our birth mother. During the pregnancy, our baby didn’t seem real—everything was still like a dream. We feel fortunate that we took the time to get to know our birth mother and that we maintain our friendship. Our daughter (now very real!) will be the one to benefit as she grows up.” –Jessica

“We get together with our two daughters’ birth parents and extended birth family whenever possible. We visit each other’s homes, we have them over for Christmas, and we have even taken a weekend trip with one daughter’s birth mother. We’ve been to birth family graduations, funerals, and weddings. My children’s birth parents come to watch the kids play softball. Every two years, we host a birth-family picnic, and invite the extended birth families of both our daughters. We usually have about 35 people—it’s wonderful!” —Diane

“We welcome our three children’s birth parents into our lives. There was a time, though, when they weren’t physically present, because that would have caused our children some confusion. Even then, we continued writing and calling, and when the time was right, we welcomed them back. The reason our openness works so well is that we all trust each other. All of our decisions have been based on the best interest of our children.” —Annette

“For my last birthday, my mom organized a big party. All my grandpas and grandmas, aunts, uncles, and cousins were there. My birth mother came, too. My mom says every family is different. I have a mom, a dad, a brother, a birth mother, and many people in my life who love me. Whether we are together or apart, we are always in each other’s hearts.” —Christina, as told to her mother, Sharon

“From the beginning, we have encouraged our sons to stay in touch with their foster families. These efforts help our sons build and sustain important relationships. They have already experienced too much loss and grief in their young lives. The boys enjoy saving favorite photographs, schoolwork, and crafts for their other families. Our family-tree projects include all members of our sons’ families—birth, foster, and adoptive.” —Linda

“My Russian daughter has a mother from whom she was taken away. Because the mother never visited her or showed up to court, we do not know if she is still alive. My daughter views me as her mother, the mother God intended her to have all along. My Ethiopian son watched his mother die, and knew his father was killed in a war, so he is aware that he had a family of origin. He knows he is loved by all of us, his adopted family and his first Mom and Dad in heaven.” —Kim

“We knew that, during the six years our son was in an orphanage, his mother never visited or sent him anything. When he was 17, our son told us that he was worried about her, worried that she was still drinking heavily and had no place to live and nothing to eat. I was taken aback, and it took me a while to get past the initial shock and the fear that this meant that he wanted to return to Ukraine. After thinking about it for several weeks, and without his knowledge, I hired a private investigator, who found his birth mother. He sent us pictures of a woman who looks far older than her 36 years, and who digs in a pit in a dump to find metals to sell. My son was shocked at her surroundings. Both he and I wrote letters and sent pictures to the investigator, who will translate and see that his birth mother gets them. We are even closer to our son now, as he knows that we are not keeping him from anything, but instead are offering him a home and an education for a better future.” —AF reader

“We knew from the beginning that most Korean adoptees were born out of wedlock, so most had two living parents. We were fortunate to meet our daughter’s birth mother, but she made it clear that she will never release information about the birth father—not even his name.”—AF reader

“We have open adoptions for all three of our children. Our two girls have the same birth mother, and they have many photos of her, though we don’t see her often, because of distance. The only difficulty is that the girls have different birth fathers. We have met our older girl’s father, and his family is in frequent contact. But our younger daughter’s birth father is known to us by name only. We have never even seen a photo. At times, she seems sad that we know more about her sister’s birth father.” —Kerry


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