Thursday, June 14, 2012

Which is better - open or closed adoption - PART 2

In my first post I referred you all to a blog post on another site which talked about the recent Today Show "expertise" about open vs. closed adoption. I've since cooled down and am ready to give you my take on it.

If you watch the clip, you'll see that each answer begins with "I wouldn't want..." or "I don't want..." or "I warned her..." Seem the common theme? I! I! I! Open and closed adoption isn't about what is good for the parents! It's about what is best for the child... just like all parenting decisions should be. I don't particularly care of Thomas the Train, but we watch is because my youngest loves it. It's not about me. It's about her. My girls brush their teeth every night. I don't skip tooth brushing because I think it's a pain and I don't want to do it. I do it because it's best for them. And when we had to decide if we would be part of an open or closed adoption we realized quickly that this isn't about us. It has nothing to do with whether I wanted contact with the birth families or not. It has everything to do with what is best for my children.

Let me give a brief disclaimer that there may be some rare instances in which a closed adoption is better. For example, if there is some reason why the birth family may harm the child, then by all means an open adoption is not the right answer. But outside of those rare circumstances, I can't imagine a compelling reason why an open adoption wouldn't be in the child's best interests.

So in response to these "reasons" why closed adoption was better, I've compiled my Top 10 Reasons Why Open Adoption is Better. I could have listed 50... but I stopped myself at 10.

Top 10 Reasons Why Open Adoption is Better

10. Medical history – talk about an invaluable resource.

9. There is no shame or secrecy associated with my children’s adoptions.

8. My children are treated with respect. They are allowed to have the personal information about themselves that any other human deserves to have. It is not my information to control and hide from them. It is their information and theirs alone.

7. If my children have biological siblings, they will know who they are and have a relationship with them.

6. When my daughters are grown and becoming mothers themselves, I won’t be able to relate to their pregnancies, but their birth mothers will for me.

5. When my daughters ask, “Where did I get my (insert feature here)?” – I know the answer. And if I don’t know the answer, I know who to call to ask.

4. When my children ask “Why did my birth parents place me for adoption?” I can tell them the answer, and then let their birth parents tell them their answer too. My children will never feel as if they were unloved or rejected.

3. My children won’t spend their lives wondering where they came from – they have always known.

2. Through two open adoptions we grew from tiny little family that could have reunions in our living room to a giant family that practically requires that we rent a banquet hall!

1. Open adoption allows me to teach my children that family comes in all shapes and sizes and that love knows no limits.

So these are my Top 10. What are yours?


Lavender Luz said...

I love the image that comes to mind from #2.

Excellent list!

tracy said...

So that my daughter will never have to worry about what happened to the beautiful little girl she put up for adoption.

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy that things have worked out for you so well. But sometimes the choice was made by the birth parents. I'm glad you feel Open Adoption is BETTER but that is not always the case. Every adoption brings it's own story.

Ashley Bauman said...

@Anonymous - You are definitely right that YOU as the adoptive parent don't always get to decide on how open the adoption is going to be. And there are certainly closed adoptions that work perfectly. I think that overall, open adoption is the better option - if you have the option to choose. Thanks for reading!

adoptive mom said...

I LOVE this post- and I hope that one day our daughter's birth family wants contact again...who could argue with a child receiving more love? Keep your fingers crossed for us- maybe one day our birth family won't find contact so painful...

ASP said...

What a great post! ;) I'm so happy we're a part of an open adoption with both of our daughter's parents. You're so right when you said, "It has nothing to do with whether I wanted contact with the birth families or not. It has everything to do with what is best for my children." Amen, Sister, Amen.

Anonymous said...

Agree with June 14 6:48 Anonymous comment

We have a full medical History, we know all the details and back ground, we know the day time and size of our child's head and weight when born, no secrecy at all about circumstances, their is no shame, and should never be any way.

And no interruption by well meaning, but never seen before family, who may feel they might be cashing on to some thing good.

And with wisdom and sensitivity, we have already given some background thats age and information appropriate, when our child has wondered we have talked. And if our child does not want to know, we don't presume our child would be better off knowing, thats our child's decision.

And we are the real parents in the full sense and not just glorified baby sitters as some Open Adoption parents describe as feeling at times, ( because the agreement with bio mums can place more demands on the Adoptive Parents often leading to over whelming intrusion just others testimonies about flip side of Open Adoption)

we are the parents because we get up, we feed them we cloth them, we are there through illness, and all times forever, not just part time.

Our child is very happy well adjusted and has every opportunity and choice in life, also if out child wants to seek out the bio circumstances thats their choice. Yes agree it is what makes our child the happiest that counts.

And if it was in our child best interest or ever possible to be with own bio family, then guess we would not have been chosen to be the best for our child.

How many babies evening a Open Adoption have any chance to choose, and who says Open will workout better than closed?

Also MANY thousands babies/ children don't have any choice wether Closed or not, as you have got to realize that one way is not better than another , just different.

And do we as parents live in denial of anything of our child's back ground, not at all, rather we live looking forward and not back wards, and know well whats is in our child's best interests.

Our child's Closed Adoption was doen in our child's best interest, simply because of circumstances beyond any ones control.

And any caring and living parents would also hope that if its to be, if our child wants to, may see face to face things they may like to... however why change anything that was never or could be,,,,, thats the ideal world, no the real world.

In Open adoptions there can be a lot of Emotional stress with Loyalties between families.... that can be as so devastating when their is a tug of war of Emotions in Open Adoptions, something that really spoken about, but non the same very real, no their is no shame but alot of Open ADoptions have tier own difficulties the same, not better just different like closed.

Anonymous said...

PS Also Adoption full stop . teaches families are built in all sort of ways.

Open is NOT better at all , just different.

You have never experienced Closed adoption, when parents are in fact OPEN with their children. um

You try to give image that Closed Adoptions these are bad? is the exception, and can vary family to family, you cannot say one is better than the other if you don't know any good Closed Adoptions.

We have (all) the information of our child, noting closed about that.

The word Closed once meant noting could be known, but not these days. As all the choice of the new parents and there own private situations.

Like you may like to show children photos all over the net, when others may feel not in the best interest for any child to be exposed all over the net. Just different choices, that all parents must be respected by and to have.

And yes it both the child's and the new parents interest and the new family of that baby/child, to say it just a child is blind sighted and naive, as has to be for the new child's/Babies, upmost importance for a successful Adoption to be able to Bond, with as little distraction and confusion as possible.
Just another point of view.

Ashley Bauman said...

There are certainly closed adoptions that work just fine! I know a number of individuals who are the product of closed adoptions and they are perfectly wonderful individuals. And there are definitely instances in which open adoption does not work. But I still think that for the most part open adoptions offer great advantages. When I talk about medical history - I can talk about evolving medical history, not just the medical history of the family at the time of my child's birth. I know if the birth parents have heart attacks... cancer... etc. because we have ongoing contact. Those are the benefits as to why I said that open adoption is better. I'd also like to put the disclaimer out there that I would have initially described open adoption and closed adoption as different - not necessarily better than one or the other. I think there are pros and cons to both. But I was responding to the Today Show questions which asked the experts to say which was better - and their answers were strongly that closed adoptions were better. I wanted to provide the other side's views. I don't mean this as an attack on closed adoptions, merely as a way to express to those out there that there are benefits to open adoption and that open adoption can be wonderful.

Rebecca Hawkes said...

I'm an adoptee from an old-school closed adoption. This list touches something tender in me because it addresses so many of the things that I longed for and didn't have.

Ashley Bauman said...

Hi Rebecca! Thanks for reading! I'm so glad to see your comment here. It's comments like these that make me sure that this is the right thing for our family. Thank you.

theadoptedones said...

I agree with your entire list but my pet peeve is #10 that is not part of closed adoptions - regardless of what form was filled out by a very young individual who really won't know their family health history.

I agree with your comment that Family Health History (FHH) does evolve over time and will go further that new knowledge can save lives - especially for early age onset of diseases that generally happen later. Just stop and think about one disease out of many - breast cancer - should you screen in your 20's or wait until the normal age of 40.

FHH is a very important aspect of health that has not been given due diligence by the adoption community. Everyone believes bad stuff happens to other people - but when it happens to you it is different and by then it is too late.

Carol said...

Great post

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