Here at ASC, we spend a lot of time educating our prospective families about the concept and practice of “open adoption.” We address fears they may have, including the one that maybe open adoption is actually co-parenting. (It’s not.)
We acknowledge and address the grief that is inherent in adoption, on all sides of the triad. We help prospective families visualize what an open adoption can look like, and we help families establish and maintain healthy boundaries.
We believe that an open adoption is a healthy adoption.
We believe having access to answers to one’s very identity is a key to raising a confident and happy person who just happens to be adopted.
Despite all these deeply held beliefs about the importance of openness, we have sometimes overlooked one key component to making an open adoption relationship work. That key component is the bravery and courage of the birth mother to make that open adoption relationship really work.
Often expectant mothers will tell us they want an open adoption for their own healing; to know and see that their child is thriving and happy. Yet over time they stop responding to texts with pictures. They plan visits but then change plans, often with little notice. The adoptive family is left feeling that the birth mother no longer wants to connect. They worry that as the child ages they will not have the answers to identity questions.
It takes courage to make an open adoption truly open.
The opposite of courage is fear. Fear is easily linked to shame. As Brene Brown says, “Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgement.” Birth mothers often face harsh judgements from those around them. These judgements all too often silence their voice and lead to the secrecy that breeds shame.
It takes a daily dose of courage to say over and over again, “I placed my child for adoption.” It takes a daily dose of courage to say, “I don’t live with my daughter, but I get to see her next week.” Above all, it takes courage to say directly to that person who is adopted, “I let someone else raise you because I could not.”
ASC believes that #strongwomenmakebravechoices. And today we are honoring those women who continue to be strong and courageous by bravely, without shame, work to make their child’s adoption open and healthy.