Cancer Ever After

Musings on Infertility, Adoption, Parenthood and Cancer

It’s Open, Baby

on 01/29/2015

“What does the ideal open adoption look like to you?” – One of a million questions on our Home Study packet.

We knew when we first began researching domestic adoption that our adoption would most likely need to be open. I don’t know the exact percentage, but every agency we researched focused largely on open adoption. This seems to be the overwhelming majority of the types of adoptions in the United States. And if you want an infant, this seems to be the way you have to go.

Our research also led us to believe that an open adoption is better for the child. Open adoption isn’t just about telling the child they are adopted. That can occur in both a closed or open adoption. An open adoption means that the child and birth mother and/or father may have contact with each other through pictures, letter or meetings throughout the child’s life. It also means that the adoptive parents have the birth family’s information and the child will be able to know the birth parents full name and date of birth. This is so the child can reach out to their birth parents without going through a registry or exhaustive searches if the contact has faded during their lifetime.
For us, it’s the benefit to the child that really sold us on an open adoption. I know that I grew up hearing, “You look just like your daddy,” or “My, you are the spitting image of your Aunt SoAndSo.” As I grew up, I used to love/despair in equal measure the inherited traits I received. As an adult, I began to question what was truly inherited versus what was environmental. I do have my Daddy’s dimples–that’s true. But I also have his facial expressions- is that because I look like him or because I grew up using the same expressions as him?

I don’t know now, but I imagine that some day our son will wonder about what is inherited versus what about him is just like us. Will he have his daddy’s sense of humor, his mama’s laugh? We don’t know yet. I imagine that we will look at him and see a whole lot of us as he grows up. There will also be a lot that is uniquely him. Will there be times when he feels that he is different and is desperate to have a connection? Probably. This is why we’ve chosen an open adoption. It’s about allowing him to have the chance to find the answers that he needs when he needs them.

We’re not sure what the answers will be. His view of his birth parents will undoubtedly change throughout his life, as will his view of us. We can love and guide him to acceptance, but most of that journey will be his. We can just do what we feel is best for him as his parents and make sure that the opportunity for answers is there when the questions arise.

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