Trying To Do Better

Though fraught with its own challenges, Open Adoption is an attempt to do the process better by considering the needs of the adoptee and their original parents with equal compassion to the needs of the adopting couple.

Generally speaking, there will be a higher level of personal interaction among the parties.  This interaction may take the form of letters, e-mails, photos, telephone calls and visits.

Some of the pitfalls that may occur include an abuse of the trust that the original parents have placed on the assurances of the adopting couple.  Interactions may lead to a variety of disappointments.  When the adopting couple has invested in the unborn child, financially and emotionally, the original parents may feel obligated to go through with relinquishing the baby.  If the adopting couple changes their mind shortly before or after the birth, it may place the child in a state of limbo and cause a referral to foster care.

In agreeing to an open adoption, the adopting couple may find the original family has greater expectations than they anticipated in agreeing to the situation.  Within the extended birth family may be individuals who are not conventionally stable which may even be part of the reason the child was surrendered.

Some of the original justifications of closed adoptions have included fears that having duplicate mothers, fathers, grandparents and other extended family would make it more difficult for the child to assimilate into the new family unit.  If contact between the original and adopting families ceases for whatever reason, the adoptee could be left feeling even more rejected than is commonly the experience for adopted children.  There can be social complications for the child among their peers.

Identity and family history are the most important reason for open adoptions.  Denying the child access to that information violates basic human rights.  Adoption will never be the perfect circumstance for any child but trying to do it better does matter.

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