One good in our modern time is an effort to do adoption better, to consider the impacts of mother/child separations and not to change identities and birth certificates to make the adoptive parents feel better.
Here are some preconceived notions about open adoption –
- Open adoption is basically co-parenting.
- Adopted children grow up hating their birth mothers.
- Adopted children grow up hating their adoptive parents.
- Most open adoption relationships between adoptive parents and birth parents eventually break down.
- When they’re older, adopted children eventually return to live with their birth parents.
Are these myths or truths? They are myths. Here are some accepted understandings about what open adoption is and is not.
In open adoption, the line between family members is clearly defined. The adoptive parents and birth parents do not have shared custody. Adoptive parents are legally responsible for all decisions relating to their child’s welfare. Birth parents are often involved in the children’s lives, but they do not have legal rights over the child.
Children understand the difference between their adoptive parents and their birth parents, and what their roles and responsibilities are. And so do both sets of parents.
Open adoption allows adopted children to having an ongoing relationship with their birth parents. As a result, they have the ability to ask their birth parents questions surrounding their adoption, making them less likely to have doubts or to feel bitterness towards their parents.
Adoptive parents usually introduce their child’s adoption story at a young age. Unlike in the past, it’s not something hidden from them. Because children know their adoption story, there is less chance of them creating a fantasy about their origins. And also there is less resentment about their adoption since it is something that is openly discussed and a part of their life from an early age.
Although some open adoption relationships do break down because of disagreements between adoptive parents and birth parents, the vast majority of them are successful. Because most open adoption agreements are NOT legally binding, the key is to create lasting relationships based on mutual understanding and respect. For the sake of their children, birth parents and adoptive parents must be willing to not only acknowledge but honor each other’s role in this relationship.
For most adopted children, home will be considered that which was their home with the adoptive family. That’s where they were raised and that’s where they usually live, until they are old enough to move out and live independently as an adult. Adopted child are almost always interested in their birth family, but they usually do not go back to living with them, except in cases of family reunification.