There’s nothing extremely simplistic about open adoption, just like there is nothing quite straightforward about adoption at all, but there is always an undeniable beauty. Open adoption allows birth parents to stay involved in the lives of their children even after everything is finalized and, despite the usual assumed complications, is becoming vastly more common. For those reasons, and many others, it is important to understand what such a process looks like from both sides.
Power to the Birth Parents
Mothers and Fathers alike now have the power to stay in the lives of their children post- adoption. In fact, just twenty years ago, 1 percent of domestic adoptions were open. Today, 60 to 70 percent of domestic adoptions are open. Ultimately, while this means that more say is granted to the birth parents, that does not mean that any is taken away from the adoptive guardians. It’s power to the parents, but perhaps more balanced than before.
Obviously, there are worries that exist with open adoption that don’t otherwise appear in a closed setting. Many people can generally conjure them up from clichés; however, the thing about these sayings is that they originate in truth. Open adoption is not easy. Adoption, in general, is not easy. It just happens that with the former option, there are more moving parts, more people, and more hearts, so it is difficult to accommodate everyone the more people that are involved in the process, more feelings, but that also means more help when working on balances and solutions – more love.
What it Means to be Open
Marianne Berry, who wrote for The Future of Children says, “Although some have proposed frameworks to determine the extent of openness and categories of open adoptions, researchers are finding that these frameworks must be very fluid, fluctuating along a continuum of openness. Adoptive family relationships, like all family relationships, are constantly changing, and open arrangements will evolve and develop as the child and the families grow.”
It’s qualities like flexibility, honesty, and openness, which are all things that are difficult for any family, but that are essential to the relationships within an open adoption. What it means to be open will vary from family to family, but it will always be a necessity.
There’s nothing simple about open adoption, nor is anything definitively easy, but there’s a reason. There’s beauty in the complexity of communication, in the idea of openness, and in a bigger family working it all out together. There is a little bit more of everything, but even simple math can determine that more means more. Ultimately, that’s what adoption is, open or not, a decision to love more.