Mommy, I’m sad. Why are you sad, sweetie? Because I miss my family…my other family.
That tiny confession of feelings came out a few weeks ago right before bedtime. Me and Woob were finished reading our stories, saying prayers and singing bedtime songs and had joined in a giggle or two with some favorite stuffed animals. Woob had put one under his shirt, pretending he had a baby in his belly. And I grew in YOUR belly, Mommy! Silly, boy, you grew in N’s belly, right? And he playfully argued back and forth for a few seconds (No, YOUR belly!) before turning a little bit sad. Mommy, I’m sad. I miss my family…my other family.
“Open adoption is about information sharing.” Share your reaction to that statement. How well does it match up with your experience of open adoption? If you disagree, how would you finish the phrase, “Open adoption is about…”?
Obviously, sharing information is a great place to start in open adoption. I think its a way to Have Some Openness in the Adoption, though I think to make this an all-encompassing statement sure could limit a person in their thinking as they are launching into the adoption world and all the decisions and complexities it entails. If a professional goes that far in talking about openness, then I sure think they need to make sure that conversation doesn’t stop there, and include all that open adoption has the possibility to be. Otherwise, they are just plain misinforming their audience.
So, for ME, yes. Open adoption is about information sharing. Sharing information between our family and N.’s. Sharing information from N. to her children about Woob and us, and us sharing information about N. and her family with Woob. Its about sharing some of that information, appropriately, with the people around us so they have a better understanding of my child and his needs and his life experience. But there’s more, so much more!
At our house open adoption has become…
- our son being comfortable enough to bring up his first family to us when things are bothering him. Or when things aren’t bothering him.
- being able to pick up a phone or message back and forth on FB about what’s going on in our family, our households, and our brains.
- the adults in this adoption taking action to help the little ones feel more secure in where they fit in the family.
- being willing to say, “I’m sorry you’re feeling this way, how about we send a note/make a phone call/draw a picture to send to your mom/sisters/granpa to let them know you’re thinking about them?”
- being able to arrange a visit when it works out, even on short notice, so that our kids can experience being siblings together and learn to love, share, and play together. And so a little boy can be doted on by the one who created him.
- sharing pictures and keeping up on daily activities.
- supporting one another in our journeys where we can.
- laying the foundation for the possibility that the kids will continue their family relationships when they have more autonomy in what happens, or can make those decisions based on reality, not fear of the unknown.
My list could probably keep on going. And next year, if I revisit this post, I hope our families have grown together in a way that allows me to expand my own picture of what open adoption is. It has to start with the sharing, but I think if we stop there when there’s not a really valid reason to, we’re doing our kids a disservice.
About the conversation at the beginning of this post? For now, Woob’s not missing his other family any more.
Check HERE to find others’ responses on this OAR topic.