When people hear about our adoption a natural question that is asked of us is, "is it open?" Usually, the person asking this doesn't even know what he or she is really asking. An open adoption is such a broad term and is different for each birthparent and adoptive couple.
Before our adoption was finalized my husband and I attended an adoption conference. At this conference they had a panel of birthmothers who shared their experiences and answered our questions. I learned many things from them, but one thing that I learned was how different each of their "open" adoptions were.
And the interesting thing was that for each one of them, how they had their communication and level of openness set up, worked for them. I was reminded not to promise to a level of openness I was not willing to commit to. Equally important, these birthmothers shared how the thing they feared the most was that the level of openness decided upon would not be honored by the adoptive family.
Everyone has heard horror stories of this happening and understandably, nobody wants it to happen to them. Our son's birthparents were concerned about this happening to them as well. No one enforces your relationship with one another after placement, it is between you and your child's birthparents. The tricky thing about adoption is that not until after papers are signed and our son was placed with us, we didn't have the opportunity to prove ourselves and that we were good for our word. Our son's birthparents had to trust us at our word, which is a hard and scary thing to do. We could often sense that they were nervous about this, so we tried to be proactive and remind them of our commitment to them and the level of openness we had decided upon. So this was also nerve wracking for us. Prior to the placement, we trusted them in their commitment to the adoption, and then after placement our son's birthparents would have to trust us in our commitments to them.
Is our adoption open? Yes. What does that mean? Well, in our adoption we send emails and pictures. We felt that the first few weeks, and then also on holidays and birthdays would be especially difficult for our son's birth mother. So we sent texts and pictures on a daily basis the first little while. We also told her that if she was having a hard day and just wanted to see a picture of the little guy, to call or text us and we would send one. She always sends a text saying hello when he turns another month old and I send a picture of him to her.
Our son's birthparents asked if they could visit the little guy at Christmas time and give him a gift. We told them, "Of course." It was nice to see them and they seemed to enjoy seeing the little guy. I am happy with how the communication we have with our son's birthparents. They are great people and we care about them. They gave us one of the most wonderful gifts we had ever received, and I will never forget them for that.
I am happy with the relationship we have with our son's birthparents. And I am grateful for the love and respect they show to us as well.