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Thoughts on Open Adoption

November is National Adoption Awareness Month.  As I mentioned in my Celebrate Adoption post, Hubs and I knew we were called to adoption.  Our daughter is adopted from within the family.  Robbie is my cousin.  Hubs and I are honored that Robbie (Sister’s uswithnaturalparentsnatural father) and Michelle (Sister’s natural mother) chose us to parent her.  Because of their loving gift, our family iss_and_Robbie complete.

Long before we knew who our child’s natural parents would be, we had decided we wanted an open adoption.  We prayed nightly for them for years before she was ever even conceived.  We wanted our child to know where he or she came from.  To be proud of his or her adoption heritage, confident in their identity, and confident in his or her place in our family.

That became even more important to us when Robbie and Michelle chose us.  We all want our daughter to know where she came from.  It is HER heritage, and she deserves to know it.   Robbie and Michelle did not cease to exist when we adopted her.  Just because they have no legal right to make parenting decisions, nor do they want to do so, they still have love to offer.   The last thing we would ever want is for our daughter to look at us and believe that we have attempted to deceive her, or withheld such a vital relationship from her.  Or worse yet, to think that she was unwanted.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

With that in mind, we are working at keeping family ties and have attempted to maintain a degree of openness that surprises many.  We have both of her birth certificates, the one with her first last name and the one with our family name, along with all of her adoption records in her baby box.  We pray for her birth-family with her every night.  We have a photo of us with her and s_and_MichelleRobbie and Michelle in her bedroom.  We send pictures (albeit, not as often as we should), and converse on Facebook and text.  We maintain contact with her other siblings and have pictures of her with them.

Raising any child provides challenges.  Raising a child that happens to be adopted from within the family s_withRobbiepresents unique challenges.   When Sister was born, we were faced with trying to decide what to call everyone.  Should my Aunt and Uncle, who are Sister’s grandparents (via Robbie), be Auntie Bird and Uncle Grouch or Granny Bird and PawPaw Grouch?  Should Robbie’s brothers, who are my cousins, be Uncle or Cousin?  After praying about it, we decided to let THEM choose, with one stipulation.  Whatever they chose to be for her, they had to be for Mister.  Since Mister was only fourteen months old when Sister was born, we thought it would be too confusing to have to keep track of two sets of titles.  Because we let them choose, our kids are blessed to have more grandparents than most kids, and a plethora of Uncles to spoil them.

Open adoption is a lot like marriage.  It is a lifetime commitment.  You have an idea of what it will look like when you go into it, but have to learn to navigate the relationship as you go along.   You don’t always know what to say.   Sometimes you don’t say anything, when you should pour your heart out.  Sometimes you say the wrong thing.   Sometimes what you say is misunderstood.  Sometimes it doesn’t look like what you thought it would.  Often times, it is far more beautiful than anything you could have imagined.  Sometimes your heart aches with fear, and other times it bursts with joy.  It isn’t always comfortable.  It isn’t always easy.  It isn’t always neat.  But, it IS ALWAYS worth the effort that it takes to make it work!

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
About Virginia

Hi there! My name is Virginia, and I am the author/owner of That Bald Chick. I am a Christian, wife, mother of three, full time homemaker, homeschooler, and ministry volunteer in addition to being a blogger. In my free time *cough* I enjoy reading, writing, taking walks with my family, and listening to music.

Comments

  1. both my BFF and MIL/FIL have adopted. My BFF”s kids are fully aware of their heritage, where they come from, the process of getting to their current life. I went through the entire adoption process with her and know all about the struggles and joyous outcome. My IL’s situation is a little different. They adopted from within the family but it was due to abuse and unfit parents. They took on a huge responsibility and have never looked back. My BFF actually guest posted recently on Adoption, would love for you to give it a read
    lookwhatmomfound.com/2011/08/adoption-is-it-second-best.html

    <3

    • Thanks for sharing, Melinda. I checked out your post (and commented). It is funny how as an adoptive parent we hear some of the most insensitive questions asked my *mostly* well meaning people. Of course, I hear insensitive questions about my son, as well. LOL.

  2. AnneMarie Skudlarek says:

    Virginia,

    LOVED reading this! You’re such an inspiration! Love you and your family!

  3. I’m not sure I could do an open adoption.

  4. It’s so awesome that you were able to keep that little girl in your family. I can only imagine how difficult it may be at times having the birth parents in your family. Hugs!!

    I think open adoptions are a wonderful thing. I actually placed my son that I had when I was 17 for adoption and I chose a wonderful loving family for him. As he’s grown we’ve been in contact and it has been great for me as a birth mom to see him grow up. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I would do it again because I knew I had to do what was best for him. If you want to read my story here it is http://mom2zqb.com/2011/hardest-thing-ive-ever-done/

  5. Kudos to you guys for making this work so well. I have two younger sisters who are adopted. They are biological half-sisters that my parents wanted to keep together. It was not as open of an adoption as you have, but they have made it work. Now that the girls are both older they are working to form some type of relationship with their biological mother. Sounds to me like both Mister and Sister are very lucky kiddos with lots of family to spoil them rotten. 🙂

  6. As a birthmother who has not seen a picture of the child given up for adoption in more than 41 years, I can say with all my heart “God bless you, Virginia, for keeping the birthparents in your daughter’s life.” I have not gone a single day in all this time without thinking about the son I gave up. I hope that someday he will want to know me. I have left all my information with the state adoption registry just in case he starts looking for me.

    • I can’t even begin to imagine what your heart must feel, Karen. Thank you for reaffirming for me, once again, our decision to be as open as possible, even if it isn’t easy!

  7. What a wonderful story Virginia, definitely inspirational! You have a beautiful family.

  8. Awwww….wonderful story!

  9. Unbelievable story V – so glad I took the time to enjoy it. You have a special heart because I’m sure it hasn’t always been easy 🙂

    Jeanine
    http://icoulduseadeal.com/

  10. Amazing post Virginia, so well written and heartfelt. It was a pleasure reading and an awesome story. Hugs to you and all your family.

  11. Wow. What an amazing gift you have given her. To have 2 sets of parents and a huge family to love her. Good for you!

  12. I think one of the neatest things you did was let them decide how the natural birth parents wanted to be referred to but it had to apply to your son as well. That way both kids being brother and sister wouldnt feel different.

    I love your writing!

  13. I understand people’s fears concerning open adoption, but I think it’s a good thing.