This guest post is by Crystal Byrd, a birthmother.
I placed my birth daughter in an open adoption 18 months ago.
When you do an open adoption you plan to still be involved in the child’s life — to get updates, pictures, visits etc.
My personal opinion is that it benefits all members of the adoption triad– the child, the birth parents and the forever parents.
The child never has to wonder where they came from or why this happened. They can get answers to all of their questions.
They can know they are loved by so many.
For birth parents, a major fear in an open adoption is that eventually it might not be so open anymore or if at all. This has been a personal struggle for me.
The amount of openness you get in the beginning might not be the same that you get a year down the road.
What I have learned is how important it is to be honest and to communicate with the family you chose for your birth child.
The key is to discuss what their idea of an open adoption is and let them know what your idea of it is.
Then you need to come to some guidelines about openness together and realistically figure out what will work for everyone involved.
As the open adoption continues, things will change.
In my case, in the beginning I got tons of pictures on a daily basis.
But as time went on and our lives got busy, things went back to normal. So of course I got fewer pictures and that was hard for me to handle.
I had to realize that I couldn’t focus or dwell 24/7 on getting pictures of my birth daughter.
The family you’ve created through adoption has their own life.
They may not be able to communicate as much as you’d like or even as much as they’d like, but that doesn’t mean they love you any less or they are shutting you out.
When this happens it’s easy to feel as if they are not keeping the promises about openness that they made to you.
But that’s not the case and I had to realize that.
Everyone involved in an open adoption has to respect each another and their wants and needs
Although we birth parents or adoptive parents may not agree or like it, we have to remember it’s not about us. It’s about the child.
The whole reason we did an open adoption wasn’t for us but for our child.
I’ve had to catch myself many times on that matter—that it’s not about me or what I want.
It’s about my birth daughter and what she needs.
As long as my birth daughter is happy and loved that’s all that matters.
I am so grateful for the updates I do get and the pictures and the visits.
I have peace of mind knowing that what I did was right. Just remember, things will change and we have to learn to adapt and change with them.
But as long as you know your birth child is in the best of hands that’s all that matters.
You learn there is no such thing as too few updates or not enough openness because you know your birth child is with their forever family.
I had to learn to look at the bigger picture and why I chose open adoption to begin with.
We birth parents may not like or agree with some of rules that the adoptive parents have made but we have to remember we gave our child to them for a reason.
We chose them to raise our child, to be their parents. One of the hardest things I have had to do is to learn to let go.
I was still holding on to my birth daughter so tight and didn’t realize it. It had caused a lot of friction between me and her adoptive parents.
Letting go to me doesn’t mean I’ve stopped loving my birth daughter or caring or wanting to be involved in her life.
For me letting go meant not looking at my birth daughter as if she were still my child.
She was mine when I was pregnant those nine months. But after I gave her to her forever family she was no longer mine.
I am not her mother. I am her birthmom. Letting go of that mother idea in my head was the hardest thing to do.
Open adoption is truly a blessing to all involved.
To keep an adoption open everyone has to be honest and respect one another. Everyone has to have patience and love and forgiveness in their heart.
Most of all, we have to remember that open adoption is about the child, not us.
Crystal Byrd is a birthmother who lives in South Texas and plans to return to school to study phlebotomy.
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