We asked, you answered.
Boy, did you ever.
All told, we received nearly 300 responses to our open adoption series on Facebook, “30 Questions, 30 Days.”
“30 Questions, 30 Days” is an National Adoption Month tradition that goes back six years or so to our sister site, Canada Adopts!
Each day, we posted a different question on the America Adopts! Facebook page (and Twitter) aimed at finding out how adoption has touched your life.
The questions covered all aspects of the process including
- What does open adoption mean to you?
- How are you coping with the wait?
- How do you move forward after a failed adoption match?
- What do you think expectant parents and hopeful adoptive parents are looking for in each other?
- How did you find your child’s birthmother or adoptive parents?
- What’s been the biggest surprise in your open adoption journey so far?
- What makes a successful adoptive parent-birthmother relationship?
- What advice do you have for someone who’s considering open adoption?
In past years, the series was a big hit with prospective adoption parents, new adoptive parents and birthmothers. And, as you’ll see from the responses below, this year was no exception.
I know how much I learned from you over those 30 days. I hope others did, too.
Anything we missed? What open adoption topics are you interested in? Feel free to leave your comment here or on our Facebook page.
What’s the best (or worst) advice about open adoption you’ve received?
Angela Norris: “Be proud of who you are. You made your choice for your child, not you!!!”
Breanna Nava: “When I was pregnant and explained to people my decision (needing positive support) people always seemed to say the adoptive parents could change their minds at anytime. I’d explain we had agreed on an open adoption and people always said ‘well what if they change their minds later on’, or ‘don’t be heartbroken when they don’t keep to their word.'”
What advice do you have about explaining open adoption to family, friends or strangers?
Laura Ann: “The best advice I have is to allow them to experience it with you! Our families understood it more once they could see the relationship and experience the dynamics first hand.”
Until Forever: “Let them know that’s it OK to ask questions. While some questions seem intrusive or insensitive (often times not on purpose), I’d rather have them asked so that I can relay the correct information and calm the fears they may have. Also allow them to be involved in as much as possible. The more they experience, the more comfortable they will become.”
What advice do you have about coping with the wait?
Khang and Michael’s Adoption: “Stay busy, and keep living your life. We have kept our life busy. We are constantly looking for classes (i.e. Infant care & infant 101 classes, infant health and first-aide classes, we got certified in infant CPR, parenting classes, etc.) It helps to feel like you are still moving forward because there have been times when times when it feels like the process has stalled. Also spending as much time with friends and family. We know that once we match we will be busy for a while so keeping our relationships strong. But most importantly supporting each other, the wait is difficult for both. Love each other and keep your life rich in the meantime.”
What advice do you have about making the most of your first conversation with prospective birthmother or adoptive parents?
Laura Gladden Butler: “Adoptive parents should be themselves:) don’t worry about pleasing us too much – just be you! Even if you are silly!”
Jenny Thorne Jerkins: “Absolutely know you are all nervous and also focus your conversations around the birth mom and her life, not the baby. She needs to know she is loved and that she is just as important to you as the baby. She is scared and having to make a very difficult decision. Show her love and get to know her.”
What advice do you have about moving forward after a failed match?
Rachel Whitaker Galbraith: “We had a failed match before we were matched with our son. It was so devastating. The situation had seemed so perfect and everything was going really well, so when it fell apart out of the blue, I was very confused. Looking back, I can now see how that failed situation was necessary to get us to our son. And once we were matched with his situation, things fell into place so easily. Even though it is very difficult, you just have to remember that God has a plan for your family, and trust Him and the big picture- even though you can’t see it quite yet. One day, you’ll be able to look back and see how the individual pieces of your journey came together to make a beautiful picture.”
Karla Linehan: “Take the time you need to grieve. Grieve in whatever way you need to: talk about it, don’t talk about it, cook, eat or whatever. However don’t let it become distant from your spouse or deter you from adoption. It is not a failure on your part but a failure in the process. Don’t let it define you as you are much more important than one failure in the process. When you are ready begin again. The end result is magical and far beyond whatever you could imagine.”
What do you think an expectant mother considering adoption is looking for in adoptive parents?
Kristie Wisniewski: “Someone who is everything she wish she could be today and wants to be tomorrow.”
Debbie Hiltz Durrell: “Someone who will love, honor and respect her as much as they do her child.”
How did you find your child’s birthmother or adoptive parents?
Jena Christiansen: “I found my angels parents through a family friend. We now call her his fairy godmother:)”
If you could change one thing about your adoption journey, what would it be?
Laura Ann: “I wouldn’t change a thing! Everything that happens led me to the place in time that I had to be in to have my children. If I had to go back and shed each tear again to get where I am today, I would do it all over again.”
Pamela Sara R: “I would have listened to my attorney and been more patient.”
What’s been the biggest surprise in your open adoption journey so far?
Kristi Mueller Van Ess: “What a great relationship we have with my son’s birth family and the strength of that relationship. I consider them to be my own family.”
Pamela Sara R: “How much I could love my son’s Birthmom unconditionally.”
Lori Mike Adopt: “How close my son’s birthmom and I have become. The other day, I was driving and feeling a bit down. When I looked up, I saw a double rainbow. That’s our sign for our son, two rainbows together, loving and protecting him. It made me smile; when I was down, a reminder of my “Little Sister” was enough to cheer me up. She has truly become family… Better than I ever dreamed!”
What do you think is the biggest misconception about open adoption?
Teri Hostetter: “I think there are lots, my biggest one was” aren’t you afraid they will come around and maybe take her or try to get her” my response was NO, someone would not go thru all the trouble and such if the best interest of the child were not the main objective.”
Jenny Thorne Jerkins: “I too get the “aren’t you scared she will want him back” question and comments about how it will confuse our son. But the more love they have in their life and the more open you are I have found the better it is for the child. It brings them comfort and healing.”
What advice do you have for hopeful adoptive parents who are tired and frustrated and thinking of quitting?
Kristi Mueller Van Ess: “Please please don’t give up! We waited almost 2.5 years with a horribly gone wrong failed adoption during the holiday season in the middle of that 2.5 yrs. We have had the most amazing experience with our son (have had him since an hour after his born) and best birth family ever! Truly worth the wait.”
What do you think makes a successful open adoption relationship?
Carri Globensky: “BOUNDARIES!!!!!!! They are very important and go hand in hand with communication.”
Laura Ann: “An open mind and an open heart. Don’t let little problems that come up be necessarily about adoption. Families have disagreements whether they are via adoption or biological. Communicate. Be honest. Love the child together.”
What advice do you have for an expectant mother who’s confident about her adoption plan today but is concerned about how she’ll feel about it 5 or 10 years from now?
Nicci Cameron Lovell: “Journal, journal, journal! Write down the thoughts and feelings she is having now. If she records her confidence now, it will serve as a reminder to her in the future (it has for me!). Also, encourage her to write letters to her child, expressing her love and confidence in her decision.”
Heidi L. Russo: “Have faith that what has led you to your adoption plan happened for a reason and your child is exactly where they are supposed to be. Hopefully, if it’s best for all involved, open adoption is part of the plan.”
What’s the one piece of advice you would give someone who’s considering open adoption today?
Alison Eavenson Webster: “I would say to be open to open adoption. When my husband and I started the adoption process we were really opposed to the option. We only chose semi-open because of selfish reasons. The more we learned about adoption and our son’s birth parents, the more we wanted to get to know them and have them a part of our family’s life. I don’t think open is right for every situation but I think it should be considered if it safely can be. It has been a joy to me to be able to share all of the fun things our son is doing quickly and timely with his birth parents. Together we are showing that adoption isn’t something to be hidden or to be shameful. Adoption is a beautiful thing that turns some of the darkest moments in ones life into some of the brightest.”
Until Forever: “The one thing I want people to know is that open adoption is hard. It’s so emotional. It takes commitment and communication from all involved. But it is SO worth it. Advice I would give is to do your research, ask questions and find a local adoption community to get involved in. Your friends and loved ones can be supportive, but it’s different when you have someone who knows adoption like you do.”
Thanks again to all of your comments What questions did I miss? What open adoption topics do you want to hear more about? Tell me know here or on our Facebook page.