My husband, J, and I adopted our three- and six-year-old children through the U.S. foster care system. When it comes to open adoptions, most people assume this only applies to domestic infant adoptions. But, I don’t see it this way. At this point, we certainly don’t have a relationship with our children’s first parents, but we are in touch with some other members of their first family. For this reason, I consider our adoption to be somewhat open. Our kids have monthly visits with their biological aunt, who also wanted to adopt our daughter, BE. Needless to say, our relationship was tenuous at first, but we were determined to follow the recommendation of our agency, which advised us to continue the relationship. But, after more than a year, our kids’ aunt has become a good friend. I am so thankful that we know her.
Our kids also have a half brother who lives about 30 minutes away. I’ve been in touch with their brother’s father (not their father) and have shared photos of the kids with them. So far, we haven’t had any visits, but I’m hoping that someday we will.
Our daughter, BE, often tells me that she has three sets of parents - us, their first parents, and their foster parents. Fortunately, their foster family lives only 20 minutes away and we’ve had a few visits with them since the adoption. This family has been fostering for nearly 20 years and they’ve told me that they rarely stay in touch with their foster children because the adoptive parents cut off all contact. This seems really tragic to me, and I hope this family will have a chance to see our children grow up. In fact, they’ve expressed the desire to become like a third set of grandparents.
I’ve always believed that given the situation, our kids need all the support and love they can get. Needless to say, I’m so thankful that they have so many people in their new family, and their previous families who love them and who can be a consistent presence in their lives.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m completely in favor of open adoption. And, when the time is right, we hope our arrangement will include our children’s first parents too.
You can read Shannon's first guest post about choosing adoption here. Thank you once again Shannon for sharing some of your story with us!