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Open Adoption through Foster Care

Updated on November 11, 2013

Both of my children, my daughter & my son, have open adoptions.

Yes, you read that correctly. Both of my children, adopted through foster care, from different biological families, have open adoptions.

You may be thinking, if they were taken from their families and put into foster care, why would you want or allow contact with those same families?

I have many reasons, I have my children's best interests at heart, and I am extremely secure with the fact that, regardless of biological ties...

I am their mother

Would you want to grow up wondering why you looked like no one in your family? Or have some health scare pop up and not know if anyone in your family had something similar? Or feel guilty as a child or adult about hurting your adoptive family and wondering if they'd disown you for searching for your biological family? Or grow up with a feeling of missing something but not quite being able to put your finger on what that something might be? Do you want to find out as an adult that your biological family members have passed on without you having a chance to know them?

I bet you've answered with a resounding NO to each of those questions!

I've made sure that my children will not grow up wondering and waiting.

They know, they've always known, that they're adopted.

They've personally met their biological mothers and have interacted with them one on one.

They've personally met extended biological family members and have interacted with them also.

My kids deserve to know who they are and where they come from. I'm not afraid of losing them to their biological family. I know that they know that I am their mother, and I'm secure and confident in my role as their mother.

I'm not saying it's easy, it was difficult at first, very very difficult .

I was not secure in my role as mommy in the beginning. The adoption papers said that I was, but my head was still wrapping around the idea, even though my heart was there immediately.

I did have a 6 month no contact rule in place after the adoption was finalized. I had minimal contact with their other mothers but the children had none. This was needed as an adjustment period. You can't just expect someone to jump out of mommy-mode and expect someone else (me) to jump into mommy-mode with the other mommy still around much of the time. We all needed time to re-learn our roles in these children's lives. It was a hard learning process for myself and both other mothers. We ran into issues, we talked them out. We got into arguments, they passed and we worked through them. Communication is vital to having an open adoption.

Not only does open adoption give disclosure to the children as they grow, regardless of the silly sealed court documents, it gives their birth mother the piece of mind of knowing that their child is okay, they're being taken care of and happy and allows them to move on with their life, while still remaining a part of their adopted child's life.

The other mother's I've dealt with have been children themselves basically. One was of adult age, but we all know that your early 20's are still a mix of time between being a teen and becoming an adult. The other was the young age of 15 when she gave birth. I couldn't turn my back on either one of them without feeling as if I was throwing away part of my children. They came from those familys, they are a part of them, a part of their history and with open adoption, a part of their present.

There are varying levels of open adoption. My daughter's adoption has an entirely different amount of openness than that of my son's adoption. She's spent quite a bit of time alone with various members of her biological family including her grandmother, uncle, cousins, etc. My son has not spent as much time with his biological family, but he has met his younger siblings and grandmother.

My kids will never have fantasies about who their biological parents are... they already know.

Bottom line, the more people to love and care for a child, the better in my opinion. As long as there is no danger involved or undermining on either parties side, I can't imagine a valid reason for having a completely closed adoption. I simply don't understand how a completely closed adoption benefits the child.

I'm not an adoptee, so maybe I'm missing something, maybe there are valid reasons that I'm not aware of? Feel free to fill me in within the comments section if you'd like to share.


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      PM 2 years ago

      Hi! I love this post! I am about to finalize the adoption of my two foster daughters, ages three and four. Thanks to conversations with their birth dad before the termination of rights (over a year ago), I am planning to be in touch with him as soon as the adoption is final and hope we can be in touch regularly. I am not sure about birth mom as she appears to be less reliable, but some kind of contact would be good. I wouldn't be able to leave the girls alone with either of them, however, I think (hope!) we can create a positive relationship with both sides of their birth family. My girls do have each other, but I don't want them to ever wonder who they look like, where they come from, etc. In fact, seeing where they come from may help them understand why they are not with their birth parents. Either way, I am happy to see someone write about the very things I have thought about! Thank you for your post!

    • profile image

      Cbgrace 2 years ago

      my adoption story is posted on my blog www.cbgrace.wordpress.com. At what age did you allow your children contact with bio family? My children are very young. Both have siblings/half-siblings. I'm not sure I want to have to explain some things to my 6 year old. Dad in prison, mom a meth addict, both in drugs and stealing. At this point, your bio was sick and couldn't care for you is what I say. What is a safe age to allow contact? My daughter is the youngest of 10 children and some were adopted by family I'm not crazy about (they speak negatively of bio family in front of their kids). Not sure I would ever consider unsupervised visits.

    • upsidedownworld profile image
      Author

      upsidedownworld 5 years ago from Not a mental hospital YET! o.0

      Thanks for the comments dayzee. I can only imagine what it would be like to not know these things. None of us are perfect but it doesn't keep us from trying, right?! :)

    • upsidedownworld profile image
      Author

      upsidedownworld 5 years ago from Not a mental hospital YET! o.0

      holconrad, I'm so sorry to hear about the path your son has chosen. Hoping he comes around as he matures and finds his path in life.

    • upsidedownworld profile image
      Author

      upsidedownworld 5 years ago from Not a mental hospital YET! o.0

      Thanks for commenting tnt. I do see and understand your point about the teenage years.

    • upsidedownworld profile image
      Author

      upsidedownworld 5 years ago from Not a mental hospital YET! o.0

      noway, without having some valid reasons for your way of thinking, I cannot agree. There is no valid reason a person should be denied knowing their histor

    • dayzeeflowrs profile image

      dayzeeflowrs 5 years ago from Where freedoms are illusions

      I'm adopted. I was adopted in the mid-70's. Extremely, red-taped, closed adoption. I would love to know my medical history for my sake and my son's. Who do I look like? Do I have alzheimer's to look forward to? This is a great hub. I have 2 wonderful parents. Well, yeah, wonderful, but not perfect. Neither am I. The lady who put me up for adoption is not my mother. My mom kissed my boo-boos, took me to my sports activities, freaked out when I was learning to drive. You get the point. Great hub!

    • holconrad profile image

      holconrad 5 years ago from Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

      I agree tnt1016, teenagers are very easily influenced. My 18 year old adopted son ran away just about one year ago. I have done everything to raise my sons to be decent, honest individuals. Unfortunately he has gotten involved with people who are not upstanding, and are "welfare mentality" something that I have tried very hard to avoid. He is living with a family who allows him to co-habitate with their 16 year old daughter. I am devastated to say the least. I am hoping that he comes home, or at least contacts me before he leaves for the marines in July.

    • tnt1016 profile image

      tnt1016 5 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      Previous comment was from me, just set up an account sorry for inconvenience.

    • profile image

      tnt1016 5 years ago

      My brother and I were both adopted in open adoption situations. There wasn't an agency we went through our mother met our birth mothers through friends. People always ask me "when did you find out you were adopted?" and I proudly answer "I've always known." I believe that's how it should be in all adoptions whether or not it's an open or closed adoption. I came into contact with my birth family about 3 years ago and my brother just this past April. I think that the birth family should have contact via email, mail, or facebook with children that are adopted but not necessarily be around them constantly. I always say that birth mothers put their child up for adoption to give them a better life and thus need to keep some distance as the child is growing up to let them live that better life. Teenage years are very influential, and as I see with my brother (who is 17) is changing his college plans to be able to please his birth mother and I don't agree with it one bit. There needs to be some distance but also some contact.

    • profile image

      noway 5 years ago

      I believe what you don't know doesn't hurt for many reasons. to many reasons to debate, but prefer to go forward not backwards.

    • upsidedownworld profile image
      Author

      upsidedownworld 5 years ago from Not a mental hospital YET! o.0

      holconrad... thanks for the comment and sharing. I totally understand how you would not allow contact in the situation you have described! In that situation, I wouldn't have even attempted to have contact with the birth mother considering she continued to be a danger to the child.

    • holconrad profile image

      holconrad 5 years ago from Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

      I have two adopted children. Although they both know that they are adopted and have photo's of their birth families, we do not have contact with their extended families.

      My youngest was severely beaten by his birth parents. He came to me at eight weeks of age with seven broken bones, damage to his face and eyes. The birth parents not only denied causing the abuse, but came up with elaborate stories to cover it up. He did have visits with his birth mother until he was about a year and a half, then she stopped showing up for visits. She had found a new boyfriend and had gotten pregnant again. The birth father was not allowed any contact with my son, and wan not even allowed in the same town when the visitation was taking place.Both of his parental rights were involuntary terminated. I did continue to up-date the birth mother with photo's and letters, but was advised by the county to stop all contact, because she was determined to be a danger to him. He does know that he is adopted and is free to share or not to share his story when he meets new people.