open adoptions anyone?

Christi - posted on 03/16/2009 ( 27 moms have responded )

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Hi, all,



I'm new here and haven't had a chance to read too much, but just wondering how many of you all have open adoptions with your child(ren)'s birthfamily?



Our daughter will be three on April 26 and we couldn't be more thrilled, but it is difficult finding anyone who knows and understands the challenges of open adoptions.



Christi

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Stephanie - posted on 08/19/2009

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We have an open situation with both birthparents. It has been amazing and wonderful. At first I was a little anxious of how it would all work, but both birthparents are so amazing. I consider them both to be members of our family and honestly wish we had more contact and visits.

Mary - posted on 08/17/2009

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We have an open adoption but it's not in full swing yet since our son is not aware that he is adopted. He's 7 and will learn the full story this year. Our birthparents are wonderful and we send them pics and talk to them a few times per year. The birthmom is also my niece by marriage, which is tricky but wonderful. We are about to start facing the challenges once we tell the story. One issue will be that the birthmom has 2 other children that she did not place for adoption.

Melissa - posted on 07/11/2009

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Hi! Just wanted to let you know our daughter turned six recently - we've had a very open adoption with both birthfamilies - I'd love to talk sometime - I have to agree that finding someone with an open adoption can be difficult. Do you guys have a relationship with both birthfamilies? Hope to hear from you soon. Melissa

Dorothy - posted on 07/01/2009

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Hi Christi

I'm so glad to have found others involved in an open adoption. We have an open adoption with our 5 mo. old daughters B/mom. I was a little reluctant since we live in the same small town. It hasn't been too bad, the b/mom is developmentally delayed but is very nice, but she does have some requests that I've had to say no to. We were meeting every 2 weeks and I've changed it to every 3 weeks. We only meet for an hour and then she's ready to go which is good I quess. We adopted our first daughter through foster care so it was a closed adoption but she already her b/mom. With Chloe it was a private adoption and they recommend open adoptions, its verbal only and is not egally binding which is why we did it. Some days I wish it was closed, I don't want to share her, but I know I can stop the visits at any time if I feel it's not working.I love Chloe as if I gave birth to her myself, I cared for her the moment she was born, I even cut the cord, and feel I am her mom period. So I feel it has its good points, it takes the wondering out of what the b/mom is like and takes away the rejected feelings that adoptees can have. But also sometimes we want her all to ourselves. It's a mixed bag of feelings, so we take it one day at a time. She is such a blessing that I will do whats best for her even though it may be hard on me. It's worth it!!

Amy - posted on 06/28/2009

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We have an open adoption. We see the bm and her family about once per year (our daughter is now 4). We communicate regularly via facebook and e-mail. They sent gifts for special occassions and occassionally call (e.g., birthday). They live about 3 hours away, so this type of contact seems to work out best for all of us. I'm hoping that having contact will help to answer questions for my daughter as she gets older - and she is already starting to ask some questions.

Rachel - posted on 06/17/2009

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Christi, I know this is old but I wanted to reply. We have been in an open adoption for 8 yrs that is very different than the ones I see on here. My daughter's mother has had the same issues I hear you worrying about. SHe has suffered from Major Depression, lost custody of her other children, struggled with a meth addiction, and has tried to kill herself several times. Sound familiar? We still have a very open relationship. I am extremely honest with her and it is what has helped her through. She knows she can trust me. We have strict rules in place, like the one you lawyer explained to her. You are still in the early stages of your adoption and it can take many years to work things out between you. I have made it clear to our dd's mother that she is responsible for her actions. I will not be held hostage by her emotional state. I care about her and will do anything to help her, including having her move in with us briefly several times. I am honest about my concerns and feelings. Address the things you know she is upset about but can't bring up. Talk about the uncomfortable things with her. It will bring you closer. Don't listen to others, they tend to gossip. Listen to her. Visit her. Call her. Invite her into your life. SHe can't take her away and as long as she is acting safe during the visit, continue.

Our dd's mother has pulled her life together and our dd is able to have over nights with her and her siblings. They talk daily. Our dd loves us both, there is no competition. It has been beneficial to all of us. We know our roles. I am happy to answer any questions you have about how we made it work.

Deb - posted on 05/16/2009

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When you are considering an open adoption, make sure it is in the best interest of the child. Don't put the interest of the birth family ahead of your child. I'm not sure visits with birth families is in the best interest of either of our children due to their trauma history.

Deb - posted on 05/16/2009

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We have an open adoption with both of our children (they are not blood related). One sees her siblings weekly (she's 8). The other sees her siblings once in a while and her grandmother in the summer (she's 5). I don't think either situation has worked out very well. The 5 year old is jealous of the other seeing her siblings so often. She really can't see her family more often because it causes such havoc. Her tantrums increase to 5 or more a day and she wets and soils her pants 3 or 4 times a day. Her family has never set any boundaries or limits with her, so when she returns home to us, she expects us to give her anything she wants. The oldest gets a lot of confusing information from her sister, who is 16. She is unable to understand or process most of the information her sister gives her so she starts having a lot of tantrums too. The sister is just waiting until she is 18 to go find her mother, who is living in a car in Colorado, and live with her. She has promised to take my daughter with her. We are reducing visits from family for both children. Both of these girls have a lot of trauma in their past and neither one is ready to deal with it. They are both in therapy. Being with family causes them to relive some of that trauma and they aren't ready or not willing to deal with the feelings it brings up. Both of the moms are drug addicted and are in one violent relationship after another.

Danielle - posted on 05/11/2009

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We do have an open adoption with our son's birth parents. We have been sending letters and pictures once a month and will continue to do so until about 1 year and then taper off to every other month and then 3-4 times a year. Josh will be 6 months in a week and a half and we have yet to hear back from H and K. We do not know a lot about them, Joshua was an emergency placement so we were only able to talk for about an hour. While I completely understand that they may not be ready for a visit or to write letters to us yet, I wish that I knew that they were doing OK. I hope as time goes by they both feel like they would like to contact us and get together for the twice yearly visits that we all agreed to.

Angie - posted on 05/06/2009

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Christi - Hello, I'm new here as well. I have two boys through an open adoption. my oldest just turned three May 2nd, and my other son is 18 mos. I would love to discuss the challenges your facing as well as the ones I am facing. It is a very challenging situation sometimes.

Tisha - posted on 05/05/2009

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Hi Christi, we are in an open adoption with our daughters first mom. Our daughter just turned two and we schedule usually a visit per year (during the summer usually). We too have had our ups and downs. I think the hardest was around our daughters first bday. She and I were both not communicating effectively and after a phone conversation ,things got better. Now our only real issues is that she doesn't respond to my emails like she used to. I sit and wait for updates that used to come regularly.



I am sorry you are having issues with your OA right now. Good luck and please visit if you need anything.

[deleted account]

Hi, I'm new to this group. I have an open adoption with my husband's sister being the birth mom. It has been a really up and down first couple of years, but this last year (from 2-3) has been a little more smooth. My son will be 3 next month, and he loves his Auntie and of course the biograndparents are the same on the mother's side. My sis-inlaw and I became very close after she gave birth (she was 15 at the time, and I was 20) and we are still really close. She is still with the bfather and they plan to get married next summer. So we've had our ups and downs, mostly with my husbands parents overstepping their bounds with this. It's a very intersting and sometimes difficult family dynamic to work though. Does anyone have feelings of not being the "real" mother? That was my harest thing to try to overcome, with everyone surrounding the family knowing the situation it was more like we were the babysitters (although we did finalize the adoption, I didn't want any chance of her coming back later and taking him). Any advice on how we adoptive mom's can cope with that?

Melissa - posted on 04/23/2009

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Hi Christi, I know open adoption all too well. I am a birth mom and my daughter will be 11 in August. I have an open adoption with her and her family. It was something we all agreed to have when we met. I have to tell you it's the best! I and my family have been able to visit my daughter as she has been growing up. Seeing her always brings tears to my eyes. Choosing adoption was very hard for me at the time but it was the right decision. I can't tell you how grateful I am that the family I chose for my daughter to be raised by was happy about open adoption. We did sign an "agreement" that pretty much stated I would receive pictures every 3 months and visit every 3 months of her 1st year. However, that wasn't the case at all. Her mom would call me every day to let me know how she was doing and how she was growing. I was receiving pictures which seemed like every week for her first year. At the time I would visit every month. Since then the visits have tapered off a bit but I still make the time when available. I am glad I chose to have an open adoption. It's the best gift I could ever ask for.

Coral - posted on 04/07/2009

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my husband and i are in the middle of an open adoption. and it has and is still being a difficult thing. the bm is not the one that i am in contact with, not totally anyway. it is more the birth maturnal grandmother. we are having troubles with the bm and getting her to sign the papers to proceed with the adoption, we have had custody of our son for over a year, and she (bm) has not even stepped inside her lawyers office to sign or even see what is going on with the adoption, we are little worried about it all. as she seems to be in total control of the situation, and we meaning our son and my husband and i seem to be just sitting and waiting. i am the type that just needs to have some control on situations such as these.

but as far as when the adoption is final, i am not sure if i will have much contact with the bm, she will have to show me in some way that she does care for her son. btu if she can not do what needs to be done now then i am not sure if i can do that later.

we are on a emotional roller coaster ride, and i really do not like it much. i want to be a family more than anything and i want to be able to change my sons middle names and have him to carry my husbands name.

CM

Angela - posted on 04/01/2009

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HI Christi!
We too have a very open adoption. Our birthmother came and stayed 2 weekends with us before our son was born. We are open with her whole family and have them to our home or go to dinner with them almost every month. Our son is almost 19 months old. Our birthmother married a little over a year ago and she is expecting. We are very close so sometimes it was hard because we saw when she was going through hard time and would withdraw from us. But the last 8 months have been great. I just had a baby myself and worried how she would feel but we actually bonded even more. We love our birth mother with all our hearts. We speak often at adoption seminars about our open adoption. It is like any other family member somtimes you have downs but there are a lot more ups. It is a real relationship and it is not a bed of roses all the time. How is your open adoption. Is your birthmom going through a hard time. It is hard to watch believe me!! I understand!!

Jennifer - posted on 03/28/2009

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Hi, our son is almost two. We have a very open adoption with his birth father. He calls his biological grandparents: grandma and grandpa. They are all very loving and add to his life. His birth mother not so much. She provides the challenges when she actually calls. Any particular issues you are having? We have run the gambit. good and bad.

Carla - posted on 03/27/2009

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We have an open adoption with our sons birth family.  We actually knew his birth mother before she became pregnant through extended family.  When we found out she was preganant and going to put the baby up for adoption we had a family member mention us to her as being interested.  She was not finding a family through an adoption agency that she was working with and so she agreed to meet with us.  Although it is a real challange we make it work.  We get together just about once a month to visit for about 3 to 4 hours.  We struggle with when to tell our son who will be 3 in Aug but mostly we struggle with when to tell our 7 year old who his birth mother is because she already knows who she is but just not that she is our sons birth mother.  Any suggestions on that one?



 



Carla

Jessica - posted on 03/18/2009

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Christi-we have an open adoption with our son's birthfamily (mother's side), but I guess we have been very lucky. They live close by, but are all very respectful and supportive of his adoption. His bm is glad he is where he is. She knows that she is too young and not in a position to be raising a child. His 1st birthday is coming up, and we plan to have them over to celebrate.

I know what you mean about people not really "getting" open adoption. At first when I told people, I got a lot of comments like "if she sees him, aren't you afraid she will change her mind and want him back?" I really have not been worried about that. Our bm has been sure since the day she found out that she was pregnant that adoption was the best thing for all involved. We have all been very comfortable with the arrangement all along, but many people seem to not get it and seem uncomfortable with it. I just have to let those emotions be theirs, and get on with raising my son!

I wish you well and hope all these difficulties are resolved soon. Just remember that even if you have to make some tough decisions concerning your birth mother, you are doing what you have to do to put your daughter's well-being and safet first! And congrats on the new little one!

Amy - posted on 03/17/2009

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We have an open adoption with Ty's birth family.  Bmom, Bdad, and 3 bsiblings.  So far it ha been very natural, though I lack people that get it.  Prior to Ty, all the adoptions in my famiy were international, so they have zero understanding of the hows and whys of open adoption.

[deleted account]

Our daughter is 3 and we have an open adoption with her birth family. We have left the visiting with her birth family since we know it is not easy on them to see her. When we first adopted her (we brought her home when she was 3 days), her tummy mommy and birthaunt saw her once a week for about an hour for about a month; then it went down to twice a month; then it went down to once a month; then once every two months...last year they saw her twice. I email them when I have new pictures and when she has reached a certain milestone. My husband is adopted and his birthmom "vetoed" his file. He has certain feelings on that subject so when we adopted our daughter, we wanted to be able to share her with her birthfamily knowing they loved her as much as we do. We don't want her to have feelings of abandonment or that she wasn't love because that is not true. So we encourage her birthfamily to have as much contact as they would like. When she is older, we'll let her decide on how much contact she wants but for now they have become an extended part of our family.

Rebecca - posted on 03/17/2009

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It's certainly a complicated relationship (open adoptions in general, and yours in particular). So, in addition to being a mom through adoption, I"m also a social worker. With that in mind, here's my 2cents, for what it's worth...Only you and dh can decide what you're comfortable with and what you feel is in your daughters' best interest. Personally, I don't know if I'd take bm's family's word for how she's doing; I'd want to talk with her myself, even if just over the phone or email.  I think that most birth parents  go through at least a short time when they second guess their choice to place their child for adoption; personally, I don't think that, in and of itself, is a reason to not visit. One of the reasons we were so passionate about having an open adoption is that we felt being able to see our son, and know how he was, would actually help the birth family in their grieving process and feel peace about it, knowing that he's loved and cared for by the family they chose for him. And I do think that's the case (at least with us), which is why we have seen a drop off in contact in the last year or so.



Again, only you know and can decide what's best.  My thought is to go with your gut, but not your fear...



Good luck!!

Christi - posted on 03/16/2009

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Our open adoption was all based off of verbal promises - and our attorney and we made it very clear to her that anything that caused concern about ours or our child's safety would cause us to terminate contact.

Our attorney outright told her that being under the influence of anything at any visit or inviting people or showing up with anyone we don't approve of in advance would cause us to terminate our visits as well.

For us, her attempts at suicide didn't sway us from wanting to still let Savannah see her, but hearing she is very unstable at this point, and regretting her adoption decisions (especially since she lost custody of her son for her actions) is serious cause for concern (one of those attempts was ODing on pain meds)...

*sigh*

It's such a fine line all the time, and such a fragile relationship isn't it?

Christi

Christi - posted on 03/16/2009

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Thanks everyone :) So good to finally meet people who understand open adoptions!



To Emily, we've had so many people who think that open adoption means the birthparents still have rights to our daughter and can take her back at any time. They also think co-parenting, or that our daughter's birthmother will just show up and try to kidnap her... that's annoying beyond anything else.



We had a lot of contact the first two years of Savannah's life (of course the months before she was born as well) but in Dec 07 I contacted her as promised so we could get together for Christmas and later found out she tried to kill herself that night. We did end up seeing her for New Years at a play space in the mall but only for about 2 hours... Then in April last year before her birthday, the same thing happened... This time, her son (who is 9 now) was taken away by her own mother.

I have no phone number for her, no e-mail address, no way to contact her other than through pictures I post on shutterfly for her. Being pregnant and that we're moving (she's had our phone #, email addr and home addr) I wanted to let her know so she can still get in touch with us - our e-mail addr will be the same of course.

Anyway, I e-mailed her step mother, the only one I could contact, and found out about her son being taken away, how she has been dx'd bipolar (which actually doesn't concern me so much) how she tried to contact us in December using only my old cell phone number that was changed, then got all upset that she couldn't contact us... no one e-mailed us, or called our home phone, etc. So now I find out she wants to get together for Savannah's 3rd bday but her stepmom and her dad are worried finding out I'm pg (when, they say, she has a lot of regrets about her adoption plan) and that we're moving 75 miles away can put her over the edge.

Now, I'm in the difficult position of having to tell her step mom that I am not comfortable getting together knowing that she is not stable. I did talk with the social worker, and a couple people who understand adoption, but they have never experienced this type of situation and it's hard to be objective when you're worried about your child (and future child)... I have yet to hear from the step mom again (and it's been 2 weeks)... the social worker said she and her boss (also a social worker) think that avoiding contact until she' s more stable is safer.

I just keep thinking that if she does feel pushed over the edge, tries again and succeeds then I'm going to have to explain it to my daughters someday - and how exactly will Savannah feel about that, and then her younger sister -how would she feel if she thought she was the reason that it happened you know? I mean, I'd never put it in those terms, but kids read the strangest things into circumstances...

So now that I wrote a novel - what do you all think?



Thanks!!



Christi

Julie - posted on 03/16/2009

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We have an open adoption with our youngest child's Birthmom. 2 visits a year one in Jan and the other in July.  She's suppose to ask for a vist in Dec for jan and June for July.  She missed the Jan visit.  She call DSS for our PO box number again.  She has until June to ask for a visit but if she doesn't then the open adoption agreement is null and void.  Our two older kids (now 19yrs & 16yrs old)never had an open adoption agreement but they do see their birth mom a couple of times because we has parents support it and the birthmom has gotten her life together

Elly - posted on 03/16/2009

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We have an open adoption, although his bmom lives on the other side of the country, so we're unlikely to have in person meetings. I send her photos and a letter every 2 months or so, plus we email on and off. She does drop off the face of the earth every so often, then we have a burst of contact then nothing again.

Is there anything you are having issues with or is it more just that people don't understand the idea? I think the concept of open adoption is scary to lots of people : they imagine the kind of hallmark movie thing where the birthparents show up to take the baby back, or that it is co-parenting.

Rebecca - posted on 03/16/2009

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We have an open adoption with ds's birth family. he was 3 in Feb. we have a great realtionship with his birth family, though we rarely see them anymore...how is that for you guys?

Carli - posted on 03/16/2009

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Hi Christi



We have an open adoption with our birthmother, but our daughter is only 7 mos old so we haven't had too much interaction. We have up until this point just communicated via email..our bm lives about 10 hours away.



how open is your adoption?

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