Why an open adoption?


It seems like lately I have been asked several times if I am glad we have open adoptions and if I really want our next adoption to be open, or if I would prefer to cut off contact with birth families. I think people may have the idea that our adoption is open because that is something we had to agree to in order to adopt. Well, the truth is, we did have to agree to let Cheyenne (Abby’s birth mom) see Abby twice a year (on each of their birthdays) but that is the only commitment she asked for (and her mom told me when she was telling me about Abby and Cheyenne that we could probably get Cheyenne to agree to just one visit a year.)
Ryan and I are the ones who chose to have Cheyenne, and her parents, be a part of our family, not just people who share DNA with our daughter, not someone we obligatorily see once a year. They are our family, and our friends. We love them. Our adoption is as open as any I have heard of. We talk regularly, get together regularly, celebrate holidays together. And not because we have to, we do it because we want to.
That doesn’t mean that having this relationship is always easy. I think any time you include another person in your life you open yourself up to heartache and pain. When there are the extreme emotions associated with adoption (on both the birth and adoptive sides) those difficulties can increase. There have been moments that it seemed like it would feel so nice if I was Abby’s only mom. But I’m not, and never will be. Cheyenne will always be a part of Abby, a part of Abby that I love.
If you had a family member that sometimes caused pain, or frustration, or anger, or other negative feelings (whether because of poor choices they make or the way they treat you or others or whatever) there may be times when you distance yourself a bit or protect yourself in some way, but for the most part, you wouldn’t wish that person out of your life.
I will say that our open adoption has caused pain at various times, fairly significant pain, but I have not for a single second wished we had a closed adoption, or considered closing it, or wished Cheyenne out of our lives. We love her, I LOVE her. She made it possible for me to be a mom!!!! And I just love her.
We chose open adoption for Abby – I never want her to wonder why she was placed for adoption, I never want her to feel unloved or unwanted or abandoned, I never want her to have questions about her past that she has no one to ask. I want her to have as much closure and peace as possible. Also, here is another person that loves my daughter like a parent does. How many people will love her that way, that selflessly. Cheyenne loves her as much as I do. She doesn’t have the responsibility I have, but she does have the love. Why would I keep Abby from having that love in her life? We chose open adoption for our birth parents – we love them and want them to have the opportunity to be part of their children’s lives. But even for us, we want the adoption open. It would be so hard on me to not know where she was, how she was doing, what was going on in her life. Like I said, I love her, and I want to know how she is. I want to be able to pray for specific blessings for her. She is as present in my thoughts as any other family member. And I need to be able to connect with her regularly.
So yes, I choose open adoption. I’m so grateful for it. It is who we are.

– Amanda

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