Adoptive mother: Fearful of being open

In preparation for launching my blog I talked with close family members and friends about going public with these columns and to my amazement, the fear that many people associate with the mere concept of open adoptions has come to the surface once again simply by stating that I’m going public with my blog. My family insists that their fear is in regards to the privacy of other people involved in the adoption – particularly my son and his birth parents; they want to be sure that I maintain their privacy rights. However, I suspect that the underlying issue here is a different one, especially since I told my family that I took great pains in my blog to omit my son’s name and to change names of birth family members to maintain their privacy. I believe their trepidation is over my own exposure in talking so publicly about some very sensitive issues of an open adoption and not knowing what the impact of that might be and their desire to protect me.

Yes I understand they are worried about me – I get that; however I’ve already been exposed. For two years my husband and I were fully and completely exposed to the world in a way that nobody would understand unless they themselves have gone through an open adoption. Heck, we launched a website about us and had a brochure circulating both of which showed pictures of us and outlined who we are, what kind of house and environment we live in, our interests, our intentions in bringing a child to our home, and many other details about us that I would have preferred to keep private. As far as I’m concerned, I’m ALREADY out there!

I remember very well the same fear surfacing from some people when I first told them I was going to do an open adoption in the first place. “An open adoption? Are you sure that’s a good idea? Aren’t you afraid the birth parents will take the baby back?” While going through our open adoption placement I had to stop listening to these fearful comments from others and go forward anyway. If I’d let their worries dictate my actions I never would have adopted my son and formed the wonderful relationship I have with his birth parents.

Other people have pointed out to me that perhaps a generational difference is at play in the fear of exposure and in being candid about the adoption. Years ago open adoptions were not common at all; in our generation they are becoming more standard. Although many potential adoptive families still need an adjustment period to warm up to the idea of open adoptions, we are evolving as open adoptions become more and more accepted. People today are more accustomed to having their privacy exposed via the internet and social media. Our parent’s generation didn’t have that in their everyday lives.

Whether or not this generational gap is true or not, I feel very strongly that by exposing myself by sharing my stories, stories of our experiences over the years, other people could see what is possible with open adoptions. I refuse to use an alias for my name as some people have suggested. If I am not willing to be open about my experiences (the good and the bad) exposing who I am then how will other people learn and benefit? How will the stigma of an open adoption ever be changed? And after all, isn’t being open what an open adoption is all about?

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