The title of an article out of Oklahoma caught my eye.
“Open Adoption Good for All Involved”
Well, maybe. It can happen. And that’s why I find the title to be misleading. Open adoption is not automatically a good thing for all involved. When adoption agencies, attorneys and facilitators try to sell it to both expectant parents considering placement and potential adoptive families as the easy and good answer to the “problem” at hand, both parties are being set up for failure.
Without the truth that it involves a lot of hard work, even when you don’t feel like putting forth any more effort, families are entering into the situation blindly. It’s a recipe for disaster at times, especially when you consider that not all states have legally binding open adoptions. In these cases, adoptive parents can disappear without warning or reason, leaving the birth parents with no recourse. Similarly, as birth parents are so rarely counseled as to what their role in their child’s life should be, too many simply fail to continue contact with their child’s family leaving the (adoptive) parents unsure of how to proceed.
Open adoption can be great. It really can. It has been a blessing to have any insight into who my daughter is growing up to be and have that minor involvement that I get from occasional visits and continued contact. I’ve seen other families succeed and, therefore, I know that it is possible. But I also know that the hurt and pain associated with relinquishment is not magically removed by openness. I know that communication problems arise and that not a lot in the way of resources exists for families struggling with open adoptions. I know that too often open adoptions close because one or both parties simply run out of steam or ideas on how to handle tough situations.
While I love to see happier adoption stories in the news, I’d really like to see journalists address that, like every relationship, open adoptions can be great as long as both parties are informed of the possible issues and ready to put in a lot of hard work. I think we have some work to do before that starts being stated in the media.