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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Open Adoption v. Closed Adoption

I've had lots of questions about the type of adoption we entered into with Isaiah.

We entered into this as a completely closed adoption.

When we first met our birth mom, she didn't want any contact. She didn't want to see Isaiah in the hospital, and she didn't want any contact with us.

After that I started going to her doctor's visits with her, and we talked regularly. Neither of us expected it, but we formed a bond. I don't know for certain, but I think it is safe to say that I'm one of the more consistent and most dependable relationships she has had in her life.

A few months in, she told me she would like to have pictures sent to her from time to time. I told her I didn't have a problem with that, and I don't.

A week before Isaiah was born, she told me she wants to be able to send him gifts at Christmas and birthdays. We agreed that she could do this if she went through a third party, but that she wouldn't contact us directly. We decided who the third party was, and everything was set.

Right before we left the hospital, our birth mom and birth father came into the room to say goodbye to Isaiah. Our birth father has not been part of the adoption at all. We met him late last year to see if he would feel comfortable allowing us to adopt his child. He and our birth mom are not and were not married during her pregnancy, so his parental rights were terminated last year. The last I had heard, he didn't want to see Isaiah. We were surprised then when he walked into our room to say goodbye. He hugged Josh and asked him to send pictures from time to time. He held Isaiah and told us that he looked like his family, and then told us that he was happy for us.

Our birth mom had a tearful goodbye, and to add to it, she didn't only say goodbye to Isaiah, she was also saying goodbye to me. I'm not putting myself higher than I belong, but as a consistent part of her life, she is losing that too. As much as I was able, I tried to take care of her, and be a good support to her. I didn't expect to feel sadness toward someone who also caused me such pain in the weeks leading up to Isaiah's birth.

Just after Isaiah said goodbye to his birth parents.

I know that open adoptions are what is said to be best, but it isn't something we're entirely comfortable with. We didn't put any limitations on the adoption that our birth mom didn't agree with.

I've read about open adoptions on Hellobee and other community websites, and I don't know how those families manage. Perhaps the distance they are from the original adoption date helps to calm the anxiousness, but the way I feel right now, I couldn't do it. Emotions are still too high.

Saturday after we left the hospital, the person we chose to use as a third party ran into our birth mom and asked if she had heard from us. The third party told her that she hadn't, and I felt like that was unfair.

Later that day our birth mom text me, and even though we agreed not to directly contact, I felt like it was a good thing. She wanted to see if everything came back well on Isaiah's newborn screen. I told her that he is as healthy as can be, and that I hope she is doing well. She never text back, so I can see that she is honoring her word.

There was no way I could not respond to her question about Isaiah's well being. I've felt intensely sensitive and compassionate toward her since we left the hospital, because when I try to think of how she might be feeling right now, it breaks my heart. I feel physically ill if I cannot see Isaiah, and thinking about what she's going through absolutely hurts.

If you have, or know someone who has an open adoption, how does it work?


  1. I don't know anything about adoption but if you don't mind, I just want to give some advice from someone else. Open adoptions can be good but some adoptive parents wait until the child is older. I feel like you are entering a whole new ball park when you allow the birth mom to be a part of the life. I know you are sad for her, but try and remember this is a choice she made and I really do think everything will be okay the way it is. I hope I dont offend you.

    1. Melanie,

      I'm incredibly hard to offend, so please feel free to say anything you want, anytime.

      The birth mom has said she doesn't want to be a physical presence in his life, and I believe that so far. I don't plan to allow her to push the boundaries any farther than they are right now. When Isaiah is older we are open to him finding her, but not until he's older. We haven't set an age, but we will.



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