Children, in general, are curious. They have questions about life and how everything works together. So it’s natural that your child will have questions about who you are, their birth family history, and heritage. When you chose an open adoption, you’re available to answer questions only you can. Here are ten reasons many birth moms and families have chosen open adoption relationships over more restrictive or closed adoptions.
#1: Helps your child know “why”
99% of adopted children age five and older know that they were adopted. While they grow up knowing they are loved by their adoptive families, at some point in life, they wonder why. Because having an open adoption provides your child with at least some level of contact with you and their birth family, they don’t have to fill in the blanks to their birth story with a fantasy or tale. Instead, they grow up knowing you and the truth… that you loved them enough to give them a better life.
#2: Links your child to their heritage and traditions
In an open adoption, your child will also grow up knowing their heritage and family history. This knowledge helps them claim that as part of their identity and celebrate the culture and traditions of their birth families. They also get to be part of their adoptive family’s culture and heritage, giving them rich experiences and even more traditions to take with them throughout life and to pass on to their children one day.
#3: Provides your child access to family medical history
Another reason to choose open adoption is that your child will have access to his or her biological family medical history. Having access to basic medical background information regarding physical, mental, and emotional health issues can play an important role in the overall health and medical care going forward. Many medical conditions are genetic, so this helps medical personnel make informed decisions on your child’s care should any health concerns emerge as they grow.
#4: Gives your child a wider circle of loving support
Being a kid is hard. Many children with open adoption relationships benefit from having the extended love and support of the birth family. Adoptive families are also often grateful for the extra support provided by others who love their child.
#5: Eliminates the need for an expensive search
Closed adoptions often lead to adopted children going on expensive and exhausting searches for their birth family when they get older. They want to know the narrative behind their story and how their life began. With an open adoption, your child will know right from the beginning who you are and the details surrounding their adoption story.
#6: Creates an ongoing relationship with your child
Another reason open adoptions are a great choice for birth moms is that it gives you the opportunity to have an ongoing relationship with your child and the adoptive family. Of course, the level of contact you have is up to you and what the family you choose agrees on. But in most cases, this is a unique and beautiful relationship that only enriches your child’s life. It also gives you a chance to see what an amazing job the adoptive parents are doing raising your child and the reassurance that he or she is living a happy and fulfilling life.
#7: Gives you control over your child’s future
Even though you aren’t raising your child, you get to make many of the decisions that will impact how your child will be raised in an open adoption. You get to choose the adoptive family (and the lifestyle you want for them). You get a say in how things will be handled at the hospital when you give birth. And, you choose the level of contact you have with the adoptive parents before and after the adoption is finalized and the type of relationship you want moving forward. As the birth mom, you set the tone for the entire adoption process, which can be very empowering and help you in your journey.
#8: Reassures you your child is thriving because of you
Open adoptions also provide reassurance that you made the right choice. Knowing who your child is being raised by and getting regular updates that they are happy and thriving helps you move beyond the fact that they aren’t being raised by you. It also gives you peace of mind knowing that you have given them a chance to have the best life possible.
#9: Helps you heal over time
To say placing your child with an adoptive family is an easy choice would be a disservice to the love you have and the sacrifice you’re making for your child. You will need time to heal from this. However, an open adoption means that you still get to keep that connection. You still get to see how they grow and the type of person they become. And you still get to be part of their life in a way that both you and the adoptive family are comfortable with. Having that and seeing that your child happy does help you heal over time.
#10: Allows you to give a family a precious gift
Adoptive families can’t wait to add your child (and your relationship with them) to their family. Some may not be able to have children of their own. Some may just feel led to grow their family through adoption and to share the love they have. Whatever the reason, your decision to choose open adoption is a precious gift to them. They will forever be grateful that you have chosen them to be part of this journey with you and that you entrusted them to care for and raise your child. There is no better gift.