The entire open adoption process can be confusing. However, once you learn that you, as the birth mom, get to make many of the decisions surrounding your child’s future, it can be an empowering journey. To help you understand the open adoption process more, we’ve compiled a list of the most common myths and facts. We hope these will put any worries you have at ease.
Myth 1: Choosing adoption means I don’t love my child.
FACT: Moms who explore open adoption are often motivated by love, not disinterest. Typically, they feel that by choosing adoption they are giving their child a chance at a better life. By no means does this mean that you don’t love your child. In many ways, placing your child with adoptive parents is a huge display of sacrificial love.
Myth 2: Open adoption isn’t very common.
FACT: Today, most adoptions are open. Recent surveys indicate that only about 5 percent of adoptions are completely closed or confidential. The remaining 95 percent have some degree of openness either directly with the adoptive family or through a mediator.
Myth 3: If I choose adoption, I don’t get a say in what happens to my child.
FACT: You get to make many decisions regarding your child in an open adoption. This includes choosing the parents you want to raise your child, the level of communication you want to have with them going forward, and your birth plan at the hospital.
Myth 4: Open adoption is a form of co-parenting.
FACT: While birth parents may play a role in the child’s life, the adoptive parents retain all parental rights and make all decisions regarding the child’s welfare. Birth parents have no legal rights in the decisions made.
Myth 5: Open adoption is confusing to children.
FACT: From a very early age, children understand the roles and responsibilities attached to the people in their life. They are not confused by having birth and adoptive parents because it’s something that has always been defined and shared. It’s also true that children in open adoption arrangements greatly benefit from the extended relationship with their birth parents. This includes understanding the reason for their adoption early on, having access to information that helps them form their identity, and knowing their family medical history. Keeping secrets like who their birth parents are can, however, lead to confusion and mystery surrounding their adoption story.
Myth 6: The relationships between adoptive parents and birth parents deteriorate in time.
FACT: As with any relationship, things change over time. Relationships between adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees also tend to ebb and flow. However, if all parties stay committed to communicating and being flexible, they can enjoy a life-long, rewarding friendship that is rich and unique.
Myth 7: My friends and family will think badly about me if I plan an open adoption.
FACT: Many people don’t understand or are unfamiliar with open adoption. Sometimes all you have to do is educate your friends and family on what it is and how it will work for you. Once they realize that you are in control of many decisions, understand the agreement you have set with the adoptive parents, and see that you are confident in your choice, they also come to understand and embrace your decision.
Myth 8: Being able to communicate with and see my child will be too painful.
FACT: Yes, there is grief and loss in adoption. However, an open adoption allows you to still play a part in your child’s life and see how he or she is doing. Over time, the relationship you build with your child’s adoptive family and seeing your child happy and thriving gives you peace of mind and helps you heal.