I’ve missed/avoided/ignored the last two OAR writing prompts for various reasons but am jumping back into the discussion with with this one. Heather posted it today and I’ve been thinking about it every since reading it from my phone while I’m sure I was supposed to be doing something productive today.
This round we’re going to consider one critique of fully open adoptions. Have you ever heard–or perhaps even made–statements like these?
“We have medical histories and can share the information we have about their birth parents with our children now. If they feel a need to initiate contact with their birth families when they are adults, we will fully support them.”
“The decision to have a relationship with her bio family should be hers when she is ready. Creating a relationship between them before she wants it might cause issues in the future.”
“Children deserve to have just one family during childhood and not to deal with anything adoption-related until they are more mature. A fully open adoption robs a child of a normal childhood.”
I’ll start with the medical history. Its wonderful that you have medical history from the time your child was born, it wasn’t too long ago that even that wasn’t available. However, medical history is not static. Its in part the label “history” that reinforces the belief that medical information need only be collected once. I’ll use my own story as an example.
I gave birth at 18 and filled in the medical “history” form completely however at that time I was fairly healthy as was my family. Hell at that time I had all 4 grandparents and 2 great grandmothers alive and well. In the last 8 years a lot has changed.
- My occasional migraines have become more chronic and more intense which has sent my doctors searching for additional underlying causes/conditions.
- One of my great grandmothers has become ill and passed some of her illnesses may be hereditary
- My paternal grandfather also passed this year and also suffered from some illnesses that may be hereditary
- My mother has developed high blood pressure and diabetes
- My mother became ill last winter and had to undergo blood transfusions and major surgery
- My father is currently suffereing from joint issues
- I have either a papilledema or pseudopapilledema
- I went from have no known allergies to discovering I’m allergic to a very common medication
- As we speak I am awaiting test results from todays doctors visit unrelated to any of the above
So, yes, having that piece of paper I filled out 8 years ago would be better than nothing but only barely. In an open adoption I can shoot my son’s parents an email and say, “FYI momma was diagnoised as diabetic today just wanted to let you know so you can update [Kidlet]’s medical history”
Next lets look at leaving the decision to have a relationship with family until the child is an adult. Is there any other family member that should be ignored and then when the child reaches 18 they can choose whether or not to contact them? Again I’ll use my family as an example. BabySister and I have never been and probably will never be the best of friends. I don’t agree with her parenting style (nothing abusive or neglectful just different from how I’d do things) I don’t agree with her priorities. I don’t agree with her values. If we weren’t related we would probably not interact on any level.
And yet, she is my sister. We are related. Should I ignore that and when my children reach the age of 18 tell them, “Oh, by the way you have an aunt I didn’t want to force that connection on you but now that you’re adults you can contact her if you want”
All in all adults are uncomfortable with open adoption because its a foreign concept and if we raise our children to view it as an unusual occurance they will be uncomfortable with it as well. If we raise them to know that differences in families are normal, that they have extended familyconnects that their friends may not, they can grow up embracing all of who they are.