Most infant domestic adoptions in Texas take the form of open adoptions, in which the birth parents and the adoptive family exchange information with each other and maintain some form of contact after the adoption is finalized. This contact can take the form of periodic emails, phone calls, or even visits, depending upon the desires of the birth parents and what the adoptive family is willing to allow. While open adoption benefits everyone involved, it can, in particular, offer birth parents like you a way to manage grief, gain a sense of peace, and feel in control of the adoption process.
Placing a child for adoption is an emotional process characterized by periods of intense grief and other feelings, such as guilt. Working through these feelings is essential for the birth mother’s health and well being. Pre-adoption counseling as part of the adoption agency’s birth mother support program, as well as post adoption services through the same agency, can help you prepare for and then handle these emotions when they come.
In addition to these services, however, open adoption has been proven to help birth mothers manage their grief and improve their overall mental health after the adoption. Part of the reason for this is that through the open adoption, you can be reassured of your child’s well being. When you can see that your child is thriving, you may feel better equipped to work through your own feelings of guilt and sadness, because you know that you have secured a good life for your child.
Another benefit that open adoption may provide for you as the birth parents is increased peace of mind. Parents who place their child through a closed adoption may spend years wondering about their child’s well being and worrying about how they are doing in life. This kind of uncertainty can make it difficult for them to come to terms with the adoption and to feel confident that they have made the right decision.
Open adoption plays an important role in birth parents support, therefore, by reassuring the birth parents that their child is safe, happy, healthy, and loved in their adoptive home. This peace of mind allows you to feel confident and secure in your decision to place your child for adoption. In addition, because you receive regular updates over the years, you can hear and see how the child is succeeding in life, allaying your worries and questions about their future. It is this peace of mind that may enable you to more successfully manage your grief and come to a place of acceptance regarding the adoption.
If a birth parent feels out of control during the adoption process (for instance, by not being able to choose the adoptive family, or not knowing how the child is doing), the feelings of grief, anxiety, and fear that may accompany placing a child for adoption can be amplified. Open adoption helps to alleviate these fears and support the birth parents by giving them a great degree of control over the adoption process. In an open adoption, you get to choose the couple who will adopt your child. In addition, you may work with the adoptive family to establish the parameters of the open adoption so as to achieve a level of contact that you will enjoy and that the adoptive couple is comfortable allowing.
By being allowed to select and meet your child’s adoptive parents, you have the chance to choose a couple with whom you connect and feel comfortable. Knowing that your child is being adopted by a loving family whom you trust can help to alleviate much of your uncertainty and fear. In addition, by exercising control over the kind of life you give your child, you gain the confidence that comes from knowing you made a wise decision that will benefit your child. The result is a greater sense of assurance than you would have possessed if you had placed your child for a closed adoption without any idea of who the adoptive family was.
Perhaps the greatest benefit provided by open adoption is the opportunity to forge an ongoing relationship with the child you place for adoption. This relationship, while not a parent-child relationship, can be a satisfying one for both you and the child. The child enjoys a way to have all of their questions about their past and their adoption answered. As a result, they experience greater peace and satisfaction regarding their adoption. You have the opportunity to hear about, talk with, and perhaps even spend time with them over the years. As a result, both of your lives are enriched.
Open adoption provides birth parents with a way to positively engage with the adoption process and to manage their emotions after the adoption is finalized. Its positive effects on birth parents, as well as on the adopted children and their adoptive families, is one of the reasons that this type of adoption is becoming increasingly popular today. Choosing this type of adoption for yourself may be one way of successfully navigating a difficult time in your life and reassuring yourself that you are making the best choice for your baby.