We talk a lot about open adoption from the perspective of the adoptive parents and birth parents, but the real experts are the people at heart of the experience—the adoptees. Adoptees that have grown up in a fully open adoption are just now coming of age. I am extremely interested in hearing their experience with open adoptions.
I love this video, embedded at the bottom of this blog, of teens and young adults raised in a fully open adoption. Here are some excerpts of what they said. Keep in mind that these young people were all adopted through the same agency, which is known for educating and supporting the open adoption process. I happen to believe that education and support on how to be in an open adoption is crucial for its success.
- If I was in a closed adoption I think there would be times I would feel like I don’t belong. …I don’t have to go on this soul-searching journey to find out who my parents are and where I’m from. For me, it’s right there.
- I’m incredible grateful, saying that I’m grateful doesn’t really begin to cover it. My life is amazing and I really owe it to [open adoption].
- Open adoption is like a gate you can pass through when you want to or need to.
- I know my birth mom will be there for me if I need her, and that’s such a comforting thought to know that she cares and why she gave me up and to know the reasoning behind it and to know that it was for me to have a better life.
- Open adoption has made me more open to other types of families and family structures and the way people live.
- I love my birthmom, she’s like a big sister to me. She’s very open with me and it’s comforting to know that not only can I talk to my mom, my adoptive mom, but also my birth mom.
- My birthparents are part of my family and I love them. They are great role models for me and I respect what they’ve done.
- I see my birthmother every few years and she is there for me. She’s caring and very much a role model for me. The few thousand miles between us makes the moments we have together even better.
- It’s been very important to meet my birth parents rather than being pen-pals.
- An in-person meeting is way better—WAY BETTER—than anything you can achieve online. Skype is close, but not as good. Being there in the flesh is meaningful and fun.
- Seeing them in person is like having an old friend come to visit who you haven’t seen in a long time.
- We visit during the year when we can and in the summer I usually fly out and visit my birth family. Sometime my parents come for some of the time and sometimes I spend time with them on my own.
- I Skype my birth dad every couple of weeks, but seeing him in person is so much more impactful for me.
- My parents are completely encouraging of me having as much contact with my birth parents…. We have tons of photos of my birth family all over the house. It’s really nice.
- My mom and dad are always talking about positive things my birth parents do. My birth mom just had a big achievement in her life and my mom wouldn’t stop raving about it. It’s cool seeing how much they support them.
The video is a little long (30 minutes), but well worth your time.
Were you/are you afraid of an open adoption? What are your fears?