The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
Write a response at your blog–linking back to this post so your readers can browse other participating blogs–and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is fine; I’d appreciate it if you’d add a link back to the roundtable. If you don’t blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.
Open adoption agreements are the documents signed by placing parents and adopting parents that establish post-adoption contact expectations and boundaries. Discussions often focus on their legal weight (e.g. Are the agreements enforceable in court?) or the practical details (e.g. How many visits?), both very important issues. I thought it might be interesting to also take a more personal look at how they have influenced the relationships in our personal adoption constellations and how our views about them may have changed over time.
Write about open adoption agreements. Is there one in your open adoption? What effect does it have on your relationships? If you could go back in time, would you approach the agreement differently?
The first time I met with the agency social worker of the agency I would eventually find Parkers adoptive parents from I remember being kind of power hungry in the idea that I could control what happened and how it happened, mostly. Although, I don't think I thought about putting it all on paper, just vaguely so, but honestly, I thought that I would choose a couple who would already be willing to at least send a picture or two every year and that would probably be enough.The only 'agreement' that comes to mind is two handwritten (and then photocopied to more than a dozen pages included in the adoption decree) notes that each stated that "We agree to provide contact in the form of updates and photos and occasional visits as long as we believe it to be in the best interest of our child"
Each were signed and written individually, but said the exact same thing. Really though, there would probably be many things that could make them believe that contact wasn't 'in the best interest' that would give them a reason to discontinue the openness I have so far enjoyed. Those notes really don't hold that much weight, but even if they did, they are way to vague to really be taken seriously.
The unwritten agreement holds more weight to me, the agreement that as Christians, they have a duty to be truthful and caring to anyone who is respectful and even those who many not be as desirable company as others.
I think it is their faith that has keep the openness toward me and Jacob.
Although, looking back, I often wish I had asked for me, Jacob certainly asked for much more and much more boldly, and he was politely dissuaded to choose more reasonable options.
I guess because his assertions about visiting in every season of the year, weekly updates, not only from the adoptive parents, but from him to them, he just kind of laid it all on a little thick and even though my ideas were more reasonable, they weren't any less ambitious. Instead I talked about other things, about school life and such and what I hoped for, hoping of course that they would take these hints as direction.
Well now, 6 years later, much of what I hoped for HAS happened for Parker, not all though, but it's not a perfect world and I understand that sometimes plans change.
For me, it just felt rude to demand these things, pictures, visits, updates, I wanted Parkers adoptive parents to WANT to update me and Jacob, not HAVE too.
I have worked hard to be friendly to them, and I do like them very very much, but the friendship connection isn't there and that is what would lead to more openness, not a contract. If anything, a contract would be the kind of thing that would kind of ruin the chance of natural friendship. In my opinion at least.
Here's the other Round table discussion I posted