Tag Archives: foster child

The Benefits of Open Adoption

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“When you honor the birth family, you honor the child.” ~Sherry Eldridge

Alright, so now you have the blog that explains open adoption (Open Adoption 101), the blog about my feelings toward it (Open Adoption, Closed Heart), and now, you’ve reached the last installment in this series, which speaks about the positives of being involved in an adoption that’s open.  If you haven’t read either of those, I’d advise you to at least read this first one if you’re not familiar with the concept.  So it’s time to get your notebooks and pens out again class.  Let’s discuss the benefits of an open adoption….

Those who are new to the adoption process, or those on the outside watching a family member or friend go through it, are often shocked to find out about the concept of open adoption.  Once they find out what it is, their next question is usually, why would anyone want to do that???  Well read on…..

Believe it or not, open adoption is beneficial for all three parties of the adoption triad; the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the child.  Ultimately though, the huge developmental and emotional benefits it holds for the child are most important.

Identity & Self-Esteem

Imagine looking in a mirror and not having a clue who you look like, or where any of features came from.  How lost and disconnected would you feel?

Connection to their birth family gives a child a sense of identity and where they came from.  It helps to give them a with better self-esteem,  and knowledge of who they are.  Identity can be a particularly challenging time for teens as they’re discovering the world, and their place in it.  Couple that with being adopted and having limited or no connection to your birth family altogether, and it can become terribly painful, to the point it can have lasting effects into adulthood..

Children who have connections to birth parents or extended family know why they entered adoption, as opposed to it being left up to their imagination.  Unknowns left to a child’s imagination, can become wildly off course. They start thinking their birth mother didn’t want them. Or it was their fault; they were an awful child (cried too much, behaved badly, wouldn’t listen), and their parent couldn’t possibly love them.  Or they were so bad that people came and ripped them away from their family because of it.   If they know and have positive relationships with other members of their birth family, they can see this was not the case.

Now some people would argue this point, by questioning scenarios of foster children who were severely abused or neglected.  If your child was not old enough to remember the abuse, why would you want to make them aware of it?  And why would you want them in touch with someone that abused them?

Children should be aware of what their history entails, even if it’s negative.  To lie and put a positive spin on their history is of no benefit.  Establishing trust is one of the biggest challenges for adoptive parents and their children. Especially foster children who may have been moved from foster home to foster home before being adopted.  So if  the child looks into their adoption when they are older, and finds their a/parent lied to them, it could potentially destroy the relationship. It’s better for the child, to reveal honest, age appropriate information to them as they grow.  When the information is revealed, it’s important to impress upon them that it was not their fault, and that their parent made a bad decision.  For example, tell the child that no matter how much a baby cries, and how frustrated a parent can get, it’s never okay for them to hit their baby.  That was a bad decision.  It’s also important never to tell the child their parent was a bad person, or the child may feel as though they might be bad too because they are born from their birth parents.   Bad choices don’t make a person bad.

In most cases, if the child is severely abused, the parent will not have the right to see them, as it’s obviously detrimental to the child.  However, that doesn’t mean that there might not be a healthy relationship with another member of the birth family.  Having other birth members in contact, will reinforce that they are lovable and were not deserving of what happened to them in the past.

Security

Children who do not have an open relationship with their birth parents, may choose later on to make contact with them.  This can pose another challenge because they may feel afraid of hurting their adoptive parents and/or be afraid of rejection from their birth parents.  Lack of contact doesn’t just occur with closed adoptions.  Unfortunately, in open adoptions, there is are a lot of children who initially had contact with their birth parents, but over time their birth parents withdraw and they lose contact.  In these instances, it is extremely important, that even if there is no longer a response to phone calls, emails, or letters, that you continue to maintain contact.  It will make them feel more secure in searching for their birth parents if the desire arises.  They won’t fear hurting or disappointing their adopted parents because they know they support them in being connected to their history.  It also gives them the security of a safe place to come back to in order to process their feelings about the connection that does develop, or their feelings of rejection if it doesn’t.

Medical History

A child’s birth family can supply very important information on a child’s medical background.  They can supply missing links that may not otherwise be known if the only information an adoptive family has was given at the time of birth.  Medical conditions that develop in the birth family may could develop over time, and may not exist at the time the child was born.  An ongoing relationship could be very beneficial in a quicker diagnosis and treatment of medical issues an adoptive child may encounter later in life.

Love

This one is probably the most obvious, but can still be overlooked by those who reject the idea of open adoption.  Love is an important and integral part of raising a happy and well adjusted child.  So why would anyone reject expanding the circle of love that embraces their child?  Two families means twice the love, and twice the support, which can only be a positive thing.  An adoptive parent can’t be naive enough to think that their love is a cure all for the painful adjustments adoptive children face, but it is definitely one of the most important building blocks.  So if love can be multiplied, a child has a good foundation to flourish.

So those are the cornerstone benefits of open adoption for an adoptee.  This is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are benefits for all members of the triad, but ultimately, it is the child’s benefit that is most important.

Despite the benefit, it won’t necessarily be easy.  You don’t have to like open adoption, you just have to be accepting of it.  Like it or not, birth parents are a part of your child’s life, whether you have an open or closed adoption for that matter. Your child’s life doesn’t start the day you adopt them.  Like any other child, an adoptee needs to feel unconditional love, support and acceptance.  That means accepting the whole child; past and all.  Hell, we all come with baggage.  If you have a past, you have baggage.  It might be a regular suitcase, a trunk, or if you’re lucky, just a  carry on.  But it’s there, with your ID tag is attached to it.  Whatever the size, it’s always lighter, the more hands that are there to help carry the load.

“This was what love meant after all: sacrifice and selflessness. It did not mean hearts and flowers and a happy ending, but the knowledge that another’s well-being is more important than one’s own.”

                                                                       ~Melissa de la Cruz, from Lost in Time

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An Award For Little Ol’ Me???? Aw shucks!

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Wow, I totally wasn’t expecting this….I don’t even have a speech prepared….(fumbles in pockets as if searching for something but comes out empty handed)….well, to start off, I’d like to thank the academy, my infertility for leading me down the path to adoption….uh, my husband who’s always been so supportive….who else?  My friends and family, my followers…. (blushes and giggles)….I’m just so surprised!

Okay, okay, I’ll cut the theatrics.  But I do have to send out a HUGE thank you to Stephanie at Peacock in a Robin’s Nest for the award.  I really am flattered that at such an early start point in my blogging life, someone took the time to acknowledge, follow,  and hand me a kudos for what I’ve done so far.  At times you wonder when you’re blogging if your words are really blog worthy, and to be honest, It as I’ve said before, I really want to share my experiences with infertility and adoption as we go through this process in the hopes that it helps someone else.  So I’m out of the darkness of  lurkdom, and here I am.

Thank you Stephanie.  Thank you for giving this newbie a boost by letting me know that someone out there is reading me without having the obligation of doing so because they’re family or friends.

Okay, so as a part of accepting this award, I have to list seven interesting facts about me, and a list of some of the blogs I follow.  Well, I don’t know that these are interesting facts, but they’re facts, and they’re about me, so that will have to do. Lol.

1.  I LOVE and collect pigs and have done so for years.  Not live ones, but decorative ones. Well I love both kinds, but only collect the decorative ones. 😉   But I want a miniature pig soooo badly.  Actually, I’d take a big pig too, if we had room for one….or two….

2.  I had to have the toenail on my left big toe removed when I was in highschool, and I hate it.  (Totally ruins open toed shoes and sandals.)  My cat Sadie, for some reason, is obsessed with it.  My husband “lovingly” refers to it my as my dead toe, and never fails to warn Sadie to not lick it, telling her that her tongue will fall off.  Sadie has yet to heed his warnings and continues to take her chances.  At least someone loves me and my dead toe.  Hmph!

3.  Baby corn scares me.  Yes, I literally mean it scares me.  Don’t ask me why because I really can’t tell you other than to say I find it creepy.  I can barely look at it, unless it’s in my stirfry and I need to make sure I get them all out before eating any!  Eek!  If I ever was on the reality show Fear Factor, and they told I would have to lie in a box while they dumped baby corn all over me,  that might be the thing that would make me walk away from the $50 000 prize.  That and tarantulas.  Seriously.

4.  Since I can remember, I always wanted to be a teacher.  I even entered a program that allowed me to be a teacher’s aide while I was in University.  But I stupidly chose not to go through for one, so now I am a Federal Government employee, who kicks myself everytime I think of how I should have got my BA in Education.  *kicks herself again*  Ouch!

5.  I don’t follow astrology at all, but I’m a Gemini.  And I must say that about the only part of astrology that I believe in, is when you read how Gemini’s get bored easily and are constantly going from one thing to another to prevent said boredom.  I totally see this in myself when it comes to crafting.  I am a craft whore have a love of crafting, and have gone from one form to another, to another over the years.  Luckily we live in a pretty small condo, so I can’t really take up any new crafts.  If I did, I would have to get rid of the jewelry,  scrapbooking, knitting and crocheting supplies that are currently everywhere in our house.  And I couldn’t do that!  The only good thing about my going from one to another, is that I will go back to something after a while.  I just need variety is all.

6.  I have always had exceptionally vivid dreams. Sometimes to the point that sometimes I’m not sure if I’m awake or sleeping because I can taste, smell, and physically feel what is happening.  Sometimes they continue well after I’ve woken up.

I also have very lucid dreams.  Lucid dreamers as well as being aware that they’re dreaming, can at times have some degree of control over how they participate in the dream, and/or manipulate their experience within the dream.  I never seem to experience too much control, which is unfortunate because the majority of the dreams I tend to have are very violent and graphic.   I can sometimes avoid entering a building, or room, where I know something bad is about to happen, but I usually end up still meeting a violent end somewhere else.  And when the psychotic weapon wielding man finally gets a hold of me, it’s as if it’s actually happening.  Which is when the “It’s okay, relax!  You’re not actually being murdered, you’re just dreaming…  Or am I?” bit comes in.

Oddly though I very seldom wake hubby with crying, yelling or by physically attacking him.  Now if only I could teach him my dream ninja technique so that I was wasn’t waking to a full on assault, or waking disoriented wondering how this little screaming girl got into bed beside me, yet again.

7.  Further to interesting fact #5, I am a craft supply hoarder.  Not that you’re going to see me starring on an episode of “Hoarders” anytime soon or anything.  I hoard within reason (translation: my hoarding is kept in control because of my income and small condo, as mentioned above.)  But if I was rich, I’m sure my collection would put Martha Stewart to shame.  My problem is, that if I see something I love, I will buy it, but then I don’t want to use it because I sell or gift everything I make, and I can’t part with it because it’s too beautiful.  Or I need to find just the right design to showcase the pieces I’m using, and oddly enough, that never happens.  So the easy fix would be to make pieces for myself, right?  Yes, that would be the logical solution, but I don’t do that either because I’m too busy making crafts to sell or give to others.  It’s a vicious, vicious circle, and I am but a magpie in a world of pretty, shiny, things.  (Yes I think magpie sounds much nicer than whore.)

I’m a little new to this whole blogging thing (yes I know it’s 2012), and admittedly, I haven’t been an official follower of any blogs until now.  Meaning, I would just log in to check on these blogs rather than click the follow link.  So for some of you may have received this award the day I started following, but know that I have been checking in with you on a regular basis long before that.  Anyhow, here we go with the blogs I follow:

1.    Peacock in a Robin’s Nest  First off, I just want to say that this is not a token I’m-following-their-blog-because-they-follow-mine, following.  I did check hers out after she became a follower of mine, but I had to follow for a number of reasons, I loved the name of her blog, she is funny and down to earth, and has an amazing story; she’s a bio mom, adoptee, birth mother, and a surrogate mother for her best friend.  What’s not to follow???

2.    Foster Adoption- A Journey To Happily Ever After   A mom to bio kids who was fostering to adopt a brother and sister, but the adoption of the brother (due to reasons of family safety), was interrupted.  They are still heavily involved in his life and advocating for him as he stays at a residential care facility.  Her dedication to both her Foster children, is amazing and wonderful.

3.    Foster Parenting Adventures  Bio and Foster Mom and Clinical Psychologist working at school with inner city kids who have been kicked out of public schools.  Oodles of stories that are both heartbreaking and eye opening, and important to read.  Whether she`s talking about being a Foster parent or her kids at school, she is a very captivating read.

4.   I Was a Foster Kid  A heart wrenching, but definite must read about life from a former Foster Care child’s perspective.  She was never adopted, and was failed miserably by the system.  She is brutally honest and doesn’t even remotely sugar coat anything, which can make it painful to read, but her message is so important.   More kids in Foster Care need homes and need them now.  Throughout her entries she has some great tips for Foster and adoptive parents based on her personal experiences.

5.   Love Like Crazy  An adoptive mom who together with her husband has adopted a beautiful little girl via private adoption.  The difference to their story is that they actively searched for their birth mom.  Just love reading her blog.  Which makes me look really forward to reading the new book that’s coming out that she’s co-authoring called Undeniable Love: Heartfelt Adoption Stories

6.   Fosterhood   Super well written and funny, this single Foster mom is a great blogger.  I just found this blog and I haven’t read it in it’s entirety yet, but what I have, I’ve really enjoyed reading.  She is under 35, a cognitive psychologist, and has been a Foster Mom to three children.  She currently is not taking on any more Foster children because she is dedicated to remaining in the lives of the three Foster children she’s already had.  Awesome.