With open adoption, birth mother will have some sort of relationship with you and the child. What this also means is that your child will know that they are adopted. This is a departure from days of yore. Years ago it was common for parents to not discuss, or even tell the child about their adoption. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for the parents not to tell friends and family that they were adopting. Babies were placed with families based on how much they looked like the adoptive parents.
Parents had their reasons. They thought the child wouldn’t understand, social pressures, etc. It could have been to avoid the awkwardness of some things. You may remember some activities that you did in school that would have a whole different meaning if you were adopted. In biology, you probably did an activity where figured out things that came from your parents’ genes like your hair color or if you can roll your tongue. In elementary school, you might have made a family tree. Where would you put your parents, and where would you put your birth mother?
Adoption has been around for a long time, and the benefit to us is the amount of research available. The research says that it is better to know the whole time rather than learning later in life. Honesty is the best policy. If you think about it, this makes sense. There can be a lot of anger and a loss of identity for the child. It would hard to find out that your parents lied to you. We plan on being up front with our child. Our child will know they are adopted, and will hopefully embrace it.
Like many parents, we plan on filling in a baby book. The baby book is good for documenting the first years of the child’s life, and a good tool for talking with your child about their adoption. If you read this blog, you know that the next sentence isn’t going to be “We went to Babies R’ Us and found one that worked perfectly!”. No, it is a little bit tricky. There are sections in the book about when we discovered we were pregnant, the place for the ultrasounds, and that darn family tree. I mean really, its 2011, isn’t it kind of difficult to hard code a tree anymore? Half-siblings, extra grandparents from divorces, single parents, same-sex couples and adoptive parents? Shouldn’t they be more flexible? (Wait…make that another patent pending along with my clock mirror)
Unlike other trips in search of something, we did find a baby book that will work for us there. A little editing on our part will have to happen, but it will be fine. Hopefully we get to share in some of the things most parents do, such as bringing home the hospital wristband. We want to get a picture of birth mom holding the child for the book. That will show that she cared for the child. After all, she did care for them for the first 9 months of their existence, which is pretty cool.
So, what to do with the family tree? We actually learned a very neat way to incorporate us and birth parents into the tree. The birth parents are the roots of the tree and our family is the branches. How neat is that!