Forty five years ago, I became a big sister. It was one of the happiest moments of my life!
Rather than going to a hospital to visit my new brother, I went with my parents to what I remember as something looking like a courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah. We waited in a wood paneled room with a big conference table. Then, a door opened and in walked a woman with a bundle in her arms. She handed my mother the bundle and we pulled away at the blanket to see the most beautiful baby boy I had ever laid eyes on!
After being an only child for five years, I now had a sibling —- through the miracle of adoption!
I was so excited when we arrived home, I ran through the neighborhood gathering all the neighbor kids and brought them over to see my new brother! I was so excited to have him!
I often think about that wonderful day and all the great times that we’ve had since. He and I have had many interesting adoption discussions. One of which, was about openness. When my brother was in his late teens, he had a real desire to find out more about his biological parents. He and our mom set out to see what they could “dig up”. At the time my brother was born, closed adoptions were the norm. Our parents were given very little information about my brother’s biological parents and their circumstances. There was no personal exchange, no meeting between birth parents and adoptive parents, no gifts, nothing……..
Of course, this leaves a child to wonder…. Who do I look more like? Why did they feel adoption was best for me? Who gave me this horrible eyesight? And my bright blue eyes? My brother had these questions and wanted to know more. So, he and our mom tried and tried every avenue they could think of, but all records were sealed and they couldn’t uncover any new information. This seemed ok with my brother. Going through the process helped him anyway. It also helped all of us realize how great the option of “open adoption” is today.
With open adoption, the child isn’t left to wonder. In most open adoptions that I have seen at A Act of Love Adoption Agency, in Utah, there are pictures and letters exchanged by both parents. I’ve seen wonderful memories made at hospitals at the time of birth, with all parents expressing love to each other and the child. I’ve seen children at older ages meeting again with birthparents for an afternoon at a park. It has been very enlightening to see how open adoption can work.
The best thing about adoption today vs. forty five years ago is that birthparents and adoptive parents have choices. Birthparents can choose what kind of adoption they feel is best for them and their baby. Adoptive families can also choose if that openness situation is right for them, and if it is, they can ask to be considered by the birthparents as the right adoptive family.
Openness continues to change as technology changes. Now,email exchanges and skype calls are occurring more frequently. For more information on adoption openness contact A Act of Love Adoption Agency at www.aactofloveadoptions.com and see the following: