My oldest daughter stumbled across a short film that tells a touching and beautiful story of an open adoption. It drew us in from the first moment, not just because it was eighteen minutes of excellent film making, but because it reminded us of some of our experiences and the emotions we had in our own adoption story.
What is open adoption? About.com defines it as "an adoption that has some degree of contact between the birth/first family and the adoptive family. Contact can range from letters and phone calls to visits."
Simply put, open adoption is a full and legal adoption where the adoptive parents choose to stay connected to and in communication with the child's birth parents. It can take on many forms (and the level of "openness" and connectivity might be different for different adoptions) but it serves to involve the birth mother (and birth father, if appropriate) far more than a traditional adoption.
While it's not ideal in every situation, we think it's a great option for many, as it allows the adoptive family to not only love on a child, but also the birth mother and her extended family. That is what we have enjoyed most in our situation. We have loved teaching Maddie Kate to pray for her birth mother by name. We have enjoyed the opportunities we have had to re-connect with her about once or twice a year.
Perhaps just as important, from the perspective of a pregnant woman who is considering adoption, an open adoption may be a key element that enables her to feel comfortable with letting her baby go to another family. For many young woman, adoption is not a consideration because they can't fathom the possibility of saying goodbye to their baby after nine months of having him or her so close.
These are complicated issues that are far above the scope of this simple blog. Any family considering aoption should seek out wise counsel as they consider all their options for adoption.
All I know is that it is working incredibly well for us. And this video captures the joys and miracles of open adoption quite effectively. It is well worth your time.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/34640687 w=500&h=250]