The newest Open Adoption Roundtable Prompt poses the question:
“Why did you choose open adoption?”
Which made me, if you’ve read my blog, seven shades of twitch. Because, when it comes this subject, twitchy is a shade.
I didn’t choose open adoption. In fact, the further in to my supposed open adoption I get, the more I realize that “Open Adoption” was dangled in my face, as a golden carrot. Since I was young, and no one else was asking the future questions that I am now, I assumed, open meant open. And it doesn’t in adoption.
While I signed up for an open adoption, I live a semi-open adoption, and would actually clarify it as more of a closed adoption. The Kiddo’s parents have access to me, and I have access to them, via certain internet sites. But that’s where it stops. I have no access to The Kiddo, nor him to me. I do trust, as they say, that they have told him about me, but I have no idea to what extent or when the discussion ends.
So, open adoption, by industry definition, but there is hardly anything open about this adoption.
I was told what it would look like, pictures or nothing. I assumed that there was no other way, and since no one told me it could be beautifully different, I assumed the lesser of the two evils. Given the way things are right now, if I had the foresight to know that it would end up like this, I would have sent The Kiddo’s parents packing. If I would have known that the last time I would touch him would be when he was two? I would have told everyone where to go, and ran away. If I had known that the agency wasn’t fully disclosing how legal the openness agreement truly was, I may have kicked up a fight and found a lawyer- maybe. Maybe I would have looked into parenting, if I had known how the rules of “openness” could be determined by everyone else but me. If I had know I could ask for more and actually get it, I would have dug until I found the family who wanted to give me what I wished for.
If I had known almost ten years out, that I would have no place in his life, no role, no existence, no relationship, I would have not chosen open adoption.
But this is about WHY we picked open adoption:
I didn’t. There was no other option for me. Adoption was the only choice I was given, and since I had desperately wished to parent in some form, open adoption was marketed as the hands free, miraculous way of getting what I wanted. I’d see him, yay! I’d know what was going on in his life, yay! I would maybe occasionally get visits, though that was rare, yay! He would know about me, yay!
Technically, when it boils down to it, I signed the paperwork to make this adoption “open”. I even spoke of being respectful to The Kiddo’s parents and doing everything I could to make sure I was not “one of those birthmothers” (what does that even mean?). I signed that paperwork because I was told parenting was not an option.
I chose open adoption out of sheer necessity. Out of hope that one day I would have a relationship with my son, like the birthmother who spoke to me did. I did it with the idea that open adoption was this perfect answer to my unplanned pregnancy.
That isn’t a choice, nor does it indicate any real choosing. It was all I was offered, and even then, it was the ultimate minimum.
If I am being brutally honest, I would never choose this again, especially on the terms in which my adoption is focused.