For much of the past 100 years, adoptions have been kept secret. The original thinking behind this practice was the belief that children should be protected from the “stigma of illegitimacy.” Historically, most adopted children did not know their birth parents and often were not even told that they were adopted.
Some were never told. It was commonly believed that a lack of openness would make it easier for the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the children to adapt. The sense of secrecy, however, left many children and youth, as well as their birth families, with unanswered questions and an inability to resolve feelings of grief & loss. It also left young people without access to valuable information about their identity, heritage, genetic background and medical history. Information that is particularly important during adolescence when identity formation critical.
One of the core values of our agency is openness within the adoption constellation. When we are all focused on building positive relationships . . . openness is a natural outcome. Please click the link below to find a great article from the Child Welfare Information Gateway on Openness in Adoption.
Did you know there are approximately 7 million adopted children and adults in the United States today? And if you include the numbers of birth parents, adoptive parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles . . . there are tons of people that are touched by adoption every day. And the majority of adoptions today have some level of openness that can range anywhere from the exchange of information/photos, to phone calls and/or on-going visits. It’s not often that we get to hear from children directly about what the experience of open adoption is like for them. Check out this clip from adorable Rylee, a bright young girl who is willing to share her experiences of open adoption.
The recent film Philomena tells the story of Philomena Lee, who as a teenager in Ireland, was banished to a convent for the ‘sin’ of having a baby out of wedlock and was forced to give him up. The film is based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith which tells the story of Philomena’s 50 year search to find her son. The story is a reminder of what is most important in the ethical practice of adoption . . . birth parents voice and choice must always be front and center in the decision making. This book and film have helped to increase awareness about the need to continue to improve adoption practices world wide. And while Philomena’s story is filled with heartache, betrayal and loss . . . it is also filled with resilience, forgiveness and love. Check out the clip below of Philomena, who recently stated ‘For years, I couldn’t talk about my life to anybody . . . and now, it is all anyone wants to talk about’.
A Letter to My Son’s Birth Mother was written by an adoptive mother who had so much that she wanted to share with the ‘first mother’ of her beautiful son. Sadly, she believes she will never have the opportunity to meet her and share her thoughts and feelings in person since her son was adopted from an orphanage overseas. In the letter she shares that as her sons second birthday approached she couldn’t help thinking about his ‘first mother’ and what she would be experiencing. She states ‘On Saturday when we light the candles on his cake, we’ll light one for you, too, sending up a prayer as we blow it out and send the smoke sailing across the seas. I hope with everything in me that you hear it when the wind whispers past bringing my good wishes and a gratitude so huge that I feel like I could collapse under the weight of the joy it brings. I hope the wind carries away some of your grief and leaves you a bit of peace’.
To learn more about this story from the series Portrait of An Adoption hosted by the Huffington Post, check out the link below:
Did you know that Al Roker, of the Today Show, is an adoptive father? He commented Monday on TODAY as the show kicked off a week-long series of reports marking National Adoption Month, that 26 years ago, when he and his wife were adopting, there wasn’t much said about openness in adoption. “When I adopted my daughter 26 years ago, the thought of being connected to her birth mother never crossed our minds,” he said.
But things have changed, and we know much more now about the importance of keeping connections. The largest national study in the field to date, the National Survey of Adoptive Parents conducted in 2007-2008, involved telephone surveys with the parents of 2,089 adopted children; over two-thirds – 68 percent — of the parents in private domestic adoptions reported post-adoption contact between children and their birth family members.
Check out this video clip from the Today Show this week where we get to meet two moms who have forged a very special relationship. “The first time we met, it was terribly emotional,” Keane recalled. “Liane asked the question: ‘Why do you want an open adoption?’ And she looked at me, straight in the face, and said, ‘I want to be able to tell him later that I loved him.’”
Open Adoption keeps birth mom in the family tree
‘Teen Mom’ Reality TV stars Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra made a difficult, emotional decision to place their child for adoption four years ago. Catelynn and Tyler are now engaged to be married and agreed to make the difficult decision to place their child for adoption because neither felt ready four years ago to be full time parents. They explored their options, made an adoption plan and chose a family to adopt their little girl. It was important to both of them that they have ongoing contact with their child so they chose parents who were willing to create an open adoption. Both are now strong advocates of open adoption and recently spoke at an event at Fresno State. To learn more about their story and hear directly from Catelynn and Tyler . . . check out the link below.
‘Teen Mom’ Stars Catelynn & Tyler Talk Pregnancy & Adoption
It is so rare that we honestly hear from birth fathers about their experience of placing a child for adoption…I have been privileged to meet many wonderful men through the years who have come forward to plan for their child’s future by making an adoption plan. But sadly, this is not always the case and many fathers are not involved in the adoption planning for their child. Historically, many birth fathers were shut out of the process or felt they had no choice or say in the adoption planning of their child…It was refreshing to find this YouTube video of Andrew Ward, a writer and birth father, speaking about his life long journey of making sense of the adoption of his infant son…He speaks candidly and clearly dispels the myth about birth fathers not caring about their child placed for adoption…click the link below to hear Andrew’s story
A Birth Father’s Tale
I found this step by step guidebook to help a woman confronted with an unplanned pregnancy explore feelings and options…the information is straight forward and every option is explored…this is a great starting point and may help to bring clarity and answers to what may seem to be an overwhelming and scary situation…click below to link to a free down load of this workbook that may help to clear the confusion and fear you are experiencing regarding your pregnancy…the step by step process outlined in the workbook will help you explore your various options and choices . . . Kinship Center is a private non profit child welfare agency dedicated to helping women explore their options in a caring and non judgemental atmosphere . . . call to speak to one of our experienced counselors… toll free 1888 466 6693…could your heart be open to adoption…view available adoptive parent photos and biographies at… http://www.pregnantwhatdoido.com/parent-profiles/ …..also be sure to download the pregnancy options workbook on the link below
Pregnancy Options Workbook
- 6.5 year-old happy boy, in the zone. His awesome fishing skills come from ALL sides of his family.
One of the beliefs that we have here at Kinship Center is that no two Adoptions are ever the same. Every single adoption has its own set of unique challenges, joys, opportunities, crisis and triumphs. This is especially true in open adoptions where relationships are evolving over time and the losses experienced by both the birth mother and birth father are profound. It is often this core grief and loss that needs to be understood and acknowledged so relationship building can thrive. For an honest discussion between an adoptive mother and a birth mother (first mother) please check out the link below. What you will read is a wonderful story about two mothers who continue to work hard to do what is best for their son.
An Honest Discussion About Adoption Between My Son’s Birth Mother and Me
“I was 21 and became pregnant”, Toy Dupree, now age 66, shares that her journey to adoption began while she was in college, dating a fellow student. She states that neither she nor the baby’s father felt capable of supporting a child at that time. Toy says that the idea of adoption just felt right to her since she herself was adopted. What she wasn’t prepared for was the on-going grief and loss that she would feel. Toy reached out and joined a birthmothers support group and found a therapist that assisted her in dealing proactively with her grief and loss. What she experienced from others was more compassion than she could have imagined. This led her to want to search for her son so at least he would have the opportunity to know the full story and share a connection . . . if that is what he wanted.
To learn more about Toy’s unique adoption story please check out the link below.
Lost and Found: A Birthmother’s Secret Son