From their own experiences, Sandee and Aaron Mitchell knew that openness was vitally important for all their family, especially their son.
Being an adoptive mom isn’t the only adoption connection in Sandee Mitchell’s life. In fact, adoption weaves itself right through her past and present.
When we say that children waiting to be adopted have "no family" it's rarely true. Most have family--we just haven't looked hard enough.
In the adoption world, we often state that children waiting to be adopted have “no family” and, therefore, need a new one.
An adoption reunion can answer many questions. It can also change an adoptee's life in unexpected ways.
When she packed her birth certificate, some cherished photographs, and set off, Sevdin MacDonald hoped they might provide valuable clues that would lead to her lost family in Romania.
A mom discovers that her child's birth sister has no idea that they are siblings--now what does she do?
My daughter Lucy is the second child in her biological family. Her older sister Kate was adopted at birth by a very loving couple. When they were asked if they would adopt Lucy, Kate was already 9-years-old and was the oldest of four children. Though I’m sure the decision was difficult, ultimately Kate’s parents were not in a position to parent Lucy. As fate would have it, the next call came to us and Lucy became our daughter.
Openness doesn't always go smoothly--especially when a child was appreehended because of abuse or neglect.
Openness between the birth and adoptive parents of children who were in foster care because of neglect or abuse has become the norm. This sort of openness relationship can be very different to that between adoptive parents and healthy birth parents who made adoption plans for their children.
When Chelsea was adopted, her young birthmom gave a letter, photo, bracelet, and blanket to her daughter. At first, her adoptive parents sent letters and photos via their social worker. Then each family moved and contact was lost—until now.
When I was a little girl, I used to love to jump out of the car when my dad stopped by the mailbox because I wanted to see if I got anything. Eventually the excitement wore off because I rarely did, but it was still my job to check the mail.
Sugarcoating adoption can backfire. Be honest but positive with your kids about adoption, birth parents, and history.
As adoptive parents, we often try to protect our children from the painful aspects of their histories. We wonder what to tell and what to hold back from our kids. According to the Child Information Gateway, parents need to, “Resist the temptation to make up information or to put a better spin on the truth.” We need to “Highlight the positive without denying reality.“
A guide that covers the basics of openness and adoption for birth parents.
Birth parents matter
Sometimes you might not feel like it, but you are important to your child. Even if you are not parenting your child, it doesn’t mean you can’t play an important role—you can. Kids usually want to know where they came from and who gave them their special characteristics. Your contact with your child will also let your child know that he or she wasn’t “given away” or “abandoned,” assumptions adopted children often make if they don’t know any better.
Cyberspace offers the adoption community both opportunities and risks--we need to prepare for both.
Growing numbers of adoptive parents and adoptees use social networking to talk, to meet, to share, to find, and to learn.
Thanks to social networking we are now all potential publishers—we can tell our stories, we can rant, we can chronicle, we can learn. Not only is our potential audience massive, what we write can be widely shared and distributed by anyone who reads it. Therein lies the wonder and the worry around sharing our stories online.