Question: "My wife and I are looking to adopt. We’ve been told that open adoption is the trend these days. Just how open is open? I'm concerned that the birth mother will take over our lives and that our child won’t know who his or her birth parents are. I think the closed system is better for children and parents.”
A conversation with Lee Crawford and Brenda McCreight on everyday challenges.
How should adoptive parents approach their child’s birthparents about difficulties they are having with their child?
Brenda: The birth parents and grandparents having some limited, continued contact is very appropriate. But that doesn’t mean [birth parents] have a responsibility or access to what’s going on in your family, and I think that it is really important to not be over-sharing. They’re not entitled to know everything that’s going on.
I don't have any regrets about how my wife, Tina, and I went through the adoption process. But there are three things that would have made a difference if I had known them beforehand.
Firstly, I wish I had known that so many people would give advice and yet have no real understanding of the issues. It seemed that everyone had his or her own ideas and thoughts on our situation. When Tina and I found out I was infertile, we experienced a great deal of emotional pain, and we didn't know who to share our burden with.
As adoptive parents who began our journey with our application to adopt almost 25 years ago, we’ve seen some changes along the way. One of those changes has been regarding the adoption of children of First Nations ancestry into non- First Nations homes.
Our first adoption was a child of First Nations ancestry, and we were given very little information about his birth mother’s community, or even about how to support his culture. Fast forward a few years and his half brother joined us.
How biology and technology provide powerful tools for adoption reunion.
With advances in computer technology and DNA science, it seemed likely that a way would be found for the far-flung children of China to find their birth families. That day seemed far off. However, it has arrived 20 years before I expected it.
To make technology work for you, harness your kids' skills
If someone told me ten years ago that I’d find my birth family online, I would have laughed. Ten years ago, we thought Y2K would spell the end of the internet. I never suspected this information superhighway would become my road to finding my sisters. But here I am, on the edge of my computer chair, on the brink of reunion.
The impact of including grandparents in the adoption (and post-adoption) process.
The impact of open adoption on birth and adoptive families is only beginning to be understood. Recent research explores the perspectives of birth grandmothers who had direct contact with their birth grandchildren. The findings clearly demonstrate some of the benefits and challenges of open adoption, the impact open adoption had on their lives, and how grandmothers see their role in the kinship network.
“I made the decision to give her up because I wasn’t able to take care of her. So when I left the hospital, I told the nurse I wasn’t going to keep the baby.” - Vernita Lee
Patricia Lloyd’s adoption records indicate that her birth mother placed her for adoption because she did not think that she could get off welfare if she kept the child. But after trying for several years to discover the identity of her biological mother, Patricia gave up. It was only at the insistence of her two adult children that she began the search again.
Several studies have documented the persistent, negative effects birthmothers have experienced after placing a child for adoption. Grief may manifest itself in physiological changes, emotions of sorrow, distress or guilt, socially through family and other interpersonal relationships, and maladaptive coping strategies such as substance use and self harm.
In BC, several registeries exist to help connect birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees.