Was it Enough?

Question to Parents (or Prospective Parents) in Open Adoptions:

A question was posed the other day by Tao from The Adopted Ones Blog .  How would you describe the training and focus you received from your agency on the notion of “openness”?  “Was it a one-hour class type thing – or a major focus in how it would look and ways to document it?”

If you already adopted your child or children, is the “open” part of open adoption what you expected? What you were told to expect by your agency?  Has anything surprised you?  Has it been better or more difficult than you expected?

We thought about setting this up as a poll, but really we don’t know what parameters to place.  Without hearing from you, we don’t know how good a job the agencies are doing about preparing adoptive parents for open adoptions.


  1. We went through Bethany in our adoption. We were just looking to adopt at the time, with no consideration to the openness. We ha one class that did discuss the pros and cons of open adoption. Our first birth mother was the one who insisted on the open adoption. Our Bethany rep walked both parties through this. We absolutely have no regrets!

    As far as was the openness what we expected, I would say it it so much more. Both birthfamilies love our girls so much. They do not intrude or coach they just want to see these girls happy and be part of the growing up process. On Christmas, holidays and birthdays these families spoil our girls as much as we do. And we invite them to visit when they can so they too can get to know each other and so our girls can put a face to the cards that are sent with the gifts.

    If their is any surprise, it is both the birth grandmothers are the ones that stay in touch. We actually rarely hear from the birth mothers, although we know they send their thoughts as well. I think I understand the separation the the birth mothers need but the loving grandmothers both have become excellent conduits to these families. I know each adoption is different and different circumstances. We feel very lucky to be involved with two great loving families. Bethany set us up great in understanding the expectations of the birthmother. Its one area I enjoy talking about and hope to encourage others to try this route. The more love the better!

  2. We didn’t adopt through an agency either time. We used facilitators. The facilitators offered no support at all, and that included any information about open adoption. We were on our own.

    We used the same home study agency both times. The first time, the education requirements were vague. Pretty much anything we read or watched regarding adoption counted. The second time, they had us take two webinars, one on adoption in general and one on transracial adoption. They were both pretty good, actually, though very basic. I already knew most of what they talked about in the general adoption webinar. I don’t recall anything specific about open adoption in it.

    I think open adoption has been more difficult than I expected. A lot of it is due to the circumstances in which our children’s birthmothers are in (which I don’t generally share to protect their privacy). I’d never close the adoptions, though. It seems to me, and this is just an opinion based on blog reading, group reading, etc., that many adoptive parents close an open adoption when the going gets tough because they don’t know that it’s “normal.” They don’t receive the education and support they need, before or after adoption. So, APs are painted as the bad guys, but it could just be that the APs in question are ignorant. They need help, but don’t know how to get it, or even how to ask.

    • Robyn, what an astute comment. That is what I suspected–that in a lot of cases APs don’t get the help that they need in open adoptions. Thank you so much for weighing in here. Your opinion is so valuable.

  3. In my own placement through Colorado Christian Services in 1991 there was nothing offered for classes or even counseling regarding semi or open adoption. What started out as a semi-open adoption became closed almost immediately, due much in part to fear on the adoptive families side. (Which, after 22 years I understand!) My sister used Bethany Services and had a fully open adoption and it was wonderful … until she couldn’t handle the emotional aspect of it and moved to another state without telling the adoptive family. Again, there wasn’t any post-counseling offered. I am a huge advocate and have tried for years to advocate for co-counseling pre-adoption and in the early years just based on openness and communication. I think it would so highly beneficial for both families to engage in therapy and classes together so that they create a strong foundation together on expectations and issues. I discuss this in my published book, and also in a recent blog post. I loved your post, keep them coming – we need to talk about this much more! Thank you !!!!

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