Adoption Terms Closed, Semi-Open, Open. These terms can be daunting. I’m not sure about the other adoptive mamas out there, but when we first embarked on the adoption journey…these terms were never tossed around.
After 8 years of being in the adoption world, I am very familiar with each of these things, and I stop and look at what they each mean to my family.
In an ideal world, my kids would have been parented by their biological parents. My two children’s biological mother would have had a great support system, who would teach her how to parent correctly. My Ethiopian son’s biological mother would’ve been taught basic hygiene, basic first aid, how to garden, how to manage money, and how to live, successfully, in the country that she loves.
We live in a fallen world. We all have a choice…whether good or bad. The reality is, when bad choices are made, there are natural consequences that will occur. For my two kids…their lives were riddled with all sorts of negative things. It has changed their lives and shaped who they are and their thought processes. My Ethiopian son had medical issues that could not have been avoided. A death occurred, and unforeseen issues came to the surface.
The Lord saw fit for us to bring these three children into our home and into our family. It has not always been easy. In my earlier (more stupid) years, I was OVERLY protective and the thought of biological family issues flooding my life or my children’s lives… simply was not welcome. I wanted nothing to do with their biological mother or extended family. Sadly, I was angry, and my mama bear instincts were to protect these kids who had been hurt so bad. We decided to have a closed adoption. I wanted no contact, no pictures, no discussions. Nothing.
With my son, from ET, I yearned for open adoption. I knew things, I have a heart for his sweet mama and his brothers and sisters. Open adoption is not possible due to laws (ET and American) and the fact that an ocean separates us. This sweet family lives deep in the jungle. I have no way of getting them anything. So we hang pictures, we talk about them, we watch videos. I want my son to know that she loved him so deeply that she gave him life twice.
As I have matured, Jesus has worked on my heart. I have found my son’s siblings. Also, I have met his sister and spoken with one of his brothers on the phone. I have yet to talk with his younger brother and really don’t expect to. Amazingly, I counsel with, encourage, pray over and with these young adults and their younger brother. They have sent pictures. I’ve written down stories they have shared. I have a medical history and birth history. I am paving the path for a relationship between my son and his biological siblings.
For my daughter, I have found her only biological sister. I’ve been speaking to her for a few months. There have been things I have learned, but not much. I do have pictures and a little medical history, so that is good. She is not as open to talking to me as my son’s biological siblings. That is okay, it will happen, in time. If it doesn’t, I’ve still had the blessing of finding her. Also, I have had the opportunity to counsel her and pray. Again, the path is being paved.
As for my son’s father….we will never ever have any contact with him. I do have a few pictures, but it is a safety issue. My children’s safety is not worth trying to contact this man. At least I know where he is located. Sadly, I really do not want to know anymore.
Their mother, I have not been in contact with. I have a heart for her, though it is a guarded heart. I give her pictures, she calls, I have been to her apartment, I’ve met her new fiance’. I’ve counseled with, yelled at, been yelled at, hugged, loved, cried with this woman. I am also in contact with their grandmother and aunt.
I would say that I have a semi-open adoption with two of my kids’ birth family (except for the unsafe father and the father that wants nothing to do with any of us). People question me, a lot, about why I make an effort. Why do I search? Why do I contact you? What is wrong with me?
My answer is simple. I can never change who my children’s biological family is. I can’t take that biology away from them. When they turn 18, they will want to meet them and possibly have a relationship with them. I won’t be able to stop. So instead of fighting, dreading, or letting fear control me…I embrace it, prepare for it, and I smooth over the uglies. Finally, I tell my kids that they were loved in the only way they knew to love. Do they know the bad stuff? Yes. I am a firm believer that every child deserves to know his or her story by the time they are 12. That was one sucky conversation. I also tell them the good stuff…it may be small…but it is still there.
Why fight something that is inevitable? It isn’t worth it. I’d rather Jesus guide my path in the search so I can present all the information to my children when the time comes.
With any future adoptions…I will still choose semi adoption or open adoption. One day, I would love to be chosen by a birth mom. To be able to allow her to be in their child’s life, in a controlled, safe environment. I would love for grandparents to be grandparents if that is an option. Aunts and uncles to still be aunts and uncles. I will say when red flags occur…changes could be made. Safety is a number one priority.
I may be done with adopting kids…if so….then thankful for the ones I have.