A huge trend has sprung up on social media in the last few weeks as women and men have photographed themselves holding poster board signs. These signs are covered in the only details they have of their first family; their biological family.
My heart aches for these adult adoptees who long so much to know where they came from and who loved them for the short time that is missing from their personal histories. Back when many of these people were placed the arms of their adoptive families, open adoption was unheard of. At best, they had some details and direction if they wanted to start looking when they were older. Until then, they were left to wonder.
To be honest, open adoption scared the heck out of us at first, but I think that was because we didn’t understand it.
Before I knew better, I thought of that level of involvement from a biological parent as some sort of competition that I would ultimately lose because I wasn’t as cool as the other mom in my child’s life. I also worried that it might be a way to keep our family under a microscope to see if we would make a bad decision so they take the baby away.
That was all wrong. Very wrong. After tons of reading and hearing from people that have lived with open adoption, we have discovered how truly remarkable it is.
The biggest lesson I learned is that it isn’t about me. It’s about the child. It’s ALL about the child. There are so many questions that our child will have about who they are and what their story is. There will be medical histories that they need to complete. They have emotions to be able to come to terms with surrounding their adoption. They need to know that they were loved, not unwanted.
It’s true that they can get all that information second hand or from a form, but that isn’t going to fill the hole in my child’s heart. That connection they will feel to their first family is real, and they deserve to develop that relationship. There may have to be boundaries, depending on the circumstance in order to keep it a healthy relationship. Still, it’s important to me to facilitate that relationship.
As wonderful as it is that we have social media to connect, but it would break my heart to watch my child fit the only facts they have about their biological family on a poster board.
How amazing would it be to have enough ideas to fill volumes? Stories and moments that could give them that foundation and springboard them into their identity. Between their biological family and adoptive family, our child would have a complete picture of what has shaped them, allowing them to embrace it or learn from it.
I have nothing but admiration for these brave men and women that are looking for answers. I’m hoping that as adoption evolves that we will have more answers than unanswered questions for these adoptees and more love to replace the confusion they might feel. I’m going to do my part in our family by welcoming open adoption into our lives and helping to develop these relationships.
Love can only be multiplied. When there are more people in the world loving my child, it’s important that my child know and feel that love.
With love, the ever hopeful prospective adoptive momma,
P.S. Check out these folks looking for their birth parents and help them on their journey by liking and sharing their photos!
Big portions of this came from our answer to Cynthia from Q&A Tuesday. Thank you for the great question!