February 24, 2010

Open Adoption Roundtable #14

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be part of the Open Adoption Bloggers list to participate, or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table.

Publish your response during the next two weeks--linking back here so we can all find one other--and leave a link to your post in the comments. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

For this round Lori of Weebles Wobblog reached back through time to a post I wrote lo these many months ago after spending an afternoon with my daughter's first mom. In it, I wondered aloud if there was a common definition of a successful open adoption. Is it even possible to define, given the myriad factors involved? Here's how Lori poses the question:

If there's one thing we all might agree on, it's that we'd like our open adoptions to be successful. But what does "success" mean to you, when speaking about open adoption? Do you think it may mean something else to the others in your triad?


Adoptive mom Jess of The Problem With Hope says that for her success is all about support.

First mom Katy at Bearclaw Mohawk shares that her primary concern will always be that her son is happy.

Adoptive mom A from A+A Adopt a Baby: "The big answer for A+A is this - our (semi)open adoption, like our parenting, will be a success if we make choices and choose paths that center on what is best for J's development as a whole person."

Adoptive mom  Lavonne at Eyes Wide Open focuses on emotional health and stability for each triad member.

Adoptive mom Lori of Weebles Wobblog takes a stab at answering her own question: "Success requires the parents in an OA to see through the eyes of the others in the triad, and then conducting themselves compassionately."

Adoptive mom and adopted adult Andy at Today's the Day!: "For me, the success of an Open Adoption lies in how well the needs, wants and desires of the adoptee are being met. After all, adoption is supposed to be about them (us), right?"

Social worker SocialWrkr24/7 from Eyes Opened Wider tackles the sensitive topic of openness in foster care adoption, and what success looks like when contact is inappropriate or impossible.

Adoptive mom Meghann at the Adoption.com Open Adoption Blog hopes for a relationship that feels natural, normal and right to everyone involved.

Adoptive mom Mama Bear of offmymind.but from my heart emphasizes the importance of respect and communication.

Pre-adoptive parent Eva of Egg Drop Post writes about her hopes and fears around open adoption, and the differences in her comfort level and that of the partner. "I guess success, then, would achieved once we adopt and are able to navigate all of the murky waters adeptly so that all of the parties involved feel satisfied."

Adoptive mom Robyn at the Adoption.com Domestic Infant Adoption Blog: "I define success in open adoption by how much therapy Jack needs when he’s older. The less he needs, the more successful it’s been."

Adoptive mom Tammy from You Just Never Know Where Hope Might Take Ya distills success down a single goal: to know and be known.

First mom KatjaMichelle from Therapy Is Expensive considers the difference between a successful vs. ideal open adoption.

Adoptive mom Dia at Rancho Chico writes about why it's been so important to her to work toward successful open adoptions after adopting from foster care.

First mom Ginger at Shattered Glass suggests that success isn't found in everything always going smoothly, but in navigating the difficulties with mutual respect.

First mom Thanksgivingmom of I Should Really Be Working talks about always striving to go beyond the bare minimum in an open adoption relationship.

First mom Brown from Coming Clean: Confessions of a Secret Birthmom shares how something as simple as connecting on Facebook made all the difference in their open adoption.

First mom Jenni at Confessions of a Mean Girl Turned Mommy defines success not only in terms of family interactions, but also how she sees herself and her interactions with the rest of the world.

Adoptee Lynne offers a definition of success that is balanced between the adoptee, birth parents and adoptive parents.

Adoptive mom Dawn at This Woman's Work expands the definition of open adoption--and thus the possibility of successful openness--beyond its traditional boundaries.

Adoptive mom Sarah of Standing in the Shadows hopes that openness offers her daughter a means of healing the fissures of adoption.

Adoptee and adoptive mom Kris A. says a successful open adoption offers an adoptee a healthy, loving bond with both her birth and adoptive families.


Jess said...


Elly said...

Jess, that was really well said. I do feel responsible for DS's adoption being successful, while realizing that there are limits to how much I can control it.

Katy said...


Geochick said...

Hi, can't participate since we're still in waiting mode but I wanted to let you know I nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger Award! I'm learning so much from your blog.

Alissabeth said...


here's mine! -A

Lavonne said...

here's my small contribution!


Lori Lavender Luz said...

Restating my thoughts from your original post:

I suppose each triad will each define "success" in open adoption in their own way -- hopefully in conjunction with each other.

For us, it means that we each give the others permission to feel and express our feelings appropriately, even if those feelings aren't pretty. When the adults in the triad do this, we show our children how to do this for themselves -- a valuable life skill.

It means having boundaries set out of love rather than out of fear and/or insecurity. I think the more the parents (either a- or b-) resolve their own adoption issues, the less the child will have to deal with.

I think that one of the biggest gifts I can give my children is an acceptance and appreciation for the life they have, just the way it is.

I think successful open adoptions are handicapped by unethical agencies and professionals. Adoptive parents should know what ethics means to the first families and to the children, and patronize only ethical agencies/professionals.

And I think just knowing it can be done, in spite of the "spookiness" of the idea, is helpful to a-parents starting out.

Success requires the parents in an OA to see through the eyes of the others in the triad, and then conducting themselves compassionately.

Now I'm off to read some of the other entries.

Andy said...

Here's mine:


Rachie317 said...

Mine is up!! http://eyesopenedwider.blogspot.com/2010/02/defining-success-in-adoption-even-from.html

Regina/"Tobeafamily" said...

Hi All, so, I've been around the Adoption blogs forever, some may remember me from a.com and other places. Been other places latey. OA with bfamily going well, hit an unexpected landmine with DS, and could really use some 'chat' with similarly situated/BTDT folks. DS is almost 8, placed voluntarily US adoption. DS has bbro 16 mos younger not placed. Grieving boy - he is an only with a brother who does not live with him. I didn't see this coming...not this hard or deep. Help? :)

Regina AKA Tobeafamily

meghann said...

Here's mine: http://open.adoptionblogs.com/weblogs/open-adoption-roundtable-14—a-measure-of-success

I'm not entirely happy with it but I've been rewriting it for a few days & I don't know that I'm *ever* going to get it out the way it is in my head...

Mama Bear said...

heres mine

Eva said...

Okay, here's my contribution:

Anonymous said...

Very thought provoking question. My response will be up on Monday, March 1 at:

Heather said...

@Regina/tobeafamily - Man, what a tough thing for a kid to be working through. Have you thought about posting your question over at the Community Wisdom section of Open Adoption Support? I know there is more than one family there dealing with similar questions. It could be a good source of advice and support for you.

Tammy said...

Here's mine. http://canonlyimagine.blogspot.com/2010/03/open-adoption-roundtable-secrets-of.html

Looking forward to readin!

Anonymous said...

I wrote one...and if i dont delete it yet again you can find it at

Dia por Dia said...

I have never participated in these before. I definitely plan on coming back and reading more of these! Thanks to SocialWrkr24/7's post I did a post that (I think) touched on this topic. Mine can be found here: http://ranchochico.blogspot.com/2010/03/corazons-mother.html.


Ginger said...


Anonymous said...


Brown =) said...

First ever blog post typed with just one hand while holding sleepy baby :)


JenJo said...


Lynne said...

Success in an open adoption means to me that the adoptive parents feel entitled to be the parents of their child, honor whatever contact agreement they have made with birth parents, speak comfortably and with respect about adoption and birth parents and answer questions honestly that children ask, and respect the relationship between birth parents and the child. For adoptees success means that the adoptee embraces an understanding of herself that incorporates both birth and adoptive family history/traits/strengths/
quirks, etc. and accepts herself for who she is, grieves the loss of birth parents in a healthy way and has a positive and healthy attachment to parents that the parents reciprocate. For birth parents, success means that they grieve their loss in a healthy way, respect the relationship between adoptive parents and the child, accept their child as a part of them and their adoptive parents and are willing to continue to work at developing a healthy relationship with their child.

C. Lynne Edwards, adoptee

Sarah Buttenwieser said...

Moved by the complexity & diversity & thoughtfulness here.

I also chimed in responding to this question on my Standing in the Shadows blog:

Here's the link:


Kris A. said...

I do not have a blog, so I will share some of my thoughts here. I haven't given this deep thought, as I just read the question right now, but would like to share. To me, success in open adoption means... a healthy adoption for the adoptee in which she feels loved by both of her families (that she was always loved, is loved, and always will be loved by them). It is viewing adoption in an inclusive sense, that an adoptee is a part of two families and they are both a part of her. That she has a bond with both families and feels comfortable with both of them, and that she is understood in having a bond with both, and doesn't have to feel uncomfortable about it with the other family. And that both families honor the other's role and value in their child's life, realizing and cherishing that they each are important to their child and because of that they can share attending special events together.

Having a healthy open adoption in this way takes strength and sacrifice on the part of both the birth family and adoptive family (because neither is the only family the child has), but I think will be a special gift to their child, whom they both love.

Kris A.
(Adoptee & Adoptive Mom
in an Open Adoption)

Anonymous said...

Aprendi mucho

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