Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mothers and Open Adoption

We just passed Mother's Day 2015. Within the adoption world there has been a lot of discussion about how, and if, adoptive mothers should honor the biological/birth/first mothers. Adoptions have varying degrees of openness from very open like our relationship with L and the other maternal relatives of Junior to the completely closed adoptions where some children do not even know they are adopted. This year, my third Mother's Day celebrating my motherhood, I thought a lot about L and of her biological mother. Yes, Junior is second generation adoptee. L's adoption was a typical 1970s adoption - young mother placed baby through a religious organization, most likely few knew she was even pregnant. L knows the geographic location of her birth and approximate age of her biological mother. This is so unlike the relationship she, Junior, and I have which allows for very open and sharing communication. Junior knows his beginning, any questions he may ever have he can ask his bio mom, he knows who he looks like because we have contact and we have photos. L and I have formed a bond beyond friends, beyond sisters- we are both the mother of Junior. Junior knows he has two mothers and two fathers.

There are strong advocates for open adoption who passionately believe all adoptions should have some form of communication between the biological family and the adoptive family. Then there are some situations where open adoption is not feasible - international adoption or safe haven adoption where child has been abandoned, foster care adoption where it is unsafe to maintain contact with the biological family, or after adoption a biological relative may choose to no longer maintain contact. This is the case of Junior's biological father. After termination of his parental rights, Mr. chose to no longer maintain communication with Junior or with us. He may share DNA with my son and memories, but he has severed the relationship. We were willing to foster a redefined relationship for our son with his biological father as we have with Junior's biological mother. It saddens me that Mr. chose to end communication; maybe, someday we will re-establish communication.

We are grateful and blessed by the relationship we have with Junior's maternal relatives. As my mother says, "You can never have too many people to love you." Not only has Junior blossomed in this love-filled, open relationship, but so have J and D who joined us last year. As we add children and their biological family to our family, we end up not with a single family tree, but with a network of trees where the roots are connected, each tree depends on the others. Through love, communication, and relationship, we can all become better humans.