The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to be a showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. This open adoption roundtable prompt #51 is … living in an open adoption, does it get easier?
I have sat with this prompt for a couple of days before sitting down to write what my thoughts are. I wondered since our girls are now 7 and 5 years old is our family life easier?
I wanted to look back and think about what our expectations were while starting our journey to parenthood through adoption, especially moving towards open adoption. I think our exposure to other families already parenting children with connections to their families gave us a better sense of what it might look like in reality versus what you may read. We were able to meet and see these families and get to know them. We got to hear from them what it was like for them. Through the facilitator we worked with, Ellen Roseman of Cooperative Adoption, we met a community of other families that would be just like ours. The beauty of this was it just wasn’t families with infants, we also met families with children who could share for themselves what this meant for them.
So I think our expectation on our journey to parenthood in open adoption would be that it is relationship building and like any relationship it takes work and trust and communication.
So I have to say for us our open adoption family life is better and stronger. Not only have our relationships with each of our girls birth mothers grown deeper but so have our relationships with their extended families. At the same we have reconnected and developed relationships with each of our girls birth fathers.
Has it been easier now that our girls are 7 and 5 years old? In some ways, yes! It’s easier because we have all gotten to know each other better, it’s easier in that our girls are now developing their own independent relationships with their families. It’s easier in that we see each other more readily as family (something that we wanted but had to adjust to in the early days). It’s easier because we all wanted the same thing ~ a family relationship with each of us, not just our girls and their birth family. We all are striving for the same thing ~ to be a family together.
Are their difficult times?, yes there are! Do you have difficult times with any of your family members? I bet you do! It’s only natural in a human relationship to have good and bad times. But it’s what you do during these times that will make or break a relationship. Our mantra during a time that wasn’t that good is that we are family, family works through it and together we learn and we walk forward together hand in hand.
4 thoughts on “OAR #51 Does it get easier?”
Love this: “we are family, family works through it and together we learn and we walk forward together hand in hand.”
You are a community-builder extraordinaire, Lisa. Ellen Roseman had a knack for it and so do you — with your own extended family and among other adoptive families. Loved reading your thoughts on this.
I love the simple and obvious point that relationships within open adoption are not really different than other family relationships – sometimes they are difficult, but as family, the option is to work through them, together.
I love this Lisa! It’s true, every family has issues to work through. Relationships are so complex and dynamic, always evolving, needing care.
And yes, couldn’t agree with this more: “exposure to other families already parenting children with connections to their families gave us a better sense of what it might look like in reality versus what you may read.” so important!
Beautiful! I love that you choose to walk through the difficult times hand in hand and that these relationships are the same as any other family relationships … sometimes they get a little messy and emotional.
This is so great, thanks for this!