I always find it interesting to ask acquaintances, even strangers, what they think of adoption today. I generally have to specify I mean the adoption of children as you would be surprised at how many go straight to pets.
I typically get a blank stare followed by comments about “how could a mother give her child up” or “it’s a good option if you can’t have children of your own.” Both of these notions are very outdated.
The “Baby Scoop Era”
Adoption has come a long way from the “baby scoop era” full of forced, closed adoptions. From the 1940s to the 70s, unwed, pregnant women were sent to an unwed mother’s home.
Once they gave birth, their baby was taken away, never to be seen by the birth mother again. Adoptive parents received no information on the baby’s medical or genetic background or any information on the birth parents. Thankfully, these days are over.
Modern, open adoption is an amazing joint venture with birth parents and adoptive parents working together for the love of a child. Today, birth parents choose the adoptive parents they want to raise their child.
Information is exchanged, and ideally, a relationship is formed. A child is raised knowing they are adopted and having access to information regarding their birth parents, heritage, and medical and genetic background.
The Adoption Option
It is important that birth mothers have considered all of their options and feel positive about their adoption choice. My book, So I Was Thinking About Adoption…Consider Your Choices, walks a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy through her options.
Whether you are a teen or a woman who is currently raising children, there are situations where it is not in the baby’s best interest to parent. These loving birth mothers are not “giving up their baby,” they are placing their child with a loving, adoptive family.
Choosing Her Baby’s Parents
The birth mothers search through adoptive family profiles to find the perfect parents for their child. Part of the selection process includes finding adoptive parents who have the same expectations of contact after the adoption is final. Open adoption doesn’t just mean the information is available, it can also mean that a relationship is formed between the birth family and the adoptive family.
“As a birth mother, I will never have to hide behind a veil of secrecy, and I will always know how my daughter is doing….I am so excited for the life she will be able to lead due to open adoption…I can see from the photos and letters that her adoptive parents regularly send me that she is growing into a lovely young girl. The relationship that my daughter’s adoptive parents and I share is one I know will last a lifetime.”
-Paula (quote excerpted from So I Was Thinking About Adoption)
Open adoption means birth parents, even birth grandparents, can receive updates, photos, connect on social media, and even visit in person. There are birth mothers and adoptive families who share that they end up feeling like an extended family. This can be a blessing for everyone involved in the adoption, birth parents, adoptive parents, and most of all, the child.
The most important beneficiary of open adoption is the adopted child. Understanding where they came from and why they were placed for adoption is priceless. Knowing their birth mother chose adoption out of an abundance of love and that their adoptive parents chose to adopt them creates a sense of self-worth. Having access to their biological roots helps answer any questions they have about their looks, characteristics, and talents. All of this knowledge is a great comfort to an adopted child.
“Three out of five people are touched by adoption. Adoption is a decision that changes lives forever, but it can be one of the most amazing ways to bring people together. It has been a way for mothers to find peace, knowing that a loving family will provide for their child.
With open adoption, birth mothers and adoptive families alike can be just as involved in creating the best life for the child.”
(Excerpted from So I Was Thinking About Adoption)
For as many reasons as there are for a birth mother to choose adoption, there are just as many reasons why singles or couples choose to adopt. Infertility is only one of the reasons. Many couples simply feel called by the Lord to adopt. Some couples prefer to adopt a newborn, and some would rather a toddler or older child, while others are open to sibling groups or babies with special needs.
Whatever the reason for choosing to adopt, adoptive parents now know who the birth parents are, understand the adoption circumstances, know what the birth mothers’ expectations for contact are, and have the medical and genetic information regarding their child’s health. As their child grows and has questions, these adoptive parents will have answers.
Adoption has come a long way over the years. Today, the well-being of the birth mother, adoptive parents, and the child are all taken into account, resulting in a positive and healthy adoption journey for all.