Thursday, April 24, 2008

How does Semi-Open Adoption benefit the Adoptee

This post is in regards to TG'S Post as I felt that I couldn't really address it there without writing a book. So here we go!

I entered into a semi-open adoption with my birth son's parents for him. NEVER once was it about me, I had no desire to do anymore than sign the papers saying he would be theirs forever. After much talk between the agency and myself, I did decide it would be beneficial to him to have some sort of contact. How would writing to his mom be beneficial? I would keep her informed of the changes in my medical history, I would keep her updated on the things going on in my life, I would send pictures of myself for him to be able to look at over the years, I would be able to let her know where birth father was and how he was doing if the need ever came up because he did NOT want to be a part of their lives, I would be able to let her know that birth son had more siblings as they came along. So you ask, how is that beneficial to him? For one, he would never have to ask "Who do I look like?" He would never have to wonder "Why did she place me?" He would know why he has headaches that have now been diagnosed as Arachnoid cysts, He wouldn't have to spend countless hours and money to search if he so chose to do so and HE would have a say in how much contact we had as he grew up. Yes I suppose in OA he would also have the option of saying "this is to much for me, back off" but I feel that would be much easier to do in a semi-open adoption where it could be done via a letter versus having to sit down and look me in the face and say "I don't want you in my life right now" which IMO would be hard for a kid to do.

As a First mom in what was a Semi-OA, I can tell you, I cried, worried, stressed, got physically ill EVERY TIME I wrote a letter. Was I saying the right thing? Did I overstep my boundaries? Did I include enough info, too much? Can they read through my words how much I care and love him? Do they understand how important all of this is to me? No, I didn't have to physically leave him over and over again, but everytime I sent a letter it was a reminder of what I was missing. Everytime I received a letter about him hitting milestones it was a reminder of what I was missing. I didn't seem him face to face, but it was just as hard to see him through pictures knowing he was growing up without me. Seeing that big boy that he was becoming and knowing I had nothing to do with that, but also knowing that the older he got the more he "might" want to know more about me.

I am rambling, but I can tell you this, I DO NOT CARE what ANYONE in society belives, thinks about OA or Semi-OA but for this MOM it was never about me, not one time!

I am not totally sold on OA, although I know it is working out for some and I think that is great, but even today, 17 years later, I am not sure I could have done it or even would have done it. Maybe someday I will live to regret it, hell maybe I am now.


Thanksgivingmom said...


Hope I didn't offend you in my ignorant ramblings...and I suppose I meant less that it was FOR bparents and maybe more that it's marketed that way...I don't know...I'm still really trying to figure this one out. I just worry so much about semi being SO unclear. I guess that's the best thing about closed in my opinion. It's CLOSED. You know what you're getting. Nothing. Which sucks, but you know. Semi can change and close and open and I'm no good with uncertainty (which definitely exists in OA too....)

And I do tend to throw up a little bit every time I write a letter back too :)

Oceans... said...

M: I just posted to TG's again too. What has dawned on me from this discussion is that SOA or SCA (whatever it is) DOES benefit the child. Even if they never know the bparents and aparents are communicating. I know this will sound more bparent benefit-ty but writing letters, sending pics, letting them know where you were, etc. lets the child know YOU cared enough to do that for 18, 19 or how ever many years.

I think that would mean a lot!!

So this and all of your reasons has really convinced me that yes semi-whatever adoption is very good (some contact i.e. phone all the better too)

Probably a different opinion than I had this morning...

Oceans... said...

Not sure that came out right... Benefit being they get to know YOU but obviously (as you stated) that benefits the child....

Hopefully you know what I mean...


I am a closed era adoptee. I know its hard for you. I feel your agony tenfold. As an adoptee, I would very much want for you to continue contact. I would hope that you can be honest in your letters. Are you friendly with the adoptive parents of your son? Are you communicating through an agency or are you in direct contact with the adoptive parents?

I can tell you as a closed era adoptee that having no contact with either of my natural parents has hurt me beyond belief. Its hard to answer some of the questions that my daughters have about their heritage. I don't want any other adoptee from here on out to go through what I have dealt with.

I do praise you for stepping forward. I doubt very seriously your son would ever reject you.

Brown =) said...

I get what some might call mild panic attacks when I have to write DD's a-mom. I get ignored and put off by her family. You know this. So to be in a toxic relationship, it's not benefitting ME, KWIM!!!

But when it works, it works. I get to see pics and hear AM talk about M in a motherly way. Which I love, to hear her brag and be proud of her.

I'm no good with uncertainty either. Open was good, for me I picked up the phone and I called. No overanalyzing necessary. When it was closed, I had my fantasies and my hopes and that was enough for a while. THIS? My SOA (which is really a SCA, but I'm forever the optimist!) sucks ass.

But M will know I care. And that is where it benefits her, and that makes it worth it!

Anonymous said...

Hi, just found your blog via Cassi's, which is also a new one for me. I'm so happy to find more moms blogging.

I just wanted to post a comment on this particular writing because I am so curious to hear what moms in SOA/SCA go through. Mine was closed - 1984. It has always seemed that having to even acknowledge the amother would twist my gut and heart strings in a million ways, but on the other hand maybe you get the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing what is right for your child.

Either way, my opinion is that a mother who has lost a child to adoption lives in a special kind of living hell.