17 Things About Open Adoption You Need To Know By People Living It

Adoption Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness and learn about all types of adoption.

And that includes open adoption, which remains one of the more publicized but least understood paths to building a family.

This year, as we do every year, we turned our Facebook page over to our Fans and posed a different question about open adoption each day of the month as part of our annual “30 Days 30 Questions” series.

We wanted to get some insights into how it works and what people need to know in order to succeed, and we figured who better to ask than the people living it every day. After all, they’re the experts.

Here’s a sampling of some of the questions, and what our Fans had to say.

For more open adoption insights and experiences, don’t forget to check our Facebook every day of every month for the latest news and stories.  mother-and-baby

1. What made you decide to pursue open adoption?

“We wanted to adopt a newborn baby so we could experience everything about having a baby.” Lori Tomka 

2. What was your initial perception of open adoption and how has it changed?

“As a pregnant teen, I thought adoption was never seeing my child again. I wasn’t in a great place to parent but THAT option wasn’t an option for me. I loved her too much to never know what she looked like or how she was doing. It wasn’t until I learned about open adoption that I truly explored the option of adoption over single parenthood. Once I met other adoptive moms and birth moms that had successful open adoptions, it changed my mind. Now 11 years later my relationship with my birth daughter and her family is a beautiful thing and the best choice I ever made heart emoticon I’m so glad times are changing!” The Grace Bond 

3. What are some of the things you did to educate yourself about open adoption?

“I read every article I could find on Google and Pinterest! Pinterest was a very helpful!!! Samantha R Franks-Kehm 

4. What’s the best or worst thing about open adoption?

“Here are best and worse things as a birthparent: The best thing is to see how happy I’ve made a family and to know that my twins are being well cared for and well loved

The worst thing is dealing with all of the emotions. Some days are good, some days are rocky. Some days you cry ’cause as a Birthmother I always think about the “what ifs” and “what would life be like.”

Some moments are more bittersweet than others. My twins that I adopted out will be 5 and I’m always emotional around their birthday ’cause it’s a reminder of what I chose for them. I don’t regret my choice but some days are harder than others.” Ashlee Wilcox

5. What’s the best or worst advice you’ve ever received about open adoption?

“The worst: Get over it. If you really loved him, you would’ve kept him. The best: God is in control. Trust Him.” Terrie Shmitka 

6. What has been the easiest or hardest part of your open adoption journey so far?

“The love.” Candy Werley

7. What are some of the things you did to cope with the emotional ups and downs?

“My mother helped me so much when dealing with the grief. I’m a birthmom and I’m so thankful for my daughter’s adoptive family and open adoption, but it is difficult. Sometimes still I miss her. But my mom is always strong and loving and comforting and that helps so much.” Shelbi Jo Wesley 

8. What advice do you have about moving forward after a failed adoption match?

We have had two failed adoptions. It is hard, very hard. Our faith, family and friends helped us. Just know that the perfect match is out there. We have two beautiful boys now through open adoptions. Don’t give up hope!”  Penny Raske Eliason

9. What do you think is the biggest misconception about adoption?

“That adoption is free, that the birthmother is a teenager or drug user, all adoptions are closed and secretive. Oh and that there’s no emotional connect for the adoptive parents for the birthmother…that adoption is easy emotionally and financially.” Paige Knipfer 

10. What do you know about open adoption now that you wish you had known before?

“How much it affects not just me and my birth daughter and her parents, but my parented kids as well. Eleven years after placement I have four kids at home with my husband and my kids grieve the absence of their oldest sister as much as I do as they get older. Saying goodbye when a visit has gotten harder in some ways because of this!” Leah Outten 

11. How did you tell your family about your adoption plan and what was their reaction?

“My parents asked me if I still wanted to adopt. Of course, I said yes. My family and friends were so happy for us cause they knew how much I wanted a baby. The only negative was my nephews cause she was a girl. LOL. Now they’re pals.” Candy Werley

12. What advice do you have for hopeful adoptive parents who are thinking of quitting?

“The only unsuccessful adoption is when you give up!! Believe me , we know!” Kim Unruh

13. Do you believe an adoption match is meant to be, a stroke of luck or something else entirely?

“I feel my adoption match is God ordained. There were too many signs, like us picking a very similar first name and the same middle name without telling each other,that I feel can’t just be luck or coincidence. I felt so much peace by these “finger prints of God” as I chose my daughter’s parents and got to know them before her birth.

In the 11 years since, we have a dream open adoption. The mutual respect, the trust, the care for one another as a vital part of our daughter’s life is further confirmation for me. It just works so easily for us.” The Grace Bond 

14. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of open adoption?

“The unconditional love that two Mothers have for our son.” Terrie Shmitka 

15. How has open adoption changed your life and/or the way you view the world?

“Adoption helped us complete our family. What it taught me is that I can fall in love in an instant with a baby I had not yet met. As soon as the social worker told me her name I knew she was my daughter. And what else I learned is that adoption needs be all about the child.” Karla Linehan 

16. How important a role does open adoption play in your life?

“We were apprehensive at first. But it turned out to be a great blessing for all involved. As long as you set limits and and set clearly defined expectations, it can work.” Derek Williams 

17. What’s the one piece of advice you would give someone who’s considering adoption today?

“Keep yourself busy during the wait by researching and reading about other people’s experience. It will help you get an idea of what you might experience. Also you can’t plan the process so let go of any preconceived notions and just roll with it.” Samantha R Franks-Kehm 

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