Adoption is about what is best for the child not what is best for the parents. As the law states, a child’s needs should come first, or better put, the best interests of the child should come first. The best situation for a child is sometimes to be adopted into a stable home. Financial security and the love of caring parents are both important to a child’s development. The time spent raising a child affects how the child behaves, feels, and ultimately interacts with the world as the person they become. Many factors play into the decision of what is best for the child. It can be hard for birth-parents to give up their child, but adoption can sometimes be the in the best interest of the child. The child may be afforded a better opportunity with adoptive-parents that love them just as much as or more than the birth-parents and can give the child emotional security and stability.
Yet, the question often remains, will the child end up knowing their birth-parent? Or better put, is open adoption or closed adoption the best option? Often there are legal issues where the decision is out of the hands of the birth-parent. However, in a lot of situations the choice between open, closed, or semi-open adoption and the degree to which it is open is decided by the birth-parents and adoptive-parents. For those who do not know what open and closed adoption is, open adoption is when the child knows the birth-parents and can even have a relationship with them, while closed adoption is when the child is unaware of who their birth-parents are and the birth-parents do not know who adopted their child. Semi-open is a blend of both.
Closed adoption can be good for both birth and adoptive parents, and depending on the situation, the child. In a closed adoption, the adoptive-parents do not have to worry about the influence of the birth-parents on the child, and the birth-parents can move on from what they gave up since they are not involved in the child’s life. Closed adoption can also be good for the child in that the birth-parents could be a bad influence and could impact their development in a negative way. However, the child would go through their life not knowing about where they came from and will wonder where they would be if they weren’t adopted. They will also wonder who their birth-parents are, and that can create a fantasy parent. This is when a child imagines who their parent was, and creates an unrealistic person in their mind. Moreover, just like fear of the unknown, not knowing who their parents are can haunt someone and affect their emotional development, relationships with others, and their connection to the parents that actually raised them.
Open adoption can be good for all parties involved. The birth-parents can still see their child grow up and see the good situation their child is in and that they made the right decision to give them up for adoption. However, the birth-parents might be upset that they are not raising their child themselves. Despite the possible emotional issues with the parents, the child gets to have some closure and a possible relationship with their birth-parents. Instead of wondering for the rest of their lives where they came from, who their parents are, and what their life could have been like, the child has peace from the knowledge they receive from having their birth-parents in their life. However, this can create conflict between birth-parents and adoptive-parents, and is a big factor in deciding what type of adoption is best. Moreover, there may be behavioral issues with the birth-parents that caused the adoption in the first place that may make an open adoption untenable.
I can attest to the idea of constant wondering, as I am adopted. I was adopted at birth by two amazing parents and into a wonderful Christian family with two of the best older brothers a sister could ask for. I do not doubt for a second that I am in the best situation. However, that does not eliminate the wondering I have. I have always been curious as to who my birth-parents are, how my life would turn out if I wasn’t adopted, and how much of who I am comes from my biological parents. I don’t know about anyone else, but not knowing things, especially big things such as this, can cause me a lot of stress and anxiety. My mind wanders and flies around looking for answers, only it feels I am never able to land on solid ground. An outsider might say it’s looking for the part of me that has always been missing. There’s something about the biological connection one has to family that you don’t know is absent until you are in a situation like mine. Now, my adoptive parents are my parents. They’re the ones who raised me and they’re the ones who take care of me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel as though something’s missing. Not to mention, everything could have turned out differently. Every argument, every fight, every bad outcome is made worse by the idea that there was a possibility it couldn’t have happened. I could have been adopted into a different family or I could have just not been adopted and this whole problem that’s causing me pain could have never happened in these other scenarios. However, just like I wonder about the good that might come from not being adopted, there is also bad.
I say all this because I strongly believe that if I had the opportunity to meet my birth-parents, the wondering would stop. The mystery would be solved. I would have reached the understanding that I am where I’m supposed to be a whole lot sooner than I did. I know this understanding that I may be disappointed by what I see in them. Still, I would have closure, and that is valuable in itself.
My adoption is a semi-open adoption, although it often feels like a closed one. I know some details about my birth-parents, such as a medical history and that my birth-mother is now married (not to my birth-father) and has three children. That’s it. That’s all I know. To me, that’s not enough.
Since I have turned eighteen, I have started to make steps towards finding my birth parents. I’m not looking for a fairy-tale ending. I know that fairy tale endings are rare in life, but I would like to know. I just want some closure so I can stop wondering, even if the answers may not be what I was looking for.
Open adoption would have solved all these problems. Yet, these problems are nowhere near the possible problems I could have faced if I was not adopted. I am so thankful for my family and for everything they have done for me. I would not be where I am today without them and I am looking forward to seeing how much more I can accomplish and grow all because they gave me the opportunities needed to succeed.
I am quite passionate about adoption. I wouldn’t be writing this if I wasn’t. If I get married and decide to have children, my first step is to adopt or to foster a child. There are children out there that need a safe home with caring parents or guardians. If you’re considering adoption, know that you could be the best place for a child to be and take the leap to provide your love and care that child needs. If you’re considering giving your child up for adoption, think about the child first and foremost. Do what is best for the child, because that is the most important thing.
Written By – Anna M.