This month's Open Adoption Roundtable theme is about open adoption agreements. Is there one in your open adoption? What effect does it have on your relationships? If you could go back in time, would you approach the agreement differently?
In this state, open adoption agreements are not legally binding. To the best of my knowledge, that is the case in most (if not all?) states. Now, also to the best of my knowledge, writing one at all in this state, is also unusual. Though it's certainly possible that may just be the case with our agency.
The subject was never mentioned in any way throughout our training. And, honestly, it's not something I ever thought about in the least. Until, after reading about them somewhere, that is. Then I realized how helpful one would have been when the kid's birth family kind of disappeared the first time.
Now I don't mean this in a "so we can hold them to it" kind of way. But rather so that there would have been a bigger discussion with them either before he was born, or shortly thereafter, that would have, so to say, let us all lay it all out on the table. Given us all a clearer picture of what out individual expectations were about contact and visits. Given us all the opportunity to really explore our expectations of each other, of contact, and of what "open" really means to each of us, and in our relationship.
We didn't do it though, and because of that, I feel like we're all kind of flailing about, not knowing what to expect. And with not a strong enough relationship at this point to feel like we can bring it up. It's so uncomfortable for me (and hubby). I can only imagine how uncomfortable it is for the boys' birthfamilies.
I long for the kind of openness where we get together often and have family meals. Where when we go on vacation to the city where R's family lives and get to meet and visit with them. Where we go to the park and let the kids play. Where I don't feel awkward when someone addresses R as baby E's mother.
But, if I'm being completely honest about it all, the thought of those things actually happening, well, it also terrifies me. Which tells me that I have a lot of work to do on myself. And in our relationships with the boy's birth families. Because if I can't be comfortable with them, 100%, how can I help the boys to know how much I want them to have relationships with these parts of their - our - family. And I know their birthfamilies must feel my discomfort as well, making them even less comfortable.
Today's lesson: So, I know this is one I've used before, but it's still just as true this time as it has been all the other times. And it's one I am frequently reminded of. Here it is. Adoption is ever so complicated.