“You’re seeing them again? Didn’t you just see them?”
“So, when are you going to stop visiting?” “He’s getting older now, isn’t he going to ‘figure it out’”?
These are just a few things I’ve heard along my journey of having an open adoption relationship with my son’s genetic family.
I don’t fault people for their preconceptions. I think it’s wonderful they feel comfortable expressing their concerns. It’s important for me to be transparent about my experience for so many reasons: to bring awareness, to educate, to normalize.
An open adoption between recipients and genetic families might not be for everyone. My intention is never to guilt or shame someone.
Three Benefits of Open Adoption
- The genetic family has a sense of closure. It is comforting to see the resulting child grow and thrive. Yes, initially there may be more intense emotions as you see a child that is strangely familiar to you be born into another family. But, as time passes, it can give a sense of relief and conformation about the decision to place the embryos into a family. Plus, there are often genetic siblings who have their own emotions and preconceptions. They are often missed in the triad visual but deserve to be factored into decisions.
- The recipient family receives similar benefits. My long and painful journey all makes sense now, seeing and holding my child. Then, it is full circle to be in a relationship with his genetic family. It’s been fascinating to match up timelines of our respective families. In my situation, I was able to eat at the cafe his genetic parents ate at before fertility clinic appointments then go to the clinic where he was created and frozen, even meeting the doctor who managed the cycle. And, to mention the obvious, I got to directly say thank you to the couple who gave me the sweetest gift!
- The child is foremost in this arrangement. Every decision about whether to choose openness or how that arrangement looks must be done with the child’s best interest in mind. What a gift to give them direct access to their origins! The resulting child is in every way the recipient’s child, but that doesn’t negate having a different medical history or physical features. Children can never have too much love. Opening them to essentially more extended family or kinship is beneficial.
Of course this list is not exhaustive. And there are scenarios where openness may not be in the best interest. But as you proceed with decisions, reconsider why you are choosing what you are. Don’t let fear hold you back from so many beautiful gifts!
For more information about open adoption, visit www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f-openadopt/
Thank you to Sara, a NRFA guest blogger.
Sara is mama to a sweet two year old boy through embryo adoption. Her greatest pleasure is to have his hugs and kisses every day! She has written about her experiences at Chronicles of An Adoption and continues to educate and bring awareness about embryo adoption. You can connect with her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, to read about Sara’s story of open embryo adoption, visit