While it can be easy to put all of your focus on your new child during an adoption, it is important to remember the other side of this equation: the birthparents. They are much more than the people providing you an opportunity to have a child; they’re still biologically connected with them. While not every birthmother is willing to consider an open adoption, when it’s a possibility, it should certainly be considered for the benefits they offer a child throughout his or her life.
The benefit of an open adoption that’s most often cited is the free exchange of medical knowledge, and it’s for good reason. How often do you go to the doctor and have to answer ten minutes’ worth of questions about your family’s medical history? For adoptees, these doctors visits can be nerve wracking if they don’t know the answers to those questions. An open adoption means the adoptee is much more likely to have the information they need to answer those medical questions with confidence.
Of course, when an adoption begins, the adoption agency will do their best to attain the birth family’s medical history so that you will have as much information as possible at that time. However, as health issues crop up over the years, in a closed adoption you would not receive updated information. If, for example, the birthmother’s mother ended up diabetic in her later years, that would certainly be information pertinent to the adoptee that could be passed along easily in an open adoption.
Confidence and Sense of Self
Every adoptee will at some point wonder why their birth parents decided to give them up for adoption, no matter how happy their home life with their adoptive parents is. An open adoption that involves communication between the adoptive family and the birth family makes it easy for the adoptee to have conversations with their birth parents that might address these issues, alleviating potential feelings of abandonment that might develop otherwise.
The ability for the adoptee to contact their birth family for information on their genetic family tree and family history can help the child develop a more stable sense of self, resulting in greater confidence. We all like to know where we came from, and an open adoption makes it easier for an adoptee to investigate that at their own pace, without the need for a long and emotionally exhausting search for their birth family in their later years.
Extended Network of Support
One potential benefit of an open adoption that cannot be overstated is the network of support that becomes available to both the adoptive parents and the birth family. The birth family can be more confident in their decision to place their child for adoption, and the adoptive family can move forward with confidence that they were hand-picked for the child they adopt. In many cases, adoptive and birth families form a relationship, forging friendships that can only benefit the adoptee over the course of his or her life.