What Do You Think the Child Would Want in Regards to an Open Adoption?
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There are several potential disadvantages to open adoption that should be considered by birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children. Additional pressure-In some cases the birth mother or birth family might want a greater level of openness than the adoptive parents. Consequently, the adoptive parents might feel under pressure to accept the demands of the birth family for fear of not getting the child.
And they may worry about the child they gave birth to. Today, more women who face unplanned pregnancies seek openness. There is no one level of openness in adoption that is best for everyone, and the level of openness may change over time. The process of open adoption will not be the same in every State, agency, or family. An adoption agency social worker, counselor, facilitator, or lawyer can walk you through the process they use. The common steps before the baby’s birth are described below. They cover the typical process of working with an agency and highlight some key differences in working with a lawyer (in the case of an independent adoption). Open adoption does not mean parenting your child together with the adoptive parents. Like all forms of adoption, the adoptive parents will have the permanent legal rights and responsibilities for parenting and raising the child.
The child must first grasp the concept of time and space, which usually occurs at age four to five years, to see that some events occurred in the past, even though he or she does not remember them. The child must understand that places and people exist outside of his or her immediate environment. Telling a child his or her adoption story at this early age may help parents to become comfortable with the language of adoption and the child’s birth story. Children need to know that they were adopted. Parents’ openness and degree of comfort create an environment that is conducive to a child asking questions about his or her adoption. Operational thinking, causality and logical planning begin to emerge in the school-aged child. The child is trying to understand and to master the world in which he or she lives. The child is a problem solver. He or she realizes that most other children are living with at least one other biological relative. It is the first time that the child sees himself or herself as being different from other children (Jewett Jaratt Co., 1994). The child may struggle with the meaning of being adopted, and may experience feelings of loss and sadness.
Melina L. Talking to children about their adoption: When to start, what to say, what to expect. Adopted Child. 2000;
Maguire Pavao J. The Family of Adoption. Boston: Beacon Press; 1998.
Derdeyn A, Graves CL. Clinical vicissitudes of adoption. Child Adolesc Psychiatry North Am. 1998;7:373–88.
Jewett Jaratt Co. Helping Children Cope with Separation and Loss. Boston: The Harvard Common Press; 1994.