The first thing to know about our adoption journey is our top priorities when it came to selecting the right adoption agency. One of my bigger priorities was the need to work with an agency that wants to work with me — or rather a same-sex couple who wants to adopt as a same-sex couple (not one of us as a single parent and later on, the other would complete a second-parent adoption — yay homophobia).
That’s where this book came into play:
I don’t remember how this book came into our house, but I remember Colleen reading it first. And then demanding that I read it right away. It was a very honest and humorous tale of Dan Savage‘s adoption story. The agency that Dan used for his adoption in the 90s was an organization called Open Adoption & Family Services, and at the time of their adoption, Dan and his then-boyfriend Terry were only the 2nd same-sex couple that had ever used their agency.
In the tale, OA&FS were more than accommodating to Dan & Terry, and I thought “well, if this agency was that cool in the early 90s, they’ve got to be awesome now.” I quickly used the google, and found that not only were they still in existence and working with same-sex couples (quickly confirmed by the happy, grinning gay-boy couple on the front page of their website holding their new kid), but a quick read showed that OA&FS met our other priority — an open adoption.
An open adoption is an adoption where the birth mother and adoptive family know each other, and dedicate to some level of communication throughout the adopted child’s 0-18 years, through some combination of letters, photos, and even visits.
The level of ‘know’ varies from adoption from adoption — some adoptions only have birth mother involvement, some have birth mother, father, and extended family.
The main goal of an open adoption is the child — allowing the child to know who they are, provide a direct connection to their heritage and culture, and establishing an honest relationship with them from the beginning. One day, our kids are going to know and understand that 2-uteruses (uteri?) cannot produce a baby, and they’re going to want to know where they came from. Open adoption feeds right into that desire to know — our kids will always know their birth story, where they came from, who they look like, and more.
There are benefits to the adults involved with adoption (removing the stigma from birth mothers, removing the fear of the unknown for the adoptive families), but the people who have benefited most from open adoptions, are the kids of adoption.
More details to come on the open adoption process — but you can get some simple fact vs. fiction stats at the OA&FS website.