What Open Adoption Really Looks Like

Open adoption meeting

Open adoption refers to the level of contact and relationships between the adoptive family and the birth family. Having some form of contact is where many adoptions will end up. Whether it is via text, phone calls, or even some social media, a relationship that is limited - but still there - often forms. Still, open adoption can mean a lot of different things to those involved. As you plan your adoption, it is worth considering what your open adoption will really look like.

Tim Elder, the founder of the Infant Adoption Guide podcast, blog, and online community, is here to discuss the topic of openness in adoption. Tim and his wife, Tisha, have been through a remarkable journey, facing infertility, miscarriage, and even two battles with cancer before finally achieving their dream of building a family through infant adoption. Tim's mission is to provide hope and inspiration to others on their adoption journey.

Nicole Witt: Today, we're going to delve into the concept of openness in adoption. It's a term that can be interpreted differently by various people. Tim, could you start by sharing your understanding of openness in adoption and how it can vary?

Tim Elder: Openness in adoption refers to the level of contact and relationship between the adoptive family and the birth family. It can vary from closed adoptions with minimal or no contact to semi-open adoptions, where some level of communication and updates are maintained. And then there are open adoptions, where there is a genuine relationship and ongoing connection between the adoptive and birth families. Openness can take different forms, such as occasional visits, phone calls, or social media interaction. It's about finding a balance that benefits everyone involved, with the child's well-being as the primary focus.

Nicole Witt: That's a great explanation. I think many adoptive parents initially have concerns about open adoption, fearing it may blur the lines of parenting or lead to co-parenting situations. What are your thoughts on this misconception?

Tim Elder: It's a valid concern. Many adoptive parents worry that openness in adoption might undermine their role as parents or create confusion for the child. However, it's important to understand that open adoption is not about co-parenting. The adoptive parents are the child's parents, providing love, care, and stability. Openness simply allows the child to have a connection to their birth family and maintain a sense of identity and understanding about their origin. It's about creating a healthy, respectful, and supportive relationship between all parties involved, while ensuring the child's best interests are prioritized.

Nicole Witt: I completely agree. Open adoption can provide so many benefits for the child and the birth family. Can you share your personal experience in navigating and building open adoption relationships with your children's birth families?

Tim Elder: Absolutely. Each of our three adoptions presented unique circumstances and levels of openness. In some cases, we had the opportunity to establish a relationship with the birth family during the pregnancy, while in others, the contact was more limited. Regardless, we approached each situation with an open mind and a willingness to communicate and collaborate. We initiated conversations, listened to the birth families' desires for contact, and found ways to maintain a connection that felt comfortable for everyone involved. Over time, these relationships have grown and evolved, allowing our children to have a deeper understanding of their roots and a sense of belonging to both their adoptive and birth families.

Nicole Witt: Thank you so much, Tim, for sharing your insights and personal experiences on openness in adoption. Your journey and the connections you've built with your children's birth families are truly inspiring.

You can learn more about Tim Elder and join his community at www.infantadoptionguide.com.


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About this Podcast

Join adoption consultant and host Nicole Witt in this illuminating podcast for people who are considering adoption. Get invaluable suggestions and information from respected adoption professionals and guests. If you are getting serious about adopting, you won’t want to miss a single episode of Adopting! The Podcast.

Nicole Witt