Another angle on the open adoption is what the kid faces. I have several friends that were adopted and a few where their mothers used sperm banks to get pregnant. In these cases the kids that have done the best have know their biological parents- some have relationships with them some realize how lucky they are to be adopted because their parents have serious drug and alcohol problems. And a lot that haven't known their parents have undergone the painful process of trying to find anything about their birth parents. I think it is a basic part of human nature to want to know who your biological parents are- and robbing your kids of knowing where they come from just doesn't seem right.
I volunteered briefly in an adult genetic counseling clinic... most of our patients were elderly individuals looking into Alzheimer's genetic testing and things like that. There was one older woman... in her 80's... who had been adopted as an infant by a rabbi and his wife. All that she knew about her biological family was that they were jews, because her adoptive parents would only adopt a jewish child.
In her 80's, she was desperate to find ANY other information about her birth parents, and was trying to use the clinic to search for old files to find any medical records. It made me a bit sad... there was really nothing we could do for her.
Knowing your biological/medical history is incredibly important, and another reason why open adoptions are so important. For the guy that wrote to Dan, it's important for them to know if their biological mom had severe alcohol issues, or depression, or any other things that can have very strong genetic components. "Open" doesn't just mean visitation rights... it means sharing information, too.
I'm 40+, and was adopted as an infant under 60s style closed adoption rules, and I am wholeheartedly in favor of the boundary. Even today, I am so pissed off at my birth parents that I would only deal them pain. I'd prefer not to, as I really hope to avoid increasing suffering in the world to the extent that I can.
Dan is absolutely right when he said being chosen by the birthmother is a very empowering experience. Knowing her, and the reason for her decision is something that my husband and I can one day share with our son and hopefully help him to understand how he came to be with his family. A very important thing, since we'll unfortunately have next to nothing to tell him about his birthfather. We're very happy that everything in this process for us was so open and upfront. I really believe it will be a good thing for our son down the road.
Oh, and Dan, this post seems a perfect time to let you know how fantastic your book, "The Kid" was. I can honestly say after reading it a few years ago, the feelings we felt and the actions we took, helped to lead us to the day that our son was born and we held him in our arms for the first time. Thank you.
The Ukrainian adopter is right about some things, particularly that many people who would be stricken barren by God if he existed have the best reproductive organs evar. And that the state values the rights of a fucking three-days-out-of-rehab fresh-minted jesus freak with biological ties more than it values the happiness, sanity, and well-being of children. I just throw my hands up when faced with this stuff though, rather than offering opinion of what the law should be. It's a fairly safe bet that the government will always suck at adjudicating issues of the heart.
You are The Best!!!
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