Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Open Adoption: Trend?

Adoption is a practice that has been used for thousands of years to find families for parent-less children and children for child-less couples. Evidence shows that the ancient Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, and even the Egyptians all had different systems of adoption used in their cultures.

While practiced long before formally and legally recognized, the United States began to recognize the practice of adoption around the 1850's. In fact, Massachusetts was the first state in the United States to pass a law, the Massachusetts Adoption of Children Act of 1851, stating that adoption was a social and legal operation based on the welfare of a child rather than adult and human interest and first used the judiciary system to define, in complete subjectivity rather than uniform, objectively measured and defined limits, "fit and proper" adoptions.

From there, adoption slowly evolved. The field of social work was created as well as many organizations like the U.S. Children's Bureau, Child Welfare League of America, and more states began to acknowledge and pass laws related to adoption. In 1919, the first empirical research study was conducted to study adoption; How many adoptions were occurring, of whom and by whom. Adoption agencies, both public and private, were created. The Child Welfare League of America initiated a minimum set of standards for those seeking to adopt a child in response to baby farming and growing concerns about the families children were being placed into in 1937. Over the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's, adoption agencies began sealing adoption records. Attitudes began shifting toward the closed adoption thinking (Read about the rationale here, under "Record Closure:"  http://www.researchetcinc.com/historyofadoption.html)

The trend of closure (record closure, identifying information closure, etc.) continued during the 1960's and 1970's. Slowly, still, ever so slowly, adoption trends began changing along with cultural and social changes. By the 1970's, adoptees began to speak out more emphatically than before, blended families began to be recognized as "normalized," birth parents and adoptive parents were allowed to exchange non-identifying information, birth parents were able to choose the adoptive family with whom to place their child, and by the 1990's and early 2000's, social workers began encouraging open adoptions. People began researching and studying the effects of open vs. closed adoptions. Princeton published this article in 1993, weighing the risks vs. benefits of open adoption. Since then, several more organizations have studied open adoptions. Here are a few for you to consider:

These studies and information are barely the tip of the iceberg. Because adoptions were closed and are rather recently trending toward complete and various stages of openness, researchers are still studying and postulating hypothesis and theories whether or not it truly is better to be open vs. closed. They're studying the effect of adoption on children throughout the adoptees entire life. Some see attachment theory as a trend similar to Freudian ideals. Some see openness in adoption as beneficial. 

I can read millions upon millions of studies about the history of adoption, current trends in adoption and adoptive parenting methods, adoptive cost analysis summaries of benefits vs. risks for thousands upon thousands of different scenarios. Some have a legitimate foundation, some, I feel are hair-brained idiocy. What I know to be true, as an adoptive parent with one open adoptive relationship and one closed relationship with biological families is this: Our open adoption is healthier for our family. Our family struggles with the secrecy and questions left surrounding the closed adoption. Right now, one of our children struggles with adoption related issues and has extreme and often severe behaviors that may or may not be directly related to adoption. Not all those who were once adopted have difficulty processing or accepting adoption. Because of our unique, yet not at all uncommon difficulties, I feel adoptive families are NOT given enough pre-adoption education on the POSSIBLE difficulties they might encounter throughout their adoptive child's life. When those issues DO arise, IF they are going to happen, adoptive families need to be given respect, love, and support instead of ridiculed, called bad parents, and made into media sensations to discourage adoption or propagate negative stereotypes and stigmas surrounding adoption. Adoption has the ability to take children out of some really icky situations and places and place them in normal, human families that will do their best to care for them. 

Open adoption works for us. I don't care if people merely consider it a trend and liken it to Farberizing trends, Freudian trends, Erickson trends, or any of the other child development, child psychological, or adoptive and adaptive trends. In 30 years, perhaps somebody will research our lives and relationships in correlation to adoption and the impact the current adoption trends and culture have had on my children throughout their lifetime. What will they find? I don't know. I truly worry about my son and can see negative impacts in his life because of adoption. I also know that he is an amazing little boy that will do marvelous things, regardless of a one-time event that took place 7 months after he was born. I do know that I am a better person for being accepted by non-genetically related family members. Because of my parent's open, honest, loving relationship with what some consider "step-family," but was just considered "family" in our home, I have a model and example of how to function with non-biologically related family. I have an emotionally mature, functional, and loving relationship with my daughter's biological family. I cringe when I hear "closed adoption," and my heart hurts because of our experience with it. I support open adoption. It may not be for everybody; it isn't for my son's first mother. But, open adoption is for me. It is for my husband. It is for our daughter and her birthmother....her WHOLE birth family. We pray it will be for any other children we bring into our home through adoption and will welcome their biological families into our family with open arms. We don't care if open adoption is a trend, to us, open adoption is love. So, in my mind, the only question about open vs. closed adoption is right for you and your family?

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Waiting during the adoption process is excruciating, isn't it? Even actively seeking with faith and hope is often excruciatingly painful. Our family has felt this lately. For some reason, our two adoption miracles have latched onto the thought that they need more siblings. They ask frequently and talk constantly about whether or not we will be adopting more siblings for them. If only it were as simple as it seems in their minds, right? Then, they look at me with their chubby cheeks and cherubic eyes and I feel torn. Shouldn't I simply be grateful to have these two miracles instead of longing for one more? Especially when so many are still waiting and longing for their first child? Three is my "magic number;" my husband has always longed for four children.

As we've experienced these family-growing pains, we've knelt in prayer and poured our hearts out to our Savior. We felt our prayers were heard and answered, not because we've already been able to adopt twice, but because our hearts felt peace. We were reminded of that peace and loved this promise given by President Boyd K. Packer during General Conference today. We pray it brings peace and hope in your adoption journey also!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I'm Sheyann and I'm very excited to share the 
adoption life-lessons of my family with everyone.
I blog at www.andysclan.com and www.allofmymonkeys.com

I met my husband, JJ, in 2002 and we were married in 2003. Exactly 4 month after we were married, we began trying to conceive a child. We were living in Rexburg, Idaho, attending BYU-Idaho at that time. Everyone around us was getting married and having children, we were of similar mind and couldn't wait to be parents! 11 years later, we are grateful to have our 2 children, who came to our family through adoption. We have one closed adoptive relationship and one VERY open adoptive relationship with our children's family. 

I can't begin to count the number of times we wondered if we'd be given the sacred calling of being parents of Heavenly Father's children. Then, we wondered if there would be only one, or two. More often than I can count, our adoption dreams seemed difficult, frustrating, hopeless, and endless. However, as I listen to General Conference today, I decided my first posted needed to share hope and strength.

Choosing adoption to build ones family requires endless courage, strength, and will undoubtedly come with seemingly endless challenges. Each of our adoption dreams and experiences will be different. Our family has experienced failed adoptive matches, three pregnancy losses, inquired about hundreds of waiting children, have been presented to final adoption selection committees (foster adoption process and waiting child process) about a dozen times, been foster parents, dealt with emotional and financial adoption scammers, have successfully adopted twice. Adopting is quickly becoming more difficult financially and due to increasingly difficult laws, but what I know more than anything else is this: When it is right and supposed to happen, things will work out. I look forward to sharing more of our experiences with everyone!

  So, to help me get to know everyone, please share where you are in your adoption journey!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Looking for help to run this blog!

It has been a while since Elise or I have posted and I feel it is fair to say both of us are so busy currently...I feel we need to ask for help...There are many of you that love this blog...I love this blog but I just don't have the time to write for it right now at all barely. 

Would like to help run the blog?  I know many of you are amazing and able and would add some really great flare to it!  Please reach out thru the facebook page msg if you are interested so I can add you on to the blog! Thanks again ahead!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sixteen and a Mom...

All I know is I just watched this and I am still teary...ALL of you need to watch this.... birth mom's and women considering placing for Adoption should too.  My husband ended up seeing it on TV about a month ago and kept saying "Deanna you have got to find this movie and watch it" I should have watched it sooner but I can see now why it touched him so dearly since Audri had just been placed with us.  I am so thankful for the selfless sacrifice that Audri's birthmother made for her and us...there are no words....

**This is a full uninterrupted version...**

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Good News!

I am so excited to announce some adoption miracles! Starting with the most recent:

James and Deanna have welcomed a beautiful baby girl into their home on Wednesday with about two days notice! Can't wait to hear more details from them. Check out their blog for their announcement post! http://alittlefamilyblessing.blogspot.com/2013/05/surprise.html

Que and Brittany experienced quite the whirlwind in their home in April. They are now a family of four with the addition of a sweet little girl!!!!! Woohoo! Congratulations!!

Love sharing goods news with you all. I'm sure Deanna will check in when she can, but we can all understand she has her arms full of snuggly newborn goodness so she will be busy for awhile!
Soak it up girl! :) -Elise

An Open Adoption Documentary

Adoption Isn't Selfish

Straight from a Birthmom...

The Open Adoption Project via The R House