email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(please don't copy & paste this blog post onto your blog)
Que, me and our son's birthmom (standing)
The term "open adoption" can sound so scary to someone who has never encountered it before. (It frightened me... until I learned about it.) Be patient with family members or friends who may be giving you negative feedback or unsolicited "advice." As someone who has endured negative responses to our decision to have an open adoption, I know being patient with that kind of treatment is not an easy thing to do.
Interference from friends or family members only complicates things and can create contention. And if you're like us, we only wanted our friends and family to trust our judgment and be excited about this baby!
I suggest telling them specific reasons why you chose open adoption. Then ask them what their specific issues are with the situation and then answer any questions they have. Refer them to blogs of people who have an open adoption so that they can see how theirs works for them.
Talk to them about how having an "open adoption" can mean different things to different people. (Who knows what they personally think it is.) Explain to them that some couples only send an update letter and a few photos once a year, some might be open at first, with an agreement with the birth parent(s) to slowly close it over time, whereas other adoptive couples might be so open that they invite their birth moms to babysit or to come along on family vacations. It's all up to the couple.
If you want, you can talk to your friends or family members about what open adoption is and isn't.
Open adoption is not: confusing to the child, co-parenting, only for the benefit of the birth mom.
Open adoption is about: Love, trust, communication, respect for each other's role in the child's life, the sharing of information.
My point is, try to help them understand that the adoptive couple makes this choice, (sometimes along with the birth family), and that requires focus on what is best for the child, an understanding of the circumstances, patience and an open mind. They may think you have been coerced into agreeing to it, and showing them that you have a plan and that you have some knowledge about how it works can help calm their fears.
Also stress that you know what is best for your family, and you would like them to trust you to make that decision. Adoptive couples have gone through so much already: dealing with infertility, miscarriages and the adoption process makes one feel like they have no control over their own life. Some of us just hope that people around us will stand by us when we do get to make a decision, even if it's something they themselves don't fully understand.