Embracing Openness Even When it is Hard


This last weekend I took a road trip to AZ with my family and two friends to attend an adoption conference.

One of my friends placed a baby for adoption 15 years ago in a now totally closed adoption. The other is an adoptive mom of 7 kids–6 of whom were adopted through the foster care program and were not adopted as infants. Many of her kids have biological families that would be considered “dangerous people.” I listened in awe to their stories once again and how each of them has a strong testimony of open adoption for different reasons but equally as sincere and intense.

During the 24 hours we had in the car for conversation and storytelling, the following post came up. I had chills. Here is the experience of an adoptive mom taking her son to prison to visit his birth family.


Why Openness from A Nickel’s Worth of Common Sense


I hope you will take a moment and read her post.

There are many words in this post that just rang so true for me. Here are some favorite parts:

My love, my overabundant, overwhelming, huge amount of pure love for my kids cannot erase their need and desire to be loved by their original parents.

I understand that some would use any of the ample excuses at my disposal as a reason to close an adoption.   Run-ins with the police, active addiction, inappropriate gifts, uncomfortable situations, angry family members, criminal activities are all reasons we hear for closing up relationships.  My kids first parents live complicated, confusing, difficult lives.  That I do not deny. And I love them.


  1. says

    Thank you so much for posting this! It is exactly what has been on our minds lately. I tend to fight openness in our adoption because a lot of fears and insecurities. To an outsider I would have every typical reason to choose a closed adoption, and sometimes I feel that it would be easier that way. Of course it would. But that is not what is best for our little Tank. Thank you so much for sharing this :) Loved her post – even the parts that stretched my heart.

  2. says

    I love this post and will be printing it out. A lot of people do not understand the concept of open adoption and I am so grateful to those of you who are living it and sharing it. You are a huge help to those of us just entering this world to help us to educate those we love who need to understand but don’t yet.

  3. christine says

    Love lobe love and an open heart truly amazing people as examples. Great timing as I wrote a monthly email to baby J’s bfather.

  4. says

    Well I wondered why my long sleepy and dormant blog was suddenly getting hits and comments :) Thank you for reading, and linking.

    This journey isn’t easy but it is worth it. I thought of that today as I sent my sons’ father an email on his prisoner account, and again as I had to quickly close down an inappropriate picture my girls’ mother had uploaded to her facebook as our 3 year old was on my lap glancing at the computer.

    It is worth it, but that doesn’t mean it is all easy.

  5. shelley says

    Ho-ly Crrap. Words right out of my heart and on paper. So great when you find out you are not alone. I said something similar in the adoptee panel but my words were not as perfect and I couldn’t get that out of my brain like she did. Much better said by her. I wish I was better at putting stuff like that into words. I Feel. The. Same. Way.

  6. says

    This is so beautifully written and straight from the heart. We are in the process of adoption two sweet little boys from foster care, and I so wish we could give them this kind of openness, but for us it just isn’t possible. I think it’s important to remember that in foster care adoption, the situations can vary widely – if it were comfort at risk (as in , we would all be extremely uncomfortable, but safe), that would be more than okay with me. However when it is safety at risk – a real, substantial risk – well, safety has to come first for my kids. They will of course know they are adopted, they will know as much about their birth family as is appropriate for their age as they grow. I know their family has a lot of love for them – but the demons they answer to are louder than that love at this time, and their anger at the situation has erupted in threats, stalking, violence, and all around frightening behaviors. When there is a danger to the child in continued contact, the story sadly, tragically, ends up very different. I pray that in future adoptions our family is blessed with a different situation – and what a blessing if this situation somehow changed in the future and allowed for more openness? But right now, my job is to protect these boys.

  7. Heidi Naylor says

    Jess as a parent to 6 kids adopted through foster care I can understand you feelings. And your right in protecting your kids. However we readdress oneness based in where our kids birthparents are at. I pray that your childrens birthparents can face their demons and your children can find enough healing to make some openess possible. So many people are not willing to readdress things as circumstances change. I have some burthoarents whim only receive pictures and letters. But no other contact. That is considered open. Oneness can, does, and should vary based on safety.

  8. Erin says

    Glad to have read this today! Sometimes I stuggle with some beliefs about open adoption. It isn’t always easy, and each case is so different. In most cases, I believe open adoption is wonderful in that it allows children to know they have been cherished and loved from the start. Love this story, and the strength it took to stay committed to open adoption and yet set boundaries. I think it is crucial for adoptive couples to have boundaries and structure, and make decisions that protect and safe guard their children, until they can make their own.