What does ‘open’ mean?

As we slowly get the wheels turning for adoption #3, I’m reminded how fuzzy the definitions of closed, semi-open and open adoption are. In fact, most of the agencies we’ve considered and work with define them differently. I’ve decided we’re semi-open based on the following:

– We’ve spent time with our kids birth parents. We see pieces of Kat and Spencer in Tess, and K and her daughter in Remy. We love those glimpses!

– We share photos and stories and this blog with them. Our life is a pretty open book.

– Our birthparents send cards, thoughts and have even established holiday traditions in our house. (Kat and her mom sent a fantastic advent calendar for the kids the last few years. So cool!) Anything they want to send the kids, we make sure the kids get, now or in their life books for later.

– We’d love to see our kids birthparents again and when our kids want to, but we don’t spend holidays or family dinners with them regularly. That’s partially geographical, but also because adult adoptee friends have warned us that in the “identity issue” years, that might not be our kids’ preference for a while. Still, we exchange emails, texts, and are planning a visit to Salt Lake soon.

Still, our emphasis has been on leaving ‘openness’ decisions with our kids. Sometimes that’s hard to balance, but these little people with big personalities are bound to have strong ideas about life. We’d like to honor that, as well as honoring where they came from.

Imagine my delight then, when I came across this article, written by another adoptive mom. Their relationship is more open than ours in some ways, but her explanation and rationale are so meaningful to me.

As we await for our next family member/branch, I keep emphasizing to our agency contacts how critical a good fit with potential birth parents is to us. If and when our kids decide to have relationships with theirs, we rest easy knowing what wonderful, loving people will be there on the other end.