Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Unconventionally Open...

While I was pregnant with Ally I met SO many wonderful people who I consider some of my best friends.  They are people that no matter what is going on in my life, no matter how long it's been since we talked last, or what we are talking about they are always there for me.  They help me in times of need and I know that in their times of need they can turn to me and ask me for help.  Many of those friends have shared parts of their stories on my blog.  I am grateful for their willingness to share and answer my questions.  Recently I helped out with the Adoptive Couple Retreat.  This was the second (suppose to be 3rd but last year I was in labor with Jaxson so I wasn't able to help) time I helped.  The first time I was on the birth mother panel and this time I facilitated the panel.  Gina over at Birth Mother Baskets was on the panel as well as Alli and another birth mother.  I've known Alli for nearly 5 years but I didn't know part of her story like I thought I did.  So she was willing to share with me and my readers how her open adoption became unconventially open after she placed her daughter 6 1/2 years ago.
Alli and her birth daughter Sam
Hi, I’m Alli and I blog over at Neither Rhyme Nor Reason (allirutland.blogspot.com). Katelyn and I met while she was pregnant with Ally and have been friends since. I love reading her blog and I’m glad she asked me to guest post!

 I placed Samantha in October 2005. I can’t believe it’s been six and a halfyears! Back then things were a littledifferent than they are now. Forinstance, hopeful adoptive couple profiles weren’t online yet. When I decided to place my baby I was given about seven paper profiles to look through. Also, we chose and announced to our families before we ever had a face to face meeting. Probably the biggest difference between then and now is the amount of “openness” LDS Family supports. When I was pregnant all correspondence wassupposed to be left with the front desk at the agency. Letters would be opened and personal information would be removed before it was passed on.

 Many of the girls who placed the same time as me made open adoption plans with their adoptive families that consisted of letters and pictures for the first year and then once a year until the child turned 18. Samantha’s parents had already adopted one child and had avery open relationship with her bithmother. They wanted the same thing for Samantha.

After we met face to face they decided they wanted to be able to communicate and meet without having social workers determine where we went and what was said. Since a good seven years have passed since all of this happened, different people are remembering this differently, but we all remember an email address hidden on the back of a picture that was sent throughthe agency. After that, things opened up considerably!

While we were exchanging mail through the agency and continued to meet with social workers, we had our own, much less structured relationship, on the side. It has been wonderful! I am so grateful that open adoptions are the new normal and I’m grateful I am able to be a part of one, even though I could easily have been part of an adoption plan that included nothing more than a letter a year!

I would hope that hopeful adoptive couples would be willing to consider open adoptions. Even if you keep privacy barriers, such as meeting at parks and restaurants instead of homes, I have seen so much good from a birthmother knowing their child and a child knowing where they come from and that they are loved by every side. I love open adoption!

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