The prompt for the Open Adoption Roundtable 13 is:

We often hear about open adoptions where the two sides don’t want the same level of openness. First mothers who don’t get updates as often as they would like, or not as many visits each year. Or adoptive parents who want to include their child’s first mother in his life, but she is not ready.

But what we don’t often discuss is when people on the same side of the triad can’t agree on the level of openness in an adoption.

* It could be a wife who wants a fully open adoption but the husband only wants to send letters once a year.
* Or a first mother isn’t ready for an open adoption but the first father wants to be part of the baby’s life.
* Maybe a spouse isn’t supportive of their partner entering into reunion with their first mother.
* Or a partner who came along after the adoption and isn’t comfortable with your relationship with your placed child.
* And the classic Hallmark movie of the year scenario: Your mother-in-law is convinced that the baby will be snatched away from under your nose if you have an open adoption.

How would/do you navigate these situations? Does your current relationship impact the type of open adoption that you have? How does this affect your current relationship?

My open adoption was a mess. I don’t think it was at all what my adoptive parents wanted. I think they expected a nice clean closed adoption. I think almost all adoptions were closed then. My adoption was a test case. it was the first legally binding open adoption in the UK. My first mother due to legal technicalities had enough leverage that the adoption couldn’t go through unless some of her access conditions were met and my adoptive parents contested that which resulted in a long drawn out stressful court process. But the thing is nobody actually asked us, me and my siblings, not really. I still haven’t unpacked how I felt about it because there was so much manipulation going on on both sides. I felt like i imagine children in divorce custody battles feel. torn and guilty and feeling like i was supposed to be able to please both set of parents and not being able to.. I mean we were asked but in such a manipulative way that we gave the answers that we knew were wanted. it was all about the parents feelings about what they wanted not what we wanted or needed. It was about both my mothers feeling threatened by each other and trying to exert their control over the situation.

In the end we had to legally see my first mother four times a year. And my adoptive parents always turned it into a great big drama which always turned into a huge anti climax because my first mother hardly even spoke to us she spent the whole time talking to my adoptive mother.

I guess the point of this post is make sure you know what your children want. Don’t assume and when discussing it with them keep your own feelings out of it. If you are not careful they will pick up on your feelings about it and do what you want them to rather than what they need to. it is your children’s needs that are important here not yours or your partners or your extended families

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