by Tina Bloch, LSW
What do you think of when you hear the word “Adoption?” Where do we get our information about adoption from? Some people hear about adoption from the media & movies. However, you must ask yourself if that is a true and accurate representation of what adoption is like today.
Adoption has been around for a very long time dating all the way back to the days of the Bible. The first story in the Bible about adoption was with Moses. If you need a refresher about his life, check out the story in Exodus 2.
In adoption, unfortunately the history includes shame and secrecy. Openness can be an “antidote to shame.” Moving along the time periods, closed adoptions stayed the norm for many years. In the early 1930s, it was believed that adoption should be a “discreet process and that secrecy should be maintained to protect not just the adoptive family, but also the birth parents.” However, in the 1980s, people realized that this secrecy, guilt and shame lead to resentment and depression. In closed adoptions, the adoptive families were unable to even access their adoption records or resources to help them. The child had no sense of where they came from and the women who made an adoption plan lived hiding their adoption story. As a result, adoption is very different today.
Today, most agencies conduct open to semi-open adoptions, with closed adoptions still being an option for birthparent(s) if they so choose. First off, openness in adoption means maintaining some degree of contact between the adopted child, their birth families, and the adoptive family. There are different forms that openness can take in regard to the type of contact, frequency, intensity/emotional impact, time and location. The openness continuum can range between the exchanging of non-identifying information through a third party, to arrangements for face-to-face contact and many types of openness in between. For more information about open, semi-open and closed adoptions please visit our Types of Adoption Openness page. At Christian Family Life Services, most of our families choose a semi-open adoption plan where non-identifying information is shared through letters and pictures. In addition, occasional face-to-face visits take place at a neutral location.
*We encourage families who are considering adoption to take time to research stories of openness and talk together with your spouse about your personal comfort level regarding your relationship with birth parents. Transparency is important in this process, and the CFLS case work will provide more education and tools as couples walk through the home study process.
If you have more questions, please contact CFLS or come by for our open house next Thursday!
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