I am Sarah, an adoptive mother. I have an open adoption with both of my children’s mothers. I am an advocate for openness.
It started because my best friend was adopted and I watched her struggle with identity as we grew. During the waiting process in the summer of 2018, my mother confided in my sister and I that she placed a child for adoption 49 years prior. She was sent to California where her grandmother lived, delivered her daughter and flew home. It was never discussed again. She was found by her daughter and granddaughter. One tried 23 And Me the other Ancestry DNA to hopefully better locate her.
My sister and I simply responded to her admission with, “When do we get to meet her?”
My mom and her daughter spent several days talking on the phone and texting each other. She thrived to know who she looked like, who shared her mannerisms, and to be accepted by us. My sister and I never hesitated to accept her. It just was. We were more sad that my mother felt she had to keep this secret from us. I had sadness that especially as I was going through my own adoption process it was still suppressed. When my sister turned 50 my mother flew to Texas to meet her. They spent several days together and the relationship still continues to this day though separated by many miles. I have yet to meet her as I am busy with three small children and a global pandemic but she is part of our lives and we are thankful that we have time to build a stronger relationship.
This story reinforces why I feel openness is the best option in adoption.
What would have been the harm in our mother receiving a photo of her daughter every year? What harm would it have done to allow my sister to know she was loved and who she looked like? My family is a complete triad. It is comprised of adoptees, adoptive parents and a birth mom.