Posts Tagged ‘open adoption’

281 Voices: Adult Adoptees Describe Contact with Birth Family Members

December 10, 2012

281 voicesAs we release the 2ND SNEAK PEEK  into the information gathered in our survey of 281 adult adoptees about open adoption, once again I am reminded that there is no cookie cutter formula for open adoption.  Open adoptions are as different as all the people involved in them.

While the top three words used by our survey group were the same whether their adoptions had always been open or were closed and later became open, we also found that the majority of these folks used a mix of positive, negative and neutral words to describe contact. For example:

One participant who was adopted at birth and whose adoption was closed but became open when they were a young adult chose, “enjoyable, easy, difficult, interesting, safe, exciting, informative, healthy, stressful, fun, loving, respectful and a pleasure”  to describe contact.

Another individual who had contact with birth family members while growing up described it as, “enjoyable, difficult, interesting, exciting, sporadic, uncomfortable, normal, unusual, strained, stressful and fun”.

This shouldn’t be surprising.  After all, how many people can you describe in only positives or negatives?  In fact,  it’s hard to imagine that one would even bother to have a relationship with a person if there were only neutral feelings about them!

The question is, what does this mean for adoptive parents who have the opportunity to facilitate an open adoption with their child’s birth family members?

It helps set realistic expectations.  As parents our natural inclination is (or should be!) to jump to protect our kids from negative things.  However, if adoptive parents know that there are likely to also be positives to be gained, then they can weigh those positives and negatives to make a more informed, measured decision as to what is best for their child.

It’s a reminder that birthparents/birth family members are real people.  I believe that the adoption community and our society tends to paint birth parents in extremes.  Angel or devil… hero or villain… saint or sinner…?  But, at the end of the day “birthparent” is only a person just like the rest of us and I suspect that if they were given a list like this one and asked to describe the adoptive parents they would have a mixed response, too!  Furthermore, if we are really talking in a real way, let’s remember that not all adoptees are perfect, either!  🙂

It reminds us that relationships ebb and flow.  I don’t think it’s an accident that both “normal” and “unusual” were selected by the same person.  The quality of relationships can change.  Beyond that, an adoptee may describe their contact with different family members in different ways.

Next, we will look at what benefits they see in open adoption.

 

www.heartofthematterseminars.com

 

Learning From Adult Adoptees: 281 Voices

November 28, 2012

Our blog has been quiet lately because Katie and I have been hard at work on our new course Opening Up Open Adoption:  What is it and is it right for you?   Creating the course has been an interesting adventure that began almost a year ago when we dove into researching the topic of open adoption and thinking about what families considering open adoption really needed in terms of pre-adoption education.  We started our learning/planning process by interviewing birth parents,  adoptive parents, and adoption professionals about their experiences with open adoptions.  Having learned a lot about open adoption from these families and professionals we were still keenly aware that an important voice was missing.  We needed to hear from adoptees themselves.

In April of 2012, we launched an online survey of adult adoptees 18 years or older asking them to weigh in with their thoughts, feelings, and experiences on adoption in general and specifically with open adoption.    281 adoptees responded to our survey bringing us so much data to consider and offering our course a whole new perspective.  Some of the things the 281 told us we expected, but other pieces of the data were surprising to us and might be surprising to you as well!

So in the coming  weeks, as we get ready to release our full survey report and launch our new course, we thought we would give you a sneak peak of just some of those 281 voices and what they had to say about open adoption.  We’ll be starting by sharing  how adult adoptees themselves defined “open adoption.”   Get your sneak peak of those definitions and some thoughts to ponder about defining open adoption here.  And stay tuned for more interesting results from the 281!

Heart of the Matter Home

Fortune Cookie and Our New Course

May 24, 2012

Creating our next course on open adoption is taking longer than we expected, but I received a good reminder to be patient!  We here at Heart of the Matter truly do believe in putting out quality courses that are worth taking!   –Katie

I not only had a nice lunch but received a good reminder yesterday!

Open Adoption: Capturing the Voice of the Adoptee

April 18, 2012

Katie and I are deep in work on our newest project, an online course for prospective parents considering an open adoption.  As part of our work we have launched a research project to try and capture adult adoptees’ voices.  We’re specifically looking for adults 18+ who had some degree of contact with birth family members while growing up.  Please share this link with those you know who might want to participate.  The participants may remain anonymous.  Results will be published on our website and used in our course.  The survey takes only a few minutes to complete.

http://app.fluidsurveys.com/s/openadopt/

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