An Alternative Course of Action for the Parent in Turmoil
A number of parents all across Victoria, BC are facing difficult decisions, the type of which are felt nationwide, from Montreal to Vancouver and everywhere in between. Sometimes parents or families are simply not equipped, for a variety of possible reasons, to give their child the best possible start in life. Adoption is not cruel, in fact, the vast majority of parents suffer enormous persona turmoil and guilt after making the choice to let a little one go. In this article we explore a potential alternative.
Today, much of that pain has been eliminated as more and more mothers and adoptive couples opt for an open adoption. This is where the birth parents and adoptive parents are in contact with each other, and work together in the best interests of the baby. This gives the mother who is putting her baby up for adoption much more control over the process than in the past. For example, she will put together an adoption plan which includes information about the type of parents that she would like to adopt a child. She will discuss the extent to which she will be involved in the child's life with the adoptive parents, and come to an agreement with them on this. This will allow her to see her child grow up, this can range from photographs right the way through to phone calls and visits, depending on what is agreed.
While open adoption has both benefits and risks, it has been shown that adopted children who are in contact with their birth parents tend to do better than those who aren't. To start with, this contact makes adoption seem a much more normal experience, helping the child to deal with negative views that they may encounter at school or in the media. It also helps to reassure them that the birth parents love them, and did not give them up because there was something 'wrong.' Also, as adopted children grow older, they start to notice physical differences between themselves and their parents, brothers and sisters. An open adoption allows a child to relate these differences back to their birth parents, helping them to cope and avoid becoming confused about their identity.
However, there are a number of things to be wary of with an open adoption. For instance, adoptive parents may feel more insecure, especially if this is their first child. First time parents often question their own ability, which is natural, but an open adoption can add additional worry that the birth parents will change their mind if they see how the adoptive parents are caring for their child. In some cases, it can also prolong the grief that the birth mother feels when she is separated from her child, the ongoing contact prevents her from reaching closure, rather than making her feel optimistic about her baby's future.
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Image Credit: http://www.todaysparent.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Playing-baby-interaction.jpg and http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3258/2869499390_00ae60836e.jpg
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