I've thought a lot about what I might say about Open Adoption. And this is a tender subject to me, but one that we're still learning how to define and what we're comfortable with. Let's see if I can get through this :)
O is for Openness
Open Adoption is different for everyone. At it's most basic level it may mean letters and photos in set parameters of time.
That's all we had planned before we met E.
After we met E things changed. Once August hit I realized I was starting to feel sad if I couldn't see or text or talk to E anymore after he was born. For a while I didn't know what to do about it. I didn't want to make her uncomfortable with pushing her into something she maybe didn't want. After weeks of feeling this way I finally broke it to her. I was SO happy when she said she felt the same way!
Openness for us means the following:
-texting E pictures and updates as they come along
-having E over to visit
-being able to turn to E as a friend
-adopting E's parents as a third set of grandparents for Nathan (couldn't help it, they're adorable!)
-wanting Nathan to grow up knowing his half sister, along with E and her parents
-sending photos and gifts to E
-having Nathan "call" E to leave grunting messages and squeal at her in the phone
-cherishing our relationship with E and her role in bringing Nathan to us
Someone once cautioned me before Nathan was born about how close E and I had become. They said: "You know you don't have to share him right?" I didn't understand what she meant at first. Then I replied, "Yes I know." I know what she meant. And I've seen other adoption bloggers address it. Open adoption isn't co-parenting. I know there's a difference between sharing the parental role for Nathan and sharing his life with her. But you know what? I couldn't imagine not sharing Nathan's life with our E. She means too much to us for us to forget her or leave her behind. So for us, Open Adoption means sharing our joy with E. Sharing those precious moments and inviting her into our lives. It means we love her for who she is and care about her. It means we're concerned when things aren't going right for her or she's sad. It means we can't wait to tell her what new developmental stage he's entered or how he learned to open his fist.
It means we're not afraid to share Nathan's love with her. We have pictures of them together in his baby book. We have her letter to us saved for him to read. We have precious text messages between us recorded so he can grow up knowing how special she is.
To us, that is what Open Adoption means.