Episode 118 – Changing Your Mind About Open Adoption

You’ve got to keep rolling with the punches and remaining flexible in foster care and adoption. What are the principles to consider when deciding to increase or decrease the level of openness in adoption? We talk through how and why we’ve made some changes in our open adoption. We also discuss a new “character” to the podcast, “Justin”, Andrea and Linda’s birth father, who we’ve recently made contact with.

In this episode we discuss The Open Adoption Experience, a book that helped us in our journey; and a program that lets you host foster youth or Colombian orphans in your home, called Kidsave.

15 thoughts on “Episode 118 – Changing Your Mind About Open Adoption

  1. This is an area I’m still educating myself on. I have a really hard time thinking of continuing to expose our girls to a drug addicted bio parent who physically and emotionally abused the them. Maybe because our girls are younger it seems easier to close the door. I will definitely check out the book you mentioned.

  2. It was so nice to have a new episode to listen to today! I’m not even going to mention how insufficient 27 minutes feels after 5 months of waiting… ;)

    This is such an interesting topic. I’d love to hear what everyone has to say about it. Our daughter is 19 months old and has been with us since 2 months. We’re constantly trying to evaluate how much contact is good with her birth family. They have all been very respectful and not at all pushy, thankfully. Some of the relationships have us concerned, though, and we’re not sure how much influence we want certain family members to have in her life. It feels even more difficult to decide because we can’t discuss it with our daughter yet and find out what she would prefer to do. I realize, though, that even as she gets older she might be just as confused as we are about how much contact is good.

    Facebook has been a blessing. There are two of her birth family members and also the adoptive mom of two of her other siblings who we keep in touch with (minimally) through Facebook. They seem more than content just to see pictures from time to time and know that she’s doing well. For now this is working great but I feel pressure to “keep the siblings in touch” because our daughter’s birth mom asked us to…Which makes me feel like I need to take the initiative to schedule another visit.

  3. I personally have never understood how it is okay to keep exposing the child to the abuser or the person that neglected them. If a child has only known abuse or neglect this is going to be their “normal” until they are exposed to a true loving home. Of course they are going to grieve the only thing they have ever known. Is it not up to us to change how they view the world and to stop the cycle of abuse/neglect. Isn’t this the whole point of removing the child and terminating rights?

  4. I doubt parents opting for open adoption allow their children to
    be exposed to any further abuse or neglect.

    Christians remember……,? Love the sinner. Hate the sin?…….

    Children are hard wired by nature (maybe even God) to always love their biological family.

    Most children removed and kept from their homes have been exposed to love, abuse and neglect. Nothing difficult to “put your head around here.”

  5. We are certainly not advocating open adoption for every former foster kid. In fact there are some situations in which we would emphatically oppose it. We would never expose our kids to a situation where they could be emotionally or physically abused.

    For us, the people we visit and the situation in which we see them is always appropriate. As long as those circumstances remain in place we will continue to explore how open adoption helps our kids.

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  7. Wow, I love you *almost* as much as Mary Gravina. (please, don’t delete that comment– it is classic)

    Seriously, even though we are still in a pre-adoption phase of foster parenting, I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on post-adoption issues. These are things all foster parents must be educated about as they will most likely eventually face an adoption decision. We should know what kind of committment we are making. We should know that the adoption hearing doesn’t make all the trauma magically heal. I also beleive there is a need for encouragement and resources for the post-adoption crowd.

    Of course, if you guys talked about socks I would probably still listen, because I’m convinced it would be the most edifying and engaging sock talk I’ve ever heard.

  8. Guys!!!! So super excited!

    1) I’ve finally listened to all the back episodes of the podcast! I’m a scientist, so I’m just listening while I do experiments.

    2) My husband and I are finishing up grad school this spring and we just finalized our jobs post-school. So we are indeed gonna “take the next step today.” Ok, not actually today, because it’s a Saturday, but we’re going to call DHS on Monday and find out about becoming foster parents. We’re especially interested in housing requirements, so that we can pick a suitable place for kids as we search for jobs in our city.

    I started listening to the podcast because I was interested in fostering, you’ve helped my husband and I stay inspired and we’re excited to see what the future holds. Thanks Tim, Wendy, Dan and Krista!

  9. Just recently found your podcast. My wife and I am in the process of completing our classwork and beginning our home study. I am only on episode 35, but have found your podcast to be a valuable resource. Thank you and God bless!

  10. If you guys ever decide to tweak the blog a bit I’d loooove to have a book list. I’m going back though episodes making a list of suggestions, but it’s kind of a pain. Maybe I’ll e-mail it to you when I’m done! :-)

  11. We have had our foster son with us for 2.5 years. His older bio brother and sister are also (informally) part of our family, but since the day he came to us, direct from his parents’ home, he has not seen any other family. About a month ago, the older brother, after very heavy negotiations, arranged a family visit with an aunt, uncle and cousin. These were the relatives whom he most trusted to respect limits, not inform the birth mom of the meeting, etc. It was a great day for our son and his siblings. It is so hard to see our son cut off from an extended family who loves him very much. Reunification with his bio parents isn’t possible, but I hope we can arrange more of these days, and that eventually our son can see more of his bio family. Thanks for bringing up this important topic.

  12. Thank you so much for podcasting this. My kids’ plan has recently been changed to adoption. We’ve only had them for 7 months, but we knew early on that we’d adopt all three if given the chance. Now we’re being asked about our comfort levels with an open adoption, and gosh is this hard! The kids are 10, 9 and 4. Trying to make a decision now that will last the next 14 years is baffling my mind. But hearing that you were able to make the decision to skip a visit that you originally agreed to for the benefit of your children is so relieving. Thank you for sharing that.
    When I first decided I wanted to adopt, the idea of an open one scared me to pieces that I ruled out adopting from the same state, but now having fostered, we’ve changed our minds from wanting to adopt internationally to domestically, specifically through foster care. Even further, I can’t imagine my specific kids not having an open adoption. That, I believe, would only cause more harm. Now we just have to figure out how open we’re willing to be…

  13. I have been listening to your podcasts over the last couple of weeks starting from episode 1 and am quickly approaching the last episode. I am in love with what you guys have done here and am sad at the thought of not having anymore to listen to. I was wondering if you guys had any plans to post a new episode. I have about 10 episodes left, so if you could get one together in the next couple of days, that would be great. ;) P.S. I’m only partially kidding.

  14. Just wondering if you guys are still doing podcast? The last podcast l found is #118.

    Thanks, T & R

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