Five Common Open Adoption Myths Every Birth Mom Should Know
Have you ever made a big decision only to realize that you did not have all of the facts up front? We definitely have! Choosing adoption for you and your baby can feel like this, as placing your baby for adoption comes with a lot of stress. That, and many people have their opinions about the world of adoption, which you’ve most likely heard a time or three. Particularly if you’ve shared your plans with others, like friends and family who cares very much for you. For instance, Aunt Judy may have the best intentions, but it doesn’t mean she’s right!
Even if you have not made the choice to place your child, we want to dispel some of the common myths surrounding open adoption, so that you can have truth on your side as you make decisions regarding this life-altering choice. Many birth mothers looking for information have not gotten far enough in the Arizona adoption process to understand the concept of open adoption.
To help give you more insight about open adoption, we have picked the top five common open adoption myths we believe disguise themselves best.
- Myth: Open Adoption is Co-Parenting
Some adoptive parents assume that with open adoption comes co-parenting with the birth family: sharing parental responsibilities and decisions and even custody or time. But this isn’t the case. When an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents become the legal parents of your child. A new birth certificate, also known as the Amended Birth Certificate, is issued with their names listed as parents. That means that all of the decisions, custody, and rights lie solely with the adoptive parents.
As the birth mother, you can still be involved in your child’s life per your open adoption agreement, but you don’t have a say in how the adoptive parents raise your child — even if you disagree with their decisions.
A better way to look at open adoption is co-loving your child rather than co-parenting.
- Myth: Open Adoption leaves Room for Adoptive Parents to Back Out
Open adoptions don’t include an option for your child to return to you. Not only is a new birth certificate issued at the time of finalization, but at that time the adoption is also irrevocable. This means that when you make an adoption plan, sign the relinquishment paperwork, and the adoption is finalized by a judge — it is final. Your child is forever a part of their adoptive family.
This is one reason it’s critical to have adoption professionals (like an adoption agency and/or attorney) who know what they’re doing walk beside you to ensure all of the necessary legal steps are taken. Once an adoption is finalized, even if you change your mind, the adoption cannot be overturned.
- Myth: Birth Moms Regret Open Adoptions
Behind this myth lies the assumption that if you see your child growing up, you will change your mind. Actually, open adoptions often have the exact opposite effect. As a birth mother, you can see firsthand that your child is loved and well cared for. Instead of wondering if you made the right decision, you are able to witness the blessing your decision has been to a family and have confirmation that it really was the best choice for your child.
After you choose to place your baby for adoption and agree to an open adoption plan, you will have the opportunity to screen adoptive parent(s) who you feel will be best for your baby.
- Myth: Open Adoptions Only Benefit the Birth Mother
As a birth mother choosing adoption, not only do you get the assurance that you made the right decision, but the benefits of openness also extend to your child and their adoptive family. With open adoption, your child knows their birth story, has a healthy sense of identity, and has the assurance of your love firsthand. The adoptive family is able to be aware of medical and social issues in real time, not just from a form that was completed during the pregnancy.
So, open adoptions don’t only benefit you. It goes deeper than that. The entire adoption triad serves as a sort of beautiful extended family for everyone involved.
- Myth: Open Adoption = No Boundaries
Just like all relationships we have in life, boundaries are good and healthy to have. The likelihood that you, as a birth mother, would show up unannounced is slim to none. More often, birth mothers like you are hesitant because they don’t want to encroach on the adoptive family they have chosen to help create. As in relationships with grandparents, extended family members, and friends, healthy boundaries are necessary and include open communication, clear expectations, and seasons that are closer than others.
As you move through the interview process with potential adoptive families, you will have the chance to really look at what the expectations will be. Making those clear boundaries in the beginning is vital to the success of the relationship.
Open Adoption Myths to Know as an Arizona Birth Mother
By no means do we want to communicate there is a “one-size-fits-all” method to pursuing openness in adoption and what is best for each family. Openness is on a spectrum and is unique to every family, both birth and adoptive. Finding the right fit is to be carefully considered and can change throughout the adoption process and your child’s lifetime. It’s also worthwhile to note that these decisions are harder to make with a nameless, faceless couple who are future birth parents. We’ve often found that once an adoptive family and birth family meet and the process of getting to know each other happens organically, much of the fears melt away.
When a true relationship is formed, bonds are created, and the best interests of a shared child is a mutual goal, openness can create a beautiful story for everyone involved. It is our hope that you can now recognize these open adoption myths and make clear decisions moving forward. And remember, if something seems off — investigate it! Make sure you have all pertinent information before making any big decisions. After all, just because Aunt Judy said it’s true, doesn’t mean it is!
For adoption resources or to begin your adoption journey, birth parents can visit us at Adoption Choices of Arizona or call or text us at 1-480-900-5520. If you are an prospective adoptive family hoping to adopt a baby, please instead, visit us here!
Meet the author: Megan Nichols is a writer, artist and collector of multiple plants- most of which she has successfully killed. She lives in North Carolina with her goldendoodle, Rosie, and super-hero daughter. Megan is pursuing her MFA at Liberty University and plans to teach Art History and Creative Writing at her local community college after graduation.
When she isn’t sipping pumpkin spice coffee and madly typing away in her office, you can find her biking with her daughter or painting her next masterpiece while watching the squirrels.