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How To Determine Your "Open Adoption" Tolerance

Aug 17, 2007
Life is full of choices. And when you make the big choice to begin your journey to parenthood through adoption, you will be faced with what seems like an unending volley of life-changing choices.

As you enter into a search for an adopted child, you enter into a new and unfamiliar world that will tax your emotions, your intellect, and your vary concept of happiness. You place yourself at risk to be as emotionally high as you have ever been, and as emotionally low as you could ever imagine.

You will be thrown into a world of challenging legal issues that are complex and changing; laws that differ from state to state, from state to federal, and from country to country. You will be faced with moral dilemmas and uncertainties whose answers will draw upon your very personal truths and values, from the very depths of your soul.

Have I scared you away yet?
I sincerely hope not. Because as hard as this process can be, the reward is very much greater. Of course the reward is PARENTHOOD! After all, as the old saying goes, "It wasn't meant to be easy."

And as Tom Hanks' character said in the movie, "A League of Their Own", "The hard is what makes it great!"

So, as hard as this process can be, you can make it through if you have the right mental preparation and planning. Creating an adoption plan will help you navigate through the uncertainties of this process.

Your goal for sticking to it through the hardest of times is to create your own Adoption Plan that will inject a semblance of control into an otherwise uncontrollable journey.

An Adoption Plan will:

* Help you prepare for the ups and downs of the adoption process.

* Allow you to make important decisions about your "adoption tolerance" well in advance, rather than during the urgency of a birth situation. This will prevent hasty, poorly considered decisions.

* Allow you to gain a sense of security, reducing your fear and anxiety as you move through this process. You will have considered well ahead of time, the best-case scenarios, the worst-case scenarios, and scenarios in between.

And most importantly, you will have already decided how you will handle the fun decisions, and how to handle potential problems.

Making Adoption Decisions for your Plan.
As you begin your search for a birthmom of your future adopted child, there will be many decisions that must be made. Many of these decisions will be gut-wrenching, heart-wrenching, and life-changing. Because of the importance of these decisions, it is critical that you make them without the pressure of a looming adoption birth situation.

In this article, we will analyze a few important decisions that must be considered when crating an adoption plan.

Adoption Openness.
One very important decision to consider and discuss before the urgency of an adoption birth situation is your "Adoption Openness Tolerance".

Open adoptions have many levels of "openness". But they all have one thing in common; there will be some level of communication with the adopting parents and the birthparents.

Here is a simple differentiation of various levels of openness for adoption. As an adopting parent, you should consider the degree of openness you are willing to accept and will be willing to live with. This decision will be with you for the rest of your life!

"Closed Adoption": sharing only written information that won't identify the people involved, with no contact after placement.

"Restricted Open Adoption": sharing pictures or letters through a third party before the adoption is finalized, with no direct contact between the people involved.

"Semi-Open Adoption": Allowing a meeting that preserves anonymity between birth parents and adoptive parents prior to placement. Birth and adoptive parents may exchange letters, pictures or gifts for a pre-determined length of time.

"Fully Disclosed Adoption": Allowing birth parents and adoptive parents to meet and share identifying information for a limited time.

"Continuing Fully Disclosed Adoption": Allowing birth parents to visit the adoptive family throughout the child's life.

Use this checklist to see how "open" you are willing to go.

_ One-way information (one party has non-identifying information on the other party).
_ Both parties share non-identifying information.
_ Birthparents select adopting parents from biographies, adopting parents receives a letter, diary or journal from the birth mother for the child.
_ Pictures, letters, etc. shared between the adopting parents and the Birthmom.
_ A phone conversation is held before or after the birth.
_ A taped message is offered from the adopting parents and/or Birthmom
_ Meet each other with out identities shared.
_ Meet each other with identities shared.
_ Meet with the child present.
_ Birth mother allowed to visit the child throughout its life.

It is wise to proceed with caution when moving forward with higher levels of openness. If you have difficulty with this decision, or have difficulty agreeing on your tolerance, consult your agency and/or adoption attorney.
About the Author
The Luces are the proud parents of their adopted baby boy, adopted in only 9 months. To help others adopt in months, not years, they developed JourneyToAdoption.com, the 8 Steps To Total Adoption Success, to teach others how to adopt a domestic infant in as short a time as possible, while ensuring a SOLID legal foundation! Sign up for this totally Free Adoption Resource.
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