The past couple of weeks have not been easy for me or anyone in my own open adoption. Not because of any fault in the other parties; life has just gotten hard, as it tends to do from time to time. I’m reminded of various topics I’ve seen in adoption forums over the years. Questions about how to write positive updates when life gets tough. Suggestions to sugar coat or omit the bad stuff, the real stuff. I’ve always disagreed with such advice, but I do so even more emphatically after the last couple of weeks. Things haven’t been perfect. They’ve been hard, they’ve been scary, they’ve been sad, they’ve been heart wrenching. And yet I am so very grateful I have been kept in the loop by my son’s adoptive parents. I can’t fix it, which is always hard for me, but there are some things I can do.
- I can be another support person
- I can brainstorm
- I can take solace in knowing that if I’m told the tough stuff then the good stuff is real
- I can continue to show my love
- I can be informed and thus understanding of changes in plans or communication patterns
My hope is that by sharing this (albeit vaguely), other adoptees, relinquishing parents, and adoptive parents will decide not to keep their hard times to themselves, but reach out for support. Also I hope those on the receiving end of the hard information will take it in that spirit without judgement and offer support in whatever way they can. That is what family is for, after all.
About the author: Kat Nielsen (neé Cooley), MSW writes here at Open Adoption Bloggers twice a month. She previously worked as a social worker providing comprehensive all options counseling to those experiencing unplanned pregnancy and is now pursuing a PhD in Social Work with a focus on adoption related research. She is also a birth mom over a decade into an open adoption. She is always open to suggestions for topics; you can leave them in the comments, at the OAB Facebook page, or tweet her @KMNielsenMSW.