Open Adoption: In Good Times and Bad

Kat column topper ID-10071118The 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.

  1. I can be another support person
  2. I can brainstorm
  3. I can take solace in knowing that if I’m told the tough stuff then the good stuff is real
  4. I can continue to show my love
  5. 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.

8 thoughts on “Open Adoption: In Good Times and Bad

  1. Thank you so much for this honest post. In recent months, when our triad has been struggling through tough times, I’ve had a difficult time finding any relatable information on blogs/online, which honestly made me feel like something was really wrong with what was going on with us. Thank you for keeping it real! I love your posts! 🙂

    • Sorry to hear you’re also going through tough times. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you life has it’s ups and downs and open adoption is no exception.

  2. This is so true – I hope things get better for you and all involved in your open adoption. Thanks for sharing this and thanks especially for #3 – beautifully said.

    • Thank you, things are already improving…but now if i can just someone to remind me of number 5 every so often 🙂

    • While I won’t be more specific about my current situation (out of respect for the privacy of others involved) I will suggest you take a look at the blogroll there are hundreds of open adoption experiences to read about and learn from and you could also take a look at and read through some of the community wisdom. Anything that happens in non-adoption connected families can also happen in adoption connected families. The only difference is the number of people who might be involved in any given situation.

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