Wednesday, September 15, 2010

OAR #19: Open adoption is about...

Heather over at ProductionNotReproduction said: "Awhile back I read a summary of a workshop held for prospective adoptive parents who were exploring their options. During their survey of different sorts of adoption, the speakers said that, at its most basic core, 'Open adoption is about information sharing.' Share your reaction to that statement. How well does it match up with your experience of open adoption? If you disagree, how would you finish the phrase, 'Open adoption is about...?'"

Sure, at a fundamental level, it's about information sharing, as any close, honest relationship is. But in my experience open adoption is about much more than exchanging contact information and providing updates on the son we adopted. For me, the best way I can describe it is as an "attitude."

The prompt made me reflect back on the year I spent in graduate school earning my master's in higher education. A major theme at the school that year, which stretched across many of my courses and class projects, was "diversity." Early on, it became obvious that there are as many different understandings of diversity as there were people discussing it.

In the end, I came to the personal conclusion that "diversity" isn't about multi-cultural/ethnic/racial representation, though that should often be the manifestation of it. It isn't even about "celebrating our differences." I decided that, at least for me, diversity is an attitude. It's a frame of mind that seeks to learn from experiences that are different from our own. It requires open-mindedness, humility, and respect.

Oddly enough, I think that the "open adoption attitude" has similar requirements. It demands that I put aside my fears and stretch myself to establish and maintain relationships that are completely unfamiliar to me. It requires me to check my assumptions, sometimes take the road less traveled, and often shut my big mouth and listen.

I find that maintaining the open adoption attitude is something that hasn't come naturally to me. But, it feels natural as it unfolds. I need to practice, practice, practice. And I need to hope, hope, hope, that the work and love we are putting into it will be worth it, for the precious little boy we share, and for us all.

5 comments:

therapyisexpensive said...

LOVE this especially the comparison of and open adoption attitude to the attitude of diversity.

Lisa said...

You are spot on, it is about love and courage. Blessings on you and yours.

Lisa said...

I might add, I am an adult, adopted at birth, found birth mama and bio family at age 29. I love that you are bringing light to a place that was once so dark and feared. Thank you, Warmly, Lisa

Kristin said...

Lisa - So, I must admit I haven't figured out how to comment on a comment in Blogger. I hope I hope you get this message!

Thanks for your comment. I love learning from the experiences of people who were adopted, so I appreciate your taking time to read and get in touch. I hope to hear more from you, about adoption and other stuff. In fact, I just checked out your web site and appreciate its Waldorf sensibility...

Crista said...

I found you through the roundtable, and I appreciate your thoughts on what is needed to have an open adoption. I love your analogy and hope to keep the right "attitude" myself. I look forward to reading more of your blog.