November 4, 2011

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I've never been a newspaper reader. My dad used to read the paper every night before dinner, but with today's computers, there really is no need for the paper version of what now can be found on the internet.

Every morning as I eat breakfast with my daughters, I scroll through my email. I never have anything earth shattering in my inbox, but every morning I have a Google Alert with news about international adoption. This keeps me updated and current with trends and stories going on with international adoption.

As most know, international adoption has been in a decline in recent years, in large part due to the US's ratification of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and the tightening of international adoption programs in countries such as China, Nepal, and Guatemala. With reports that some internationally adopted children were not orphans, but were kidnapped or sold to black marketers, many countries are re-evaluating their intercountry adoption programs.

It is with this uncertainty in the adoption community that I read a blog posting on open international adoption, and I found myself intrigued.

One of the reasons we chose to adopt internationally was because we wanted a closed adoption. We really didn't want any connection with the birth parents. At the time, this made sense to us, but as my daughters have gotten older, I realize they would like to know more about their birth mothers. Their need for more information and a connection no longer threatens my status as their mother, and I can better understand that a part of them is missing.

If international adoption could move towards an open adoption policy rather than a closed policy, I could see a benefit for all parties of the adoption triad, as long as all parties involved were sincere in their intent.

A birth mother, who chose to give her child up for adoption, would have the opportunity to know that the child was safe, happy, and growing up in a loving household. She could stay connected through pictures or contact and know that all was well with her child.

The child, placed up for adoption, would be able to know the circumstances of their birth and truly understand that their birth mother loved them above all else. Through pictures and contact the child would grow up secure in the knowledge of their place in the world and that there was no longer an empty void.

And the adoptive family, who opened their hearts and home to a child in need, would have no question as to the legitimacy of their child's adoption, and no lingering worry about whether their child had been kidnapped or sold. They would know that their child was whole.

Open international adoption may be just a dream of a few, and a nightmare to implement, but great achievements have to start somewhere.


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