About two years ago I spoke to a class of future foster parents about our fostering and adoption journey. At the end the class members were told they could ask questions. There were a couple of the usual questions and then one guy said, “My wife and I are considering adoption either through foster care or just domestic infant adoption. We weren’t planning on telling the child we adopted them because we thought that might be confusing. Are you saying you think it’s always a good thing to tell kids they’re adopted?” I was flabbergasted. We believe so strongly in open adoption that the idea of not telling our kids the basic fact that they were adopted never occurred to me. Of course, having multiple transracially adopted kids and having older kids who know exactly how the younger kids came into the family makes hiding this stuff pretty impossible anyway. But in case there’s anyone else left out there who doesn’t quite understand the “why” of open adoption, I’ll give you my take on it. And it’s purely selfish.
I think that’s one element that’s hard for people to understand. The assumption is that we invest in an open adoption relationship because we are selfLESS. We are somehow better people because we are willing to “share” our child and open ourselves up to a potentially complicated birthparent or birth family relationship. But that is really not how I see it.