Be Prepared, Open Adoptions Sometimes Close

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What is it like to be closed out of your adoption?

It’s simple. It’s terrible.

When you have set up an adoption plan, with the intent that you would get to see and watch your child grow, even if it was in the arms of another set of parents, knowing that they could take that contact away from you is debilitating and painful.

Your open adoption is based solely on the trust of the adoptive parents, and if they choose for one reason or another to close the adoption, it could happen at any moment? You’ve spent hours, days and months worrying that you could be another one of those girls, the ones you hear stories about. You don’t want to be them, so you try your best to be your best.

But then one day, it happens. Sometimes it happens with no notice, and you realize it’s been months since you’ve heard. Sometimes it happens because the relationship is just not what it should be, and it cannot withstand the hardships that come with any complicated familial relationship. No matter how it happens, it’s like losing that child all over again. The pain that sears through your heart is just as affluent and vivid as it was the day of relinquishment.

Then you wonder what you did. You regret the adoption, you want to hate the parents for making this choice, but realize that hatred does nothing if only make you feel justified for a small moment. You wonder if you can fix it every single day, but don’t bother to try because another rejection would just be too much to bear. So you slip into the shadows and hope that one day your child will seek you out, want to meet you and know you, because that’s all you’ve ever wanted from him or her.

Months pass, and you feel free to be more open about your adoption feelings. You can speak about being closed out of your adoption, and you don’t have to worry about offending anyone or losing more, because you have already lost it all. It makes it easier to relax in some ways, and you feel at peace knowing that there are no “maybes” or promises that will only be broken.

You still yearn for your child, even more so than you did before, it seems. Sometimes, out of fear, you check the obituaries because you worry that if something happened to him or her, you wouldn’t be told because you are just the birthmother. When his birthday passes, you realize you won’t get any pictures or contact for the first time in years, and your heart sinks knowing it’s only the first year of many that will go by before you know what he looks like again.

Mostly, it’s just lonely, and cold. You are jealous of those open adoptions that have made it work, and you feel happy for them, but you also feel so terribly sad that it’s not you. Instead, you wish that there was something you could have done, again, to make this outcome so different.

At the end of the day, you just accept it as it is, because you know, there is nothing in this world that will change the situation. You know you will continue to go through all the motions of worry and concern, sadness and grief, but that it will always wind up the same- there is no contact, and there is no relationship.

Your adoption, the one you intended to be open, closed, and there was no good reason for it because you are not the one with the power, or any control whatsoever. It’s just another part of your adoption story that you will have to learn to accept.

Credits: Danielle Barnsley-Cervo

Visitor Comments (5)
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Terri - 3 years ago
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This is a beautifully written account of what it feels like to give up a child and, quite honestly, be betrayed by the adoptive parents. It hurts. And, even worse, it hurts the child. #1
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Amy - 4 years ago
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OMG! That's exactly what happened in our case! Two kids, a one year old boy, and a 11 year old girl. Open adoption, then after we signed the papers the adoptive parents said no more visits it was too stressful. #3
Becky - 4 years ago
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the exact same thing happened too me #4
I.M.Confused - 4 years ago
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It happened to me :( #5

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