Open Adoption Success Stories

How can you be sure the adptee is telling the real truth or what you want to hear?

Pursuit of Adoption Information

If you are considering placing your baby for adoption, you may have already contacted an adoption agency. Maybe you simply wanted some information, but they encouraged you to meet with a staff member. Adoption agencies have an interest in persuading you to place your baby for adoption. For them, that is how they make their money. Even if they are a non-profit adoption agency, they still need to bring in revenue to pay their salaries, bills and so forth.

This is what drives their desire to get you to meet with them. They have been trained on the most effective statements to influence you to give your child up for adoption.

One way adoption agencies may try to persuade you is by promoting open adoption as an attractive option. You can visit almost any adoption agency website and they will demonstrate their commitment to open adoption. Within that section, they will sell open adoption by shining a spotlight on the perceived positives.

The Happy Adopted Child

Adoption agencies will also want you to see positive outcomes of open adoption. One of the ways they do this is by highlighting open adoption success stories from “happy adoptees.” Typically, in these articles, there will be an open adoption adoptee in their late teens or even their twenties accomplishing great things, winning awards or prestigious scholarships. The adoptee usually says something to the effect of:

“I’m so lucky to have such a large family that includes both my adoptive and biological families. I feel fortunate to have so many people who love me, care for me and mentor me. Open adoption is wonderful because I was able to have the genetic connection and know who I looked like, my heritage and extended family while also having the benefit of a loving family to could provide for my needs.”

It almost reads like a warm Hallmark card, doesn’t it? Lots of cozy words like “lucky” “love” “wonderful” “family” and so forth.

In the beginning of this series, I mentioned that when it comes to certain issues like open adoption, there will be those who want to focus on the positives, the “rainbows and unicorns,” and those who want to focus only on how horrendous something is.

In the middle is a truth of complexities.

That is how open adoption is. It is complex. There are issues and lots of them. These issues exist for adoptive parents, birth parents, adoptees, extended family members and friends. It is far reaching.

When I see happy adoptee stories where the adoptee seems to project a “perfect” image and she refers to her open adoption was “wonderful” or uses a similar type of wording, there are a few questions that come to mind.

Is it possible they feel pressure to make sure their adoptive parents feel reassured that they are happy so they don’t feel they are disappointing their parents?

  • Might they feel responsible for reassuring their biological parents that they aren’t angry or sad they were given up?
  • Could they be feeling pressure to be better than the best because they are scared of rejection or abandonment?
  • Is it possible they feel the need to protect their parents from criticism regarding adoption?

My Open Adoption Success Story

How can you be sure the adptee is telling the real truth or what you want to hear?I’d like to share a personal experience. I was about fourteen and in the middle of a nasty teenage rebellion. I was on a weekend camping trip with my mom and had been forced to go. After we set up our campsite, my mom met our camping neighbors who were all sitting around outside just chatting and my mom insisted we go over there to visit them. So we sat at the picnic table with several older adults that we had never met before. During the conversation, my mom brought up the fact that I was adopted and was being raised in an open adoption. One of the really sweet ladies we had just met looked at me and asked, “Oh wow, how do you feel about that?”

I will never forget the look on her face. She seemed to have the hope of a child on Christmas that I might share something wonderful with her. Sadly, I didn’t disappoint her. I went on and on about how lucky I was, how happy I was to have been adopted and still get to see my biological mother. I saw what she responded well to and dug even deeper to give her a story where open adoption had turned out perfectly for me. It was the success story that she wanted to hear, and the more I talked, the more the adults oohed and awed over what I was saying.

I looked at my mom and she couldn’t have been more proud. She had tears in her eyes.

A little piece of me died because it seemed more important to make others feel okay about my adoption story than to be true to my own story and talk about the many issues I faced within open adoption. I had denied my own feelings to reassure those that wanted to know that open adoption was just … wonderful.

Being in an open adoption is complex for the adopted child.

If someone is glossing over that fact and presenting open adoption as “wonderful” by sharing only happy adoptee success stories from open adoption, you might ask:

  • Is there more to the story?
  • Is there more to hear?
  • Is there more to know before entering into open adoption for me and my child?
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About the Author

Kat - Open Adoption Adoptee
Open Adoption Adoptee Kat is an adult adoptee, wife and mother. She was relinquished eleven months after her birth in 1972. She was adopted through a domestic infant adoption. She found out she was adopted at the age of four and had regular visits with her biological mom and siblings from that point forward in an open adoption. They spent time together at each other’s houses and Kat spent weeks at a time with her biological family during summer breaks from school. She has recently been trying to obtain her original birth certificate as all records are sealed in her birth state even in open adoption. She is active within the adoption community as an adoption reform activist, family preservation advocate and adoptee rights activist. Kat also blogs at

2 Comments on "Open Adoption Success Stories"

  1. Hi! I placed my 2 year old and 6 month year old recently. 4 days ago actually, I’m sorry you can’t express your feelings openly, as a birthmother I’m sure she would appreciate it if you did. Sadly birthmothers are not allowed to say how they feel or we get cut off from our child. I feel I may have screwed my children up but I really hope they come out well since we were going to be homeless we were told we should terminate our parental rights, wish I didn’t cuz I want them back now bit I keep reading it’s too late. I’m sorry you feel screwed up I hope it’s not to horrible, but I know it is because I feel like shit and when I got a picture of my son he looked horribly sad. Please give me some word that you are happy , you can email me if you’d like

  2. Hi C, I am so sorry to hear about this. I’m sorry that you found yourself in a situation where you didn’t feel you had any other option, but to place your children. With it being just a few days ago, I cannot even imagine what you are going through. I wish our system was more about helping mothers find solutions other than taking their children. I wish someone had been able to help you, as homelessness is a temporary problem and adoption is permanent. This is one of the major problems with adoption. It’s looked at as a solution way to quickly and I don’t mean by the mother, I mean by those such as whoever told you that you should terminate your parental rights.

    I’m sorry that I cannot tell you how your children will feel. I tell my own story and talk about how I felt, but I don’t think that means that all adoptees will feel the same. I’m also sorry that you and your children are facing the loss of each other.

    I try to be honest about how adoption affected me as a child and how it continues to affect me. Adoption is part of who I am. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have good experiences in life. I have a good family in my husband and child. I have good friends. But adoption is constantly there, tugging at me. Again, there are other adoptees who wouldn’t describe it in that manner at all. It’s complex and everyone will process it differently over time.

    Reading here at this site and blogs of other first moms and adoptees will help you to know that you aren’t alone. If possible, try to find a support group in your area and if there are none, try to join a support group on facebook. (let me know if you need help finding one). I wish you the very best.

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