US News & World Report: “‘Does She Know Her Real Mom?’ The Complexities of Open Adoption”

Note from Carrie: I’m delighted to share my first piece for US News and World Report. “There is no road map for open adoptions. There is no decision tree to help you decide next steps. What there is, however, is an adoptee who did not ask to be born into a complicated situation, and there is the responsibility of all adults involved to do their very best by that child. Our gut instinct was that our daughter needed to keep doing annual visits with her biological family, with as many supports, protections and healthy boundaries in place as necessary.”

April 16, 2018, at 6:00 a.m.

WHEN I TELL PEOPLE THAT we have an open adoption with my daughter’s biological family, they tend to widen their eyes. Sometimes people ask in a hesitant voice, “So, does she know who her real mom is?” There is so much to unpack in that one question! I usually smile and start with, “Well, I am her mom, and I’m definitely real. And she does also know ‘M,’ her biological mother.” It’s understandable that people are curious. After all, the definition of practicing an open adoption has as many interpretations as there are adoptive families.

Just as every parent-child relationship is unique, so too is every open adoption. Open adoption may describe an arrangement as simple as an adoptive family sending annual photos and a letter to the biological family, or it might refer to an adoptive family that gets together every week for a raucous Sunday dinner with their child’s biological family. The vast array of interpretations is exactly what makes open adoption so difficult – and so hopeful.

Read the full story at US News and World Report.