Saturday, March 04, 2006

3 months later...part II

Book review - Children of Open Adoption

When we last left off, before Christmas, I had reviewed this book through "The School-age child -- I."

Part two of "The school-age child" includes information on relationships with extended family, when birthparents have inconsistent contact, and how the child will learn about and interact with siblings through birth or adoption. In summary, the authors state, "The greater the degree of openness, the less fantasizing that takes place and the more the issues are worked on" (p. 131).

Ah, the marvelous, dreaded teenage years. At this age the child of open adoption really gets to exercise her communication skills and process her experience. It is especially important during these years that the teenager has access to information about her heritage and birth family. "Our sense of self is defined not only by our present but also by our past. Through closed adoption our past becomes inaccessible" (p. 135).

A social worker of one teenager whose adoption transformed from a closed to an open one states, "She said it made her feel normal and like everybody else....I observed an immediate attitude change....The discovery seemed to have cemented the bonding between Sarah and her birth parents" (p. 151). Oh, yeah.

The last chapter is "Long-term benefits for everybody," including all members of the adoption triad (child, birthparents, adoptive parents), and also extended family and adoption professionals! Long term benefits include, feelings of control that the adoption is in the hands of the family and not the adoption professional, the adoptive parents feel entitled to raise their child since the birthparents chose that couple, everyone is permitted to grieve their losses and communicate those losses with each other, and the children grow up knowing/hearing that they are loved by all parties, thus leading to a higher self-awareness and self-esteem throughout their lives.

Read this book. Seriously. The authors know what they are talking about first hand, there are many applicable and interesting quotes, letters, and experiences. You will not be bored.

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