Open Adoption Does Not Solve Every Problem
Does this mean that open adoption solves all the problems of an adopted child? Of course not. Open adoption does mean bringing the child's birthparents into the adoptive family as relatives; not all family relationships work out. Perhaps the adopting parents and birthparents will grow apart in their values or ideas and no longer feel comfortable with each other. The same can happen between the adopted child and their birthparents. As the child grows older, they may find they also differ with their birthparents on important matters. In each of these cases, the relationship between the adoptive family and the birthparents can be strained and the relationship eventually broken off.
Nor does open adoption mean all the issues of being adopted disappear for a child. Even with open adoption, even if their birthparents' decision was for the best of reasons, the adopted child can still feel rejected. Those feelings can be difficult to handle, especially for a teenager struggling with their identity. Open adoption also does not eliminate all the problems of normal parenting. Adopted children are no better or worse than any other children. The joys and struggles are the same.
As soon as Jane got her driver's license, she came right to me and asked if she could borrow the family car next Saturday. I said "No, I want to be with you when you drive, for the next few weeks anyway." She answered angrily, "Well, I bet my birthmother would have let me use the car!"
But I didn't take the bait. Only the other day, my friend Jack told me he had the same exact argument with his son. Only his son—who is not adopted—said "I bet Jane's Dad is nicer than you and lets her use the car."
No one has ever said that parenting or being parented is easy and neither is being an adoptive parent or an adopted child. Yet the problems are so much easier to overcome when the child's adoption is open and above-board, when their adoption has been a source of pride and caring ever since they all entered into each other's lives.