Adoption Myth: Open Adoption is Co-Parenting

zack fried
By Zack Fried

My mother often recounts a story from my 2nd birthday party, and I try to hold back my emotions each and every time I hear it. During the party, I fell off of a small slide and began crying. My birth mom was the first to see me crying and she instinctively picked me up. She proceeded to carry me over to my mother, placed me in her arms and explained, “He needs his mom.”

Open Adoption is a topic that provokes many fears and concerns for those going through the adoption process. Many wrongly assume that having an open adoption means the birth parent(s) will be co-parenting alongside them, the child’s parents.

Adoptive parents are real and natural in every way, shape, and form. Therefore, they will be making all the important decisions, changing their children’s diapers, taking them to school, planning their birthday parties, etc. While birth parents (and birth family) may be a part of the child’s life, they do not play the same role that parents do.

Birth parents look at the parent(s) of the child as just that…the parent(s)! They have made the selfless decision to make an adoption plan for the child in the hopes that the child can grow up with loving parents who will cherish him/her with every fiber of their being. Much like adoptive parents respect birth parents, birth parents highly respect adoptive parents.

Regardless of what level of openness an adoption has, the relationship between the birth and adoptive families is a beautiful one. There is a common desire for a child’s best interest to be fulfilled. There is a lot of love for the child, just different types of love.

The above-mentioned story is a pivotal moment in my early open adoption, as it solidified for my parents that my birth mom truly respects them. Also, it illustrated that my birth mom understood something quite simple – my mom was the person best equipped to help me and comfort me after the fall.