How Open Adoption Impacted A Recent Medical Scare

In today’s post, Sue Reardon talks about how open adoption impacted a recent medical scar.

If you are anything like me, you probably look forward to the holidays. You create picture perfect scenarios where the children are all well behaved in their matching outfits, not a hair out of place. Where tears are not shed, kids don’t fight and the food all magically prepares itself. A Hallmark commercial I suppose. Well, let’s just say that I have yet to experience one of those holidays, and this year Independence Day was no different!

After returning from a quick one night camping adventure, we decided to have a low key July 4th cook-out at my mother-in-law’s. As we worked around the kitchen, my mother-in-law tells my husband to close the door to the basement “so the baby doesn’t fall down the stairs”. I reply with, “she is fine, she does stairs all of the time” because, after all, who listens to their mother-in-law. Moments later, as luck would have it, my little one tumbles down the stairs.

Fast forward several hours to our local emergency department. She has been seen, we know her arm is fractured and we are waiting to hear how badly. We are convinced that it’s a standard break and she will be casted and sent home at any moment. The orthopedist tells us different when he coyly sneaks in that she will be sent “upstairs for the night” where it will be “fixed” in the morning. “Fixed”, as in, SURGERY? Our baby will need surgery! Needless to say, my husband and I were not quite as calm and brave as our little girl.

open adoption

The physician goes on to talk about what the surgery will entail as well as the risks- blood loss, allergic reactions, complications with anesthesia, etc. He also asks about blood or clotting disorders or anything else that might put her at risk for complications, assuming we don’t have much in the way of family medical histories. What he doesn’t know, is that we have already been in contact with our daughter’s birth family. For us, those answers are just a phone call away. Of course there are the medical records we are provided with upon our children being placed with us, but that is a static document. A snapshot of medical conditions, taken at a single point in time that doesn’t account for future discoveries. In a moment filled with fear and anxiety, we were able to reach out to her family and learn that there were no known conditions that would put our daughter at further risk. And that little bit of knowledge brought tremendous comfort. She would not be taken from us under the assumption that there were no known family risks, but rather the knowledge that there weren’t. And to me, that was invaluable.

I have to imagine that her birthmom also takes comfort in knowing that she doesn’t have to wonder how she is doing. Is she hurting, ill, injured? She has confidence in knowing that she is one of the first to know about new accomplishments and celebrations as well as illness and injury.

This is just one, of so many, examples of how our family has benefit from having a fully open adoption.

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