These may be simple statements, but when this advice is applied to how you deal with your child's adoption status, whether open or closed, a very big impact for the well-being of not only the child but for the entire family is made.
This book also has plenty of real adoption experiences often presented as a vignette. These views into the lives of Lori's children, their birth-parents and other families touched by adoption allows us to see and feel Lori's advice in action. The reader is gently reminded of the benefits of letting go of fear and accepting the people who are important to the one's whom we love, including our children. We know we should be honest and truthful and we also know we should treat others in the same way we wish to be treated (aka: the golden rule). Sometimes we just need to be reminded about these things and Lori's book, The Open-Hearted Way To Open Adoption, does just that.
When it comes to our children, how could we not love the people who brought them into this world? How could we not also want to maintain contact with them in order to ensure our child is complete? Lori tells us that it is okay and even necessary to provide this type of contact with the birth families for our children's healthy emotional development.
I took away so many things from this book. One of my favorites is the school Genealogy Project advice. Not only did I encounter this problem growing up, (being told by my teacher to pretend that I had the same nationalities as my adoptive parents) but when it came time for my children to do their own Genealogy project at school, they wanted to include all four sides to their family tree even though their teacher said the chart wouldn't allow them to do so. Lori gives many different options on how one might navigate through these type of issues that arise when there is extended family.
Another favorite of mine is Lori's story about her son and how he answered his peer's question about why he didn't look like his Mom. He stated, "That's cause she adopted me." I always used to say "Because I'm adopted" to these types of questions and Lori is so right: it's a subtle difference but I never liked the way it defined me as being different just because someone else gave birth to me. Yes, adoption should be a verb and should describe what happened instead of who a person is.
There are endless scenarios one may encounter with open adoption and over and over again the advice and examples given guide the reader to "create the right mind-set and heart-set" in which answers can be found. This book gives you the necessary tools that will guide you to come to your own answers.
Not an easy task...
Now on to the discussion questions.
The child benefits from this perspective ('and/both') because he/she doesn't have to wonder or worry about who the original parents were and why they decided not to parent. It's okay for them to know the details about their own birth history and therefore, their self-esteem remains intact. Everyone knows what creative imaginations children have and the many scenarios they will conjure up about why they were given up for adoption when they don't know any of their own information! With information and contact, the child gets to see exactly where they got their red hair from, etc...and thus their identity is aided in forming properly.
Women, in general, are the gatekeepers of contact within their own respective family, whether that family is formed from adoption or not. I think this is a cultural phenomenon that exists throughout the world. Women have typically taken on the nurturing type role. They decide on the majority of the issues related to the health and well-being of the family including diet, clothing, healing and emotional support. It's no wonder then that when it comes time to arrange open adoptions that it will primarily be the women who will take charge and coordinate the logistics of how to maintain a healthy relationship for the child between the birth and adoptive families.
It has been my pleasure to read Lori's book and to participate in this tour.
Please return to the main post to read more opinions on Lori Holden's The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption