The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points--please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
How do/would you talk with children about siblings in open adoption? How do you approach this as a (first or adoptive) parent, or how was it handled in your family if you grew up with siblings who didn't live with you? For prospective adoptive parents or first parents without other children, has this been something you've thought about how you would approach?
I've thought about this quite a bit as I plan children in my future. This was an easier topic to approach when I was in a traditionally open adoption, and a hard one to plan for as I struggle towards that openness again. The discussion I was planning for future kids while I was still with E's bio dad is different from the discussion I will now have with any future children, as we have split up.
While with E, it was to be a discussion of how young our relationship had been, how neither of us were prepared for children. We knew that having a baby would be really hard and that he would need a family that was secure enough in their relationship with one another to weather the stress of a child. Financially we were not ready either and would hate to put B in a position of not having (whoops, that didn't work!). I would refer to B as their older sibling, unless they stated at some point that they would prefer me not to.
Now that E and I have split, there is a different approach brewing in my head. I don't know that I will ever tell my future children of the struggles that E put me through, but I will tell them that I knew he was not the right person for me to raise children with. B would have been put in danger and in bad emotional situations. I love B too much for that, and have from the start. I think that will be important -- letting my children know that I do love B and have always. They will know of him as their sibling still. I hope they do get to meet him and love him as I do. They will also know that their father WAS the right person, that I was prepared this time and that I will NEVER leave them (abandon, whichever fear they might be feeling).
This said, the siblings will only be made with a man who is willing to understand and support my adoption. I will not keep future babies from B or B from them due to someone's insecurity. Chris (or whomever I make these babies with) will have to be willing to meet B, our future child's sibling. Whether I am raising B or not, he is a part of my family and I will not deny that.
Who am I kidding? I have no idea how to be a proper, every day mom. Honesty. That is how I will handle it.
With Love Always