Category Archives: Adoptees

Why Open Adoption is Beneficial to Adoptees

Why Open Adoption is Beneficial to Adoptees

The definition of open adoption, according the dictionary, is “a form of adoption in which the biological parents participate in the process of placing the child with an adoptive family and may continue to have contact thereafter.” With most adoptions in the past being closed (no contact), there have been studies conducted on open vs. closed adoptions. What are the benefits? Why should a birth mother consider this option? When looking at adoptees and discovering themselves, open adoption has many benefits. Below is a list:

It will give your child a sense of identity

With closed adoptions, adoptees and adoptive families have no contact with the birth parents. This often leaves adoptees with questions of identity. Open adoption opens that line communication wherein the adoptee can develop a sense of self. Knowing who you look like and why you may possess certain qualities will deepen their understanding.

It will give your child more understanding of their medical background

It’s no secret that adoptees may develop the same allergies, ailments, and predispositions as their birth parents. Knowing this background before is helpful for the adoptee – when an unexpected condition arises that may be genetic, they can examine the birth parents’ medical history. Open adoption can open those medical records as a valuable tool for understanding.

It will give your child understanding of the adoption placement

Adoptees oftentimes struggle with understanding why they were placed for adoption. In addition to blaming themselves for their placement, adoptees also create make-believe worlds about their birth parents, Open adoption eliminates this possibility – they will have the truth.

It will eliminate the “finding out” they are adopted

Adoptees who are a part of a closed adoption often are not told they are adopted until later in life. This presents possibilities of trauma and emotional disarray. It is more common in open adoptions that children know they are adopted because it is never abruptly brought to their attention. It becomes a part of their story.

It will give your child a connection with birth siblings and family

Open adoption opens the door to birth parents’ children, parents, siblings, etc. As an adoptee, they will be able to form a relationship with these family members (if they would like). This will make them feel connected.

If you are contemplating open vs. closed adoption, consider the pros and cons of both. Open adoption provides many benefits for the adoptee. However, in the end, adoption is another way to build a beautiful family and it is your choice!




New Year, New Language

In the new year, we all strive to make resolutions in hopes to transform our outlooks on life. We may want to exercise more to become stronger or reach out more frequently to friends and loved ones. Awareness is one of the most popular resolutions with which we want to utilize to our advantage, whether it be cultural, political, or social. With 1 in 25 American households with children have at least one adopted child, adoption is a topic of which so many want to become more aware. What many of us do not know is that the common language and phrasing associated with adoption is not only insensitive to all involved parties, but it also conveys the long-rooted ignorance towards the subject.

  1. “Real” or “biological” vs. “birth” parent

Individuals who have not yet experienced adoption often misconceive that birth parents are lazy and do not want to raise their children. This cannot be further from the truth. Everyone’s familial situation is unique, and we cannot judge books by their covers. Just became a child does not share the same genetics as his or her parents does not make him or her any less of that parents’ child.

  1. “Give up” vs. “place”

The phrase “give up” is one of the most commonly misused phrases when discussing adoption. A birth parent does not simply give up his or her child out of convenience; the adoption process takes up to several months of careful thought and planning. The birth parents also have much more of a say when selecting the family with whom they want to place their children.

  1. “Adoptive” parent vs. “parent”

Each family’s dynamic is different and special in its own way, whether built through adoption or biologically. The phrase “adoptive parent” not only invalidates the parent’s status; it additionally isolates that person in terms of his or her ability to raise a child. A parent is a parent, regardless of how he or she built a family.

Sibling Bond: Welcoming the Adoptee

One of parents’ biggest fears involved in adopting a child is the unknown relationship your other children will share with the newest member of the family. Through that concern, it’s important to remember that new relationships always have an adjustment period and it’s no different with children. Adoptive siblings are no different than biological siblings in the sense that they won’t always get along. Ultimately, they are siblings and that bond will be formed no matter how it happened. Here are a few ways that you can help siblings bond with their new adoptive sibling.

Be Open And Honest

Before the change begins, have a discussion with your children about changes in their life. Just like you would if you were pregnant, let them know that there is a sibling joining the crew that is eager to meet them. It’s important to be transparent about all forms of adoption, especially bi-racial adoption. Children are very inquisitive individuals and they’re going to notice changes. Have the talk, be open to any and all questions your children may already have. Preparing them for a sibling through adoption will profit the outcome.

Play Your Role As The Mediator

Every person involved in the growing family is going to have their own complex set of emotions through the process, especially the children. As adults, it’s crucial to be all ears for your children on any questions or concerns they have. All feelings need to be taken into consideration for a smooth transition to take place in your home. Children may surprise you with how vocal and honest they can be about their concerns . Conflict is easily avoided with an appropriate amount of listening and learning.

Enforce One On One Sibling Time Together

I know what you’re probably thinking… this is a given. All children need to spend time together in order to get to know each other, but the key is knowing what they both enjoy and can do together. Finding common ground and interests with others at any age is the first step to forming a connection and will certainly assist in the bonding process of new siblings. Whether the bonding is presented with direct contact or within the same vicinity, the experience of the time together will help. Your children being happy and comfortable together will always end in acceptance and relationships.

Sibling bonding will happen in all sorts of ways, all very different. With that being said, every experience will be unique to the child and their needs will be too. Don’t overthink the situation, every child loves siblings and a forever friend to play with. Keep the process light, loving, fun and embrace every minute of adoption!

Searching for my Heritage

In my previous blog I mentioned not knowing anything about my birth family.  Not having much information about them has left me with questions, specifically about my genetic heritage. It’s something my parents and I have been curious about for the past 28 years.  Yes, we have our guesses and yes, I know I’m Mexican and American, but I would love to know where my ancestors are from.  Today websites like 23andMe and advertise genetic testing that will give you an idea of your genetic makeup.  I am curious about these sites but still feel conflicted as to whether I will utilize them.

Several years ago, before genetic testing was popular, I heard a report that research and testing was being done to see if it was possible to pinpoint where people were from based on their DNA. I was absolutely fascinated! I could finally have the answers I wanted. The only problem was that it was just a study. I talked to my parents about it, and we thought it would be cool to find out where I was from. So, we started asking doctors to see if they had any suggestions or recommendations on how to proceed. That didn’t get me very far. I was told time after time that they didn’t know or that it was a very expensive thing to do. Money wasn’t the problem, my parents told me that if I wanted to go ahead with the testing, we would figure out a way to make it happen.

Finding out my heritage and genetic make-up is something I will always be searching for. It’s been a little over 10 years since I heard about genetic testing and I don’t feel like I’m any closer to finding out where I’m from. I plan on waiting until I can find a genetic test that I’m 100% confident will protect my identity. I just want to be able to share my heritage with my family.

By no means am I discouraging anyone else from using these sites or other methods of finding out your genetic information. Just be aware of the fine print and make sure you are ready for anything.


We Might Not Look Alike, But We Look Like We Belong Together


My mom met my dad while he was finishing up his doctorate and my mom was working for the Health Department in Pittsburgh. They dated for a while, got married and moved to Mexico after my dad received his Doctorate. I should mention that my dad was born and raised in Mexico and my mom is from the USA. They moved to Mexico because my dad received a scholarship from the Government and to pay it back he had to return to Mexico and work at a state school.

My parents always wanted to have kids, but there was one thing that was holding them back from kids of their own. My adoptive mom is a carrier of a rare genetic disorder that can be passed on to biological children. She decided that she didn’t want to take the risk of passing it on to her children. That’s when the idea of adoption came into the picture. They started their adoption journey a few years later.


My Adoption:

I was born in a hospital in Puebla, Mexico. I would love to give more details but I don’t know that information. To be honest I have little to no information about my first days. All anyone knew was my birthday and blood type. From the hospital, I went to an orphanage where my primary care takers were nuns. I was there for two weeks before I was matched with my parents. While the paper work got started, my parents came to visit me every day during feeding times. After 6 weeks of daily visits my parents got a surprise call saying that they had received custody of me and they were finally able to take me home! The next part I don’t remember at all but to this day I still hear about it.

My parents were not prepared for my arrival. They didn’t buy much baby stuff because they didn’t want to jinx it. The day they got the call to bring me home they scrambled to get the necessities and call the family to let them know the wonderful news. My aunts and uncles came to visit as soon as they could. After they got off the phone with my parents, my aunts pulled my cousins out of school, went shopping and headed right over meet me.

My adoption was finalized several months later.

My Life:

My parents never kept my adoption a secret. I was about 3 when I first asked my mom about it. One of my mom’s good friends was pregnant at the time and I turned to my mom and asked, “I came from your belly too, right mommy?” That is where our conversations about my adoption started. They always said “We might not look alike, but we look like we belong together!” and answered every question I had as honestly as they could, but they also didn’t have much information.

To this day if I ask my mom why she thinks I was placed for adoption, she will say “I have a feeling your birth mom was too young and couldn’t provide the life she wanted for you. But I do know she loved you very much”. I’ll probably never know the real reason why, but with the answers from my parents I have all the answers I’ll ever need.



Growing Up As An Adoptee: What They Want You To Know

Growing Up As An Adoptee: What They Want You To Know

Open adoption has changed the platform for adoptees by giving them answers, both about their backgrounds and their birth parents’ background. As an adoptee grows older in age, questions begin to surface and adoptive parents’ primary job shifts to educate their child about their own adoption. The idea of open adoption is a beneficial experience for children to comprehend their adoption stories, while gaining the chance to meet the parents they originated from. Although the roles of a birth mother and adoptive parent look different, they are equally important.

Girl, Father, Portrait, Eyes, Outdoor, People, Cute

Open adoption is so special and should be celebrated

What adoptees want others to know is that they are grateful for the family they have been given – both adoptive and birth families. In the beginning, when gaining information about their adoption, it can be emotional. Adoption is another avenue of creating a forever family and a home. Juliana Whitney, author of What Growing Up In An Open Adoption Has Taught Me, discusses what open adoption means to her. “It is having the ability to ask your birth parents the questions that adoptees in closed adoptions rarely get answered. It means being able to develop a thorough understanding of how and why you wound up somewhere other than in a home with your biological parents. It’s been an unforgettable experience. (Whitney)”

Balls, Balloon, Balloons, Rubber, Plastic, Fly, Helium

All adoptees have their own personal feelings towards adoption

Whether these feelings begin with questions such as, “why didn’t my parents keep me?” or curiosity stems about their backgrounds, every child experiences their adoption story differently. As confusion and possible sadness begins to run through the veins of adoptees, the most important concept to remind them of is that there was a never a moment in time they were unwanted or unloved. Reassurance towards these fragile emotions help the process become easier and less overwhelming.

Daisy, Heart, Daisy Heart, Love, Heart Shaped, Romantic

I am adopted or I was adopted?

After the adoptee was given a new beginning, they want you to know they WERE adopted. That title is a part of them but it’s not how adoptees want to be recognized. They have and are creating a life of their own, while understanding the roots they came from. This helps them in defining their own identity.

I, Self-Esteem, Self Liberation, Self-Reflection

Final advice from adoptees

  • “Answer any questions that your adoptee has. The earlier you tell them about their adoption process, the more time they have to understand it and the more time you have as the parent to help them understand. (Whitney)”
  • If an adoptee wants further information about their birth family, don’t take it too personally. This process does not mean the adoptee doesn’t love the family they were given. It’s a route adoptees choose to take to help fill some blanks they could be experiencing emotionally.
  • Read about adoption. Not just blogs or books, but do research about adoption. Adopted children are at a higher risk for certain behaviors such as moodiness, stress and uncertainty. It’s important to become familiar with their emotions so an adoptive parent is prepared to take the steps to either prevent them from happening or help their adoptee identify and resolve the issue.

Board, School, Self Confidence, Continue, Discourage


Which is Correct? Is Adopted or Was Adopted

As a parent of a child who came to your home by means of adoption, more often than not over time you forget how you became a family and instead focus on being a family. As a waiting family, all you do is live and breathe adoption. Even afterwards, while you are introducing your little one to the world, much of your time and discussions revolve around adoption.

I’ve heard adoptive parents say that adoption was a one-time thing and so they always make a point to say that their child was adopted when it pertains to the discussions.

But then, from listening to the voices of adoptees I would guess that the majority of adoptees feel as though adoption has impacted their lives forever and so thinking of themselves as an adoptee and not someone who was once adopted may feel more accurate.

Different terms are appropriate for different purposes.

As a mother, I don’t want my child to feel as though his whole identity is solely centered on adoption. But as a parent, I need to understand how my son may feel now and as he grows older as adoption as a part of his story. I don’t want to chalk everything in his life up to the fact that he was adopted but I also don’t want to assume that none of his struggles are adoption related either.

So what’s the right answer?

Well, it’s a balance. Just like marriage begins one day marked by a wedding, it’s also a lifestyle and commitment to someone else’s needs as well as your own? So is adoption. The act of adoption has several specific days associated with the process however being adopted or being an adoptee is lifelong and becomes a part of one’s identity. It’s a part, a piece, of who someone is.

I believe one of the most important and maybe hardest parts of parenting an adoptee is allowing space for ALL his or her feelings surrounding adoption. The good and the bad. Adoption is tough and unless we are adoptees’ ourselves, we cannot fully understand what our children are feeling. However, we can create an environment of open dialogue. Where our children feel ok sharing their feelings without worrying about how their own feelings might impact us.

The last thing I want is for my son to hold back his true feelings because he is worried about how I might feel about his feelings. He needs to know that my love for him is stronger than any uncomfortable conversation. That, to me, his feelings are just as important as my own.