I think it's important to explain the various facets of adoption, since it will be a re-occurring topic on our blog. There are 2 types of adoption:
1) An Agency-Assisted Adoption- This is how we brought Hannah home. We signed up with an agency, essentially giving them full responsibility for finding moms (she isn't a birth mom until she gives birth and places her baby) and presenting our family to them. They were with us from the beginning; home study, matching us with Hannah's birth-parents, legal paperwork, and placing Hannah in our home.
2) A Private Adoption- When a family learns of a mom through a family member, friend, or friend of a friend... of a friend... of a friend :-). In this case, the family and the mom will attain an attorney who will assist them in the legal process. The relationship between the family and the mom is built privately.
There are 3 sub-categories of adoption that define the relationship between the adoptive family and the birth-parents;
1) A closed adoption- There is no communication between the adoptive family and the birth-parents after placement. This type of adoption is most common today in international adoptions where there is little or no information about the child's birth-parents.
2) A semi-open adoption- In a semi-open adoption, communication between the adoptive family and the birth-family happens through mediation (either through the adoption agency or a social-worker); All personal information is kept private (phone number, address, email address, last names), in most cases. Have you seen any episodes of MTV's Teen Mom? Caitlin & Tyler have a semi-open adoption with Carly & her parents.
3) An open adoption- In an open adoption, there is personal communication between the adoptive family and the birth-parents through phone calls, emails, mail, and visits. The 'openness' of this adoption is agreed to by both parties.
Whether an adoption is closed, semi-open, or open is completely dependent of every situation, and they're all different. One is not better than another.
We have an open relationship with Hannah's birth-family. We communicate with them through mail, letters, pictures, email, phone calls, and visits, when possible. We feel strongly that Hannah should have full access to her biological roots and we have been truly blessed by our relationship with them. We will always be able to tell Hannah about the love her birth-family has for her, not because they've told us, but because we've seen their love for her firsthand.
We are praying for an open adoption this second time around. Though we've signed up with an agency here in Kansas City, we feel strongly that our next baby (or babies) could come to us through a private adoption... we can only pray that we remain open to the plan that God has for us this second time around. As much as I love my own plans for my life, God has proven to me over and over again that His plan is better than my own. After all, that's what He promises...
"I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."
Mmmm... don't you just love it when Jesus talks right to your heart?