With open adoption being a fairly new legal process that many prospective adoptive parents have many questions about, the New York Times recently decided to publish an article discussing the implications and possible impact of an open adoption. By using one family participating in an open adoption as a case study, Ryan Smith discussed the benefits, drawbacks, and potential concerns of open adoption to help families struggling with the decision. According to Smith, thousands of children and adoptive parents are involved in open adoptions ever year in the United States. Many of the parents keep in touch with the adoption agencies during the process and often openly discuss their experiences with open adoption.
Smith used the Cadence family as an illustration for open adoptions in his article. Shandra and Bill Cadence reside in the suburbs of New York City and have adopted three siblings from the same family in an open adoption process. When discussing the open adoption process with Smith, the Cadence family revealed their intentions to adopt only one child in this manner. After adopting the first child from a mother who was not suitable to raise children at the time, the Cadence family received information that the mother had become pregnant a second time. Not wanting the mother’s second child and their adopted child’s sibling to be abandoned or raised by anther family, the Cadence family chose to adopt the second and third child as a part of their family. The family’s open adoption process is both rewarding and difficult. The Cadences revealed that they enjoyed the aspect of open adoption that allowed their children to know and love their biological mother as an extended member of their family. The family is also frequently disappointed, however, at the mother’s inconsistent behavior. Her visits with her biological children are sometimes frequent, but are sometimes missing altogether. This inconsistency often upsets the adoptive children.
Ultimately, Smith reported that the Cadence family are pleased with the fact that the open adoption has allowed them to have a relationship with the biological mother that would not have been possible in a closed adoption.