Open adoption is a general term that refers to contact between birth and adoptive families. Most domestic infant adoptions today encompass some degree of openness. In several states, open adoption relationships are defined and agreed upon in a legally binding contract. In other states, however, the agreement is an informal one between the parties involved, without the legal underpinnings. Ask your agency or adoption resource which laws will apply to you.
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It’s an age old question, isn’t it? Nature vs. Nurture.
We know, of course, that this isn’t an either/or proposition. Both are part of us and influences of each are important building blocks to our sense of self. And this sense changes as we mature. Adoption can add a layer of complexity to this, too.
As an adopted person grows up, their understanding of who they are and what is influencing them becomes more nuanced and complex. Questions, for instance, about birth family or the circumstances of their placement may become more pointed and harder to answer. Or there may be a tendency to avoid the topic altogether.
As parents, we want to be there for our children as they struggle. Yet adopted persons, especially teens and 'tweens, may keep much of these adoption and identity struggles to themselves. So it’s hard to know how to help.
Join us as Michelle Madrid-Branch, an internationally placed adopted person, shares her personal struggles on the topic. An accomplished author and speaker, Michelle has explored her own journey to self more than most of us. Her insights are sharp and candid as she relays what it looked like for her to come to terms with the various, difficult aspects of her story and how she pieced together for herself the things that mattered going forward.
Building from Michelle's story, Carmen Knight, an experienced adoption therapist and transracially placed adopted person herself, will expand upon the lessons from Michelle's story and thereby help parents learn how to: