NOTE: This is actually a post I wrote a while ago when Lori Holden’s book first came out. I found it while going through some of my old stuff. I couldn’t post it after I wrote it, but I’ve come to feel differently after letting it sit for a while.
The Open-Hearted Way To Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole by Lori Holden with Crystal Haas should be required reading for every adoptive parent, potential adoptive parent and every expectant mother considering relinquishing their child to adoption. If you find yourself uncomfortable with any of the suggestions made, then you should re-examine your motives for considering relinquishment or adopting a child. If the relationship with your child’s adoptive family or birth family is strained, then this is the book you should be reading for help.
Lori and Crystal have dedicated themselves to making their daughter’s adoption about what every adoption should be about, the child. This kind of relationship cannot have been easy to develop. It took time and the commitment of all the adults. This kind of endeavor is not for the faint of heart. I firmly believe, however, if an adoption is necessary, this is how it should be done.
To be honest, reading parts of this book made me cry. I cried in part because it gave me hope there are people out there who understand the grief experienced by the adopted individual and their original family is real. It wasn’t minimized or fictionalized in any way. I cried because the author celebrated the fact there were more people to love the child they were parenting. She didn’t exclude out of fear or jealousy. I cried because it validated my right to grieve.
Unfortunately, so many, my granddaughter’s adoptive parents included, seem to buy into the old adage the child they adopted is theirs as if the child were born to them. They want to believe whatever happened before the child came in to their doesn’t matter. The people who helped bring them into this world do not matter, and they most definitely do. Lori does an amazing job trying to explain this from the position of an adoptive parent. I hope other adoptive parents and potential adoptive parents listen.
I originally signed up to participate in the book tour for this book. I found myself conflicted in the end and dropped out because I felt some may think I’m encouraging adoption. I am not, and I don’t believe the author is either. She advises prospective adoptive parents to do their homework and investigate the agency they are using to ensure the expectant parents are not coerced in any way. She provides excellent guidance in including an adoptees’ first family in their lives. The only way I can see this book being improved is more advice for an expectant mom prior to relinquishment, but maybe that is a book for another author.