I think adoption suffers the worst bad rep from people--adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents--from closed adoptions. Not all of them, of course. But I think some of the worst adoption experiences out there come from closed adoptions, and I think we're still paying for them.
I talk about adoption a lot. Last night, I talked to a man whose 15-year-old daughter is pregnant. She doesn't want to consider adoption because her aunt placed a baby [in a closed adoption] and has regretted it her whole life. Naturally, she has been swaying her niece against placing, for that reason.
That mentality frustrates me. Does the aunt understand why she has regretted her choice? Is it because it was the wrong decision? Or was it because she has dealt with all those unanswered questions ever since? Was it because she should have kept her baby? Or was it grief that she was never able to process?
Adoption is an individual experience. Each person goes through an adoption experience in a unique and different way. But I have met a lot of birth moms over the last year and more, and I can tell you--almost invariably, the birthmothers from open adoptions are more complete, better healed, and more at peace with their decision.
Adoption doesn't have to be agonizing. It doesn't have to be horrible. It doesn't have to be a terrible sacrifice. There is grief, there is pain. But there is also a sweet, wonderful joy. There is the peace and satisfaction, knowing that we have made the right decision--the best decision for that sweet baby.