Openness in adoption is no longer a novel discussion, but a conversation with a friend has got me wondering how degrees of separation bear on degrees of openness? For example, what if the birth parents want ongoing contact with the child, but the birth grandparents or siblings want to remain anonymous? What if the grandparents are the ones who want contact and the birth parents are against it?
Or in my friend's case: Her cousin, Jim, was adopted at birth and has never expressed any interest in finding his birth parents. Although the adoption was closed, Jim's mother accidentally found out who is birth mother is, that she lives in the next town over, and that knows that she had another son after placing Jim for adoption. The birth mother has raised the second son to adulthood. Neither Jim nor his birth mother are aware that Jim's mother (and several other family members) has this information.
The question is, should someone enlighten Jim against his parents' wishes?
Arguments for: Jim is an adult. He was raised as an only child, and his parents are elderly. Wouldn't it be great for him to find out that he has a brother? Doesn't he deserve to know that his birth mother lives nearby? Although he hasn't expressed any interest in finding his birth parents, he might feel differently about a bio sibling. Give him the information and let him decide what to do or not do. If he finds out later that his family knew all along, he may feel hurt, angry, etc. that he was the last to know.
Arguments against: The adoption was closed. His birth family shouldn't have their privacy compromised just because his parents accidentally have information they're not supposed to have. He's never been interested in finding his birth parents, and surely he's considered the possibility that he has bio siblings. If he finds out that his birth mother raised her other son, he may feel deeply hurt, rejected, etc. His parents are squarely against the idea.
What do you think?
Here's a beautiful quote from The Daily Hailey Report blog:
"We believe in a birthmother's right to choose. If she has the courage to place, she has the wisdom and right to choose her child's parents."
Sally Bacchetta - Freelance Writer