"The saddest day of my life was the happiest day of your life", wrote Ottawa social worker, Carol Shipley, in her book, Love, Loss, and Longing: Stories of Adoption, quoting her birth mother upon meeting Carol's adoptive mother. 

No doubt, adoption brings a complexity to one's psyche that otherwise may not exist if a different choice was made. But who would argue with the plan to have a family raise a child with all the necessary aspects of life - stability, consistency, structure, and love - rather than have a family raise the child who is not able to provide in this way?  Does this mean that adoption always work out in an optimal way for the child? No, of course not. Adoptive parents get divorced, struggle with parenting, and have to cope with unforeseen stresses. Why should adoptive parents be any different than the wider population?

Even in those families, where relative stability is in tact throughout the child's life, what about that blood connection to the adopted child? Does the importance of this connection disappear once the child is placed with their loving adoptive family? Although, there are some who will tell you that they are not interested in knowing who they were born to nor do they seem to show any typical signs of dysfunction as a result of being adopted, we do know that many people feel just the opposite. The prevailing theories of a deep seeded sense of loss and abandonment do appear to exist for many adopted people and do, in fact, impede their functioning at some level. 

So what are we to do to make the best of a potentially challenging situation for the child, who rarely has a say in the plans that are made on their behalf? Well folks, don't ask me for statistics to back this up, but my professional instinct based on reason and anecdotal evidence tells me there is only one answer to this question. We must recognize the right for a child to know who he/she is. In her book, Carol reports that her "two parts came together" after her adoptive mother and birth mother met and she no longer felt her depression and lifelong fear of rejection. 

Yes, open adoption may be tricky, especially at the beginning when parents are unfamiliar with the notion of bringing 'strangers' into the intimate web of their family. But, remember, adoptive and birth parents made this choice, not the child. If you are feeling hesitant to become involved in an open adoption, please ask yourself what harm can come from allowing your child to know what is rightfully his/her - the basic information of one's existence.e.g. Who did I come from?  

So listen, if you're still uncomfortable with the notion of open adoption, I suggest that you practice the mantra: "Open adoption is in the best interests of my child." Take a deep breath, prepare for the challenges, and love your child. Isn't that what we're supposed to do as parents?