By Norm Levine, Adoptive Grandparent.
Open, is among my favorite words. It carries special significance for me. Whether it be an open-arms, open-faced sandwich, an open-hearted person or a sign on a door. I have two personal reasons for embracing the word.
When my youngest daughter was born deaf we set about to teach her how to lip-read and speak. We were instructed to create situations in which she was encouraged to say the word, open, to make the world move for her, to make it her own. Open became her first word and a portal to the hearing world.
Years later when my eldest daughter, Shari, sought to adopt children I was so pleased that she went the route of open adoption. The concept of open adoption enabled me, as a grandparent, to enjoy an extended family beyond anything I’d imagined.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know Faith, the birthmother of my grandson, Gabriel, over the years. Though we are separated by many miles my wife and I have joined her for Thanksgiving dinner as well as other shared experiences. I hope, someday, to meet my granddaughter, Adrienne’s birthparents as well.
Open in all its dimensions suggests inclusion, and a welcoming. One knows it is right because it feels right. It’s a joining, a bringing together without needless walls or secrets. As in the case of my deaf daughter, an open adoption is a way for a child to make the world his own. Children enter a world of transparency and the option of a wide reach of half-brothers and sisters in loving relationships.
Photo: Open adoptees Adrienne and Gabriel, grandchildren of Norm.