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August 3, 2005

Miss Manners - Making the World Safe for Open Adoption

I started to read Miss Manners' column (link to the Washington Post may require free registration) this morning with some trepidation. The mother of a young man who placed his baby in an open adoption was writing to see what her birth granddaughter should call her when she is old enough to talk.

Fortunately, Miss M's answer was consistent with the fact that the world of open adoption is a part of the larger scene of complex families, in which children often have membership in multiple families and have to figure out and manage complex relationships. She noted, "Your granddaughter could easily acquire an entire club of grandparents..."

Her suggestion seemed wise: figure out names that "work" for her family - perhaps combining the word Grandma or Grandpa with their first name. She also counseled, "...remember that you are dependent on the goodwill of people who are not related to you. Miss Manners strongly advises you to ascertain the consent of the adoptive parents and not preempt the choices of their parents." Sensible advice. Open adoption involves complex relationships, and "goodwill" is the lubrication that makes the system work.

Posted by hgroteva at August 3, 2005 9:23 AM | Adoption