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on November 2, 1998
When my husband and I first decided to adopt a child, our adoption counselor asked that we read The Open Adoption Experience. We felt that we were "prepared for anything" after reading the book and continuously referred to it during the adoption process. It helped us to forge strong bonds with our birthfamily. Our son, Thomas, was born four years ago. As he grows and circumstances change, I find myself referring to this book time and again. Just today, I picked up the book to find learn about issues surrounding the impending birth of Thomas' first birth sibling. Open Adoption has been full of WONDERFUL surprises. This book, takes much of the stress and fear out of the open adoption experience.
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on September 13, 1998
I found this book to be extremely helpful in learning about all that is involved in open adoptions. I am a birthmother, and found that this book addressed the concerns and feelings of both the adoptive parents and the birth parents. I only wish I had read it earlier on in my pregnancy, when I had just begun to consider adoption, as it is a very helpful book not only for those already involved in open adoptions, but for those who are considering adoption also, as it contains a whole section on meeting and getting to know each other. Overall, a great book to read for all involved in open (and semi-open) adoptions.
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on September 17, 2003
I found this book really helpful, and wished that I had discovered it sooner. Besides just being a good primer on open adoption, it has very useful sections about "Readiness for Open Adoption", "Choosing Each Other", "Getting to Know Each Other" and parts titled "Birth and Placement" and "The Relationship Grows and Changes" - which discusses what to expect during the first year, and as the relationship grows and changes over time. It also discusses how open adoption affects the children in the families - adopted or otherwise. It also includes what to do/how to handle the situation when the Birthmom cancels the adoption plan. Overall, I thought it was a great book, as it had a good balance between the birth parents' perspective and that of the adoptive parents.
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on September 26, 2003
If I were adopting today and had read this thoughtful book, I would jump at the opportunity for an open adoption. The information on pre-adoption and placement aspects is persuasive for both adoptive and birth parents, especially since the author is non-judgmental. When you think about it, open adoption seems ideal for both parties involved. Really a utopia. I get goose bumps thinking about it. And yet. . . yet. . . The U.S. has gone from one extreme of adoption practice (secrecy) to another, openness. Unfortunately, the adversarial relationship between advocates and critics of openness in adoption is exacerbated by lack of empirical research. It is this lack of empirical evidence that should caution prospective adoptive parents about this new extreme practice. Lois Ruskai Melina�s book was published in 1993, but we have now at least one large longitudinal study on openness. Harold D. Grotevant and Ruth G. McRoy report in their study, Openness in Adoption, Exploring Family Connections (Sage 1998): �The clearest policy implication of our work is that no single type of adoption is best for everyone.� These authors warn that the long-term impact of openness for all parties in the adoptive kinship network is not known and longitudinal research is necessary to answer this question. We now have a generation of children who grew up in open adoptions, and we need to find out from them, now that they are adults, how they perceived the practice in their lives. We do not have such a comprehensive study of their experiences, but only anecdotal records. Even if some adoptive and birth parents like openness, this does not mean that the practice is good for the children. Some research also indicates that birthmothers who see their children suffer more than those who do not see them.
I am an adoptive mother of a secret adoption and was always opposed to secrecy, but since we met our wonderful birthmother 29 years later (she found us) I�m even more opposed to it, seeing what secrecy has done to her. I think I would have loved to have had an open arrangement with her, yet she says that she could not have coped with openness. It would have driven her insane to visit her baby and not be able to take her home. She would greatly have preferred a semi-open practice over a secret one. Incredible to me, our daughter, now age 34, would again have wanted a closed adoption because she does not want to think about the confusion her loving birthmother would have created in her child�s mind and heart. This issue drives one to distraction because one wants a clear answer to what practice is best, and there isn�t one.
Gisela Gasper Fitzgerald, author of ADOPTION: An Open, Semi-Open or Closed Practice?
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on October 21, 1997
Melina and Roszia's book is a must-have for anyone interested in open adoption. Particularly helpful for professionals and the birth and adoptive parents involved in an open adoption, "The Open Adoption Experience" covers every aspect of an adoption in which birth and adoptive parents seek to establish and maintain ongoing relationships. I highly recommend it.
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on November 20, 1997
When we were first considering adopting, this book answered all our questions about openness in the adoption process. The book gave us the knowledge and the confidence to actively seek an open adoption. And now that our adopted son is almost a year old, it's advice is still as relevant as ever. The book explains in accessible language, with compelling real-life examples, how an open adoption can benefit an adopted child, and how adoptive parents can help to make an open adoption work. Indispensible reading!
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on February 4, 2014
We had to go through a lot of classes prior to the adoption of our son. I thought this book would have more insight on dealing with open adoption than what I already know. Some of the ideas were not that practical and relevant to where we are today.
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on July 17, 2014
This book changed my life. My aunt, who worked on the board of an adoption agency, gave me this book when we knew we were going to be adopting. I put it on my shelf not sure if we would need it. Eventually our pastor introduced us to a young woman in our church who was looking for an adoptive family. I located the book and read through it quickly. It gave me a peace of mind about having such an open adoption where we would attend the same church and see the birth mom and some extended relatives weekly. There were several friends who were advising me against such an open adoption, but the book gave me the confidence to speak with some authority and not question my decision.

Six years later we no longer attend the same church but still get together at least 3-4 times a year. I do not regret our decision for an open adoption. I love my daughter's birth family and wouldn't change a thing.

Just as a side note: The WORST thing you can do is promise any form of open adoption and not follow through!
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on April 15, 2016
In the book Open Adoption Experience: Complete Guide for Adoptive and Birth Families – From Making the Decision Through the Child’s Growing Years by Lois Ruskai Melina we hear from two leading experts. They provide an authoritative and reassuring guide to the issues and concerns of adoptive and birth families through all stages of the adoption relationship.

I recommend this book to anyone thinking of adopting.

This was a good book that explored the side of both the adoptive parents and the birth parents. It showed their emotions and the grief they both go through. I really liked the advice and ideas they gave for almost every situation. I loved their ideas on how to talk to your children no matter at what age about when they were adopted. The overall theme of this book was a great one that no matter what decisions are made they should be made in the best interest of the child.

This book is a good book for birth parents and adoptive parents to read. It shows how to have an open and healthy adoption. What it could look like from both sides. The authors did a great job of showing many different situations and how to react to them.

This book was a realistic guide about what benefits and maybe even problems that could come up later in life, and how to handle them. I found this book encouraging and found myself wondering what our adoption will look like. Even if you are only thinking about adopting this is a good book. It will show you the accurate feelings you will experience and at the same time so is your birth mother. It also helped to show me that it is not only the birth mother who will be affected but her entire family.

Not all birth moms want to be involved but this is a great book for those who have a birth mom who does want contact. It helps prepare you for a big commitment and shows you what boundaries you should put in place before it is too late. They were talking about exchanging social security numbers which I think is a little out dated. Adoption agencies recommend not doing this now or at least ours did to protect identity theft and taxes etc. Like any other book you need to consider what you feel is right for your family and what won’t work for your family.

I rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars.
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on July 13, 2015
First the positives: The book covered all the topics I wanted more information on and also included subjects I hadn't yet considered. My family's current status in the adoption process is that we are waiting for our profile to be chosen by a birth mother, so we've thought a lot about adoption as we've already made the commitment. So it was good consider issues that we hadn't previously. For example, the authors discuss that it can be anticlimatic when the birth mother actually gives the adoptive parents the child and that sometimes it has to be an exchange in the hospital parking lot. Suggestions for a ritual/ceremony are a really good idea.
Now the negatives: As another reviewer noted, I found this book really negative. I am actually for open adoption and not "on the fence" about it, but after reading this book I couldn't help but consider if open adoption is good for anybody (birth and adoptive parents, and the child). The book makes it sound like every interaction can and will be painful, awkward, disappointing, etc. Maybe I'm naive because we haven't yet adopted, but I'd like to believe that, regardless of the level of openness, my future child won't be filled with angst at all times over their adoption story. Another issue is that right in the beginning of the book, the authors talk about fears and keep mentioning throughout the book that adoptive parents are worried about birth parents kidnapping the child. This is very extreme to me and not a fear that I have. And the last issue I wanted to note is that apart from a few specific good ideas (e.g., a ceremony for the exchange of the child), I felt the book was written in generalities that really weren't all that helpful.
So bottom line, the book definitely made us think about some topics we hadn't yet considered, but I have to believe that there's a better book out there.
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