One Reason Why Open Adoptions Are Helpful

Last year, I delivered the keynote address to the Together For Adoption Conference, held in North Carolina.  This keynote was entitled "Beyond Closure," as I  showed clips from the documentary and expounded upon different scenes offering a different perspective. 

There is one particular scene towards the end of the documentary that is particularly emotional for viewers. I felt that this scene warranted additional focus and an opportunity for me to provide a different lens for which to understand the long-term effects of that moment. Particularly through my birthmother, Deborah's perspective. 

When I was 26 years old, Deborah, was given an envelope that contained 18 years worth of pictures and letter updates from my parents about the city where I was growing up, piano recitals, basketball game updates, yearly school photos, annual holiday updates etc. The adoption agency neglected their responsibility to deliver these items to Deborah, and thus she received them all in one sitting after I'd reunited with her. At this conference, I spoke about one of the long term ramifications of Deborah being denied this information on a yearly basis; becoming frozen in time - stuck in her moment of trauma.

This is a clip from that speech: 

AUDIO TRANSCRIPT:

"...one of the ramifications of that is that my birthmother continues to look around for a baby. Ya know, even when I'm with her, she's looking trying to find her baby, an infant. Because she's stuck in that trauma, which could've been resolved with an open adoption, or even just pictures and letters - if she wasn't ready to meet me. This could've helped her to understand that I grew up."

Throughout our lives, we all experience significant events that impact our perceptions of the world and determine how we interpret and respond to future experiences. These events elicit powerful thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations that can become imprinted upon the mind. They are moments frozen in time.
— -Gaetano Vaccaro, PhD, is Director of Program Development and Deputy Clinical Director at Moonview Sanctuary, a psychological treatment center in Santa Monica, California.