Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why I Love Open Adoption

I was on FB this morning and our adoption agency had a link to a great write-up in response to -what I think were- some major bloopers by the Tod.ay Sh.ow. I never watch the show, so I didn't see it when it was aired, but apparently the show was "ask the experts" and the "experts" were asked about closed versus open adoption. The "experts" were an attorney, an advertising exec and a physician. The only one who did have any experience with adoption had a closed adoption and her daughter had (it seemed recent because she didn't mention finding the birthmother) come to her to ask about her birthparents. Here's the link to the write-up, and a link to the clip from the show is in there as well. I thought the author's two children (both adopted) had the best response to the show!

If you had asked me when we first began exploring the option of adoption, my first reaction would have been that I wanted a closed adoption. I wanted complete severance - sure, maybe a photo or two, or the original birth certificate in a box hidden in the closet - if absolutely necessary, but I wanted to be in control--as one of the TS's 'experts' said. I wanted to KNOW that I was my child's mother. 

Fast forward two years...

I'm an adoptive mother. I love my son more than I even though possible. When people ask me how it feels... well... I never knew my heart could hold this much joy.

My son is blessed though, because he has two mothers who love him. C's birthmother chose life. She knew that she could not parent at the time he was born. So she chose us. I write this fresh from a recent meeting (this past weekend) with her. It was the first time she saw him since we were at the hospital together. And I saw the same thing on her face this weekend that I saw at the hospital. LOVE. 

When I first saw her at the hospital, all I could think of to do was give her a hug. And the first words she said to me were - thank you". Words cannot convey the depth of her gratitude evident in those first softly whispered words. Those were the only words I could think of to say in return.

Laura Bush has written on the subject of infertility:

The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I’m sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?

Well, I'll say this about adoption. The English language lacks the words to express gratitude. How do you thank a woman who, generously, selflessly chooses life for her child in a society that encourages abortion... who carries that child for 9 months... and then generously and selflessly makes an adoption plan for her child, knowing that she will not be the one to see their first smile, hear their first word, take their first step? Knowing that her child will call some other lady "Mommy" and some other man "Daddy." 

I'm aware that not all open adoptions are of this nature. But I am so grateful that we chose an agency that only does open adoptions. Some birthparents do not want to keep in touch. DH & I are so grateful that C's birthmother does. As we left this weekend, she thanked me for sending all the pictures. She was happy to see even more of them on my husband's phone. I hope and pray that she continues to want to be in touch. I can only think, that when C is older, he will be able to understand her choice was one of love. Thinking I would have been "in control" by knowing nothing was a sham. It is so much better knowing her, meeting her and seeing the love she has for him. I am convinced that this was the best choice for C. I think the uncertainly would be so much worse; and most certainly for a child who wants to know where he or she came from.

Here is what an open adoption can look like - more people to love your child. Because of C's birthmother, I have a tiny hand to hold, a child to smile at me and call me "Mommy". I have watched the man I love and admire most in this world - my husband - become a father. I have watched my parents and my husband's parents become grandparents. I have heard my youngest sisters cry on the phone at hearing the news that they were becoming aunts and my brother-in-law's become uncles. Grandmas become Great-Grandmas. I have sung "You are my Sunshine" to him in the car to calm him down. I sing him "Baby Mine in the evenings as he drifts to sleep. His smiles come more and more frequently. I'm woken in the night by his sweet little noises. It's everything I longed for and dreamed of and prayed for, for nearly 5 years.

I'm a mom.

Because of her.


  1. What a beautiful post, I am in tears! You are so right. Just think how loved he is going to feel when he is old enough to understand. So, so beautiful!!! God bless all birthmothers and adoptive mothers.

  2. What a moving post!

    Open adoption scares me, but your words have softened my heart (just a bit, we're still discerning our first steps).

    God bless the birth mothers that choose life!

  3. YOU are so right. This sums up my feelings too. Open adoption was NOT even an option for us when we first explored adoption 10 years ago because I just wanted some one to make a baby for me and give it to me. Then, 2 years before we adopted Isabella, Andrew's brother and wife adopted a little girl through open adoption and all my fears were taken away when I witnessed their adoption and family life unfold. I am so thankful for the open adoption with Isabella's birth family. Her birth grandparents are some of the most holy people I know and it is so nice to get letters from them. Because of the 10 hour distance between us, we don't see them much, but we have frequent contact via email and letters with her birth mother and her parents. We hope to take a trip out there again in a few years.

    There are NO words to express the gratitude for the most amazing blessing that her birth mother gave us!

  4. I have chills and tears in my eyes...this post is so beautiful! Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing...like I said, so beautiful!

  5. You are a beautiful person and an amazing mother. I am so excited about the possibility of having an open adoption as well. We are working with both the local and national agencies that both encourage open adoptions. But, I have a feeling that the "openness" may be more of a reality with our local agency. I cannot wait to continue to follow your journey. Doesn't God write wonderful stories in our lives??

  6. Such a beautiful post! One of our daughter's former teachers adopted last year. They were able to enjoy the whole experience from the beginning, the doctor's visits, the ultrasounds, the delivery. It meant so much to them, but to their birth mother as well.

  7. So beautiful! DH and I still have reservations about what degree of openness we're comfortable with. We'll see where God leads. So glad it's going well for you.

  8. This is amazing L. Can't wait to see pictures of your sweet C...

  9. I. LOVE. THIS!!!!! And yes, I used to be scared of an open adoption, but you are SO RIGHT when you say baby has more people to love on him. So many!!!
    And I know what you mean about conveying your gratitude to your son's birthmother. It's just not possible. Words just aren't enough.
    I'm glad you were able to see his birth mom so soon! I need to give Luke's mom a call/text and she when she wants to meet. We've been sharing pics on Shut.terfly where you can build your own little website of sorts (I thought I'd mention it if you didn't know about it ... its pretty cool!).


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