Monday, August 31, 2009

Open Adoption: A Birth Mother's Perspective

Isabelle and her birth parents, Jen and Brit

Open Adoption:
I've Had the Chance to Grow with Her
by Jen

While we were vacationing at Tahoe, there was a rumor that my grandma-in-law was going to ask family to share a spiritual experience in a sort of family testimony meeting. That never happened. But it did get me thinking about the most spiritual experience of my life, which was (surprise!) placing Isabelle for adoption (you didn't see that coming, did you?).

I have never felt my Heavenly Father's direct touch in my life so much as when he was guiding me to her family. I've said it over and over, and I will say it again: I clearly know that he was guiding my steps- and her family's- quite directly so that she ended up in the right place. There were so many small and large coincidences involved in her adoption; so many times when, if the timing were just slightly off, she would have ended up somewhere else entirely. So many clear spiritual promptings that led us to each other, at just the right time, so that this particular child would be with that particular family. What an amazing testimony of the importance of families.

When I met them, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. Something that had been conspicuously absent through the whole ordeal of pregnancy and coming to terms with the idea of "giving up" my baby.

She clearly belonged with them, and it was clearly the right thing for everyone, and it made an almost impossible prospect feel right and good. Still painful; I don't think that can be avoided, for anyone in that situation, but much easier to heal from.

We have an open adoption, obviously, and people have questioned whether that is really the best thing. I absolutely think it is, for us. I know it can be hard, especially for adoptive parents! I can't imagine not having some feeling of "No, this is MY baby!" Or feeling just a tiny bit resentful at having to "share." But for my part, having an open adoption has helped me let go like nothing else could. Seeing her happy and well, and reinforcing that feeling that she is where she belongs, keeps me from holding on to the idea that she is "my baby," or second-guessing my decision.

I feel like if I had cut off contact just after seeing her and holding her when she WAS still my baby and little and sweet and innocent... or even just after she was born, if I had decided to never see her or hold her, I wouldn't be able to erase the memories of being pregnant and feeling her grow and move inside me. If I had decided to cut off contact at that point, how could I possibly move past it? It's not something you can ever forget, so instead I would be left cut off at the emotional state of being a new mom, and then... nothing. Now, I've had the chance to grow with her, to slowly let her go, to come to see her as Wendy and Tyler's cute little girl whom I love with the unconditional love of a parent.

Open adoption is an amazing, healing thing.

As an interesting side-note, I've done several adoption forums with other birth moms. At one in particular, the coordinator expressed frustration to me about getting a variety of birth moms for the panel- she says that those with closed adoptions rarely, if ever, agree to rehash it. She had one who did agree, but backed out at the last minute, saying "That's not a part of my life I want to remember."

How sad to be left with nothing but the pain of the experience. I love my adoption, I love Isabelle, and I love her family. And I love talking about it, and remembering what a wonderful, amazing, spritual experience the whole thing was. I can't call it a mistake. It was a few poor choices that led to an amazing opportunity for growth, and the chance to see Heavenly Father work miracles to bring eternal families together.


[Posted by Brittany M. of Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal. If you have an open adoption and would like to contribute to a future post, email me at]

Monday, August 24, 2009

Open Adoption: Dustin & Andrea

Playing it by Ear and Listening to the Spirit

I would like to take a moment and give you a glimpse into OUR open adoption and hopefully give you some insight into this new trend in the adoption world.

First, I know that to many of you, having an open adoption seems weird. The only adoptions you know of are closed or there is VERY little contact. So, let me just start by saying, IT WORKS FOR US!!

Open adoptions didn't exist back in the day, but they are an option today if the couple and birth parents are interested. I believe this option was truly inspired. I think I can speak for Andee in saying, a lot of healing has taken place with her as a result.

Let me give you a little background, we met Andee when she was 12 weeks pregnant. She decided earlier than most birth moms, which to me, was awesome. It gave us a chance to really get to know each other. We went to all of her doctors appointments, we were with her when we found out it was a girl, we had game night at her parents house each Monday, we had long talks about anything and everything going on in our lives, we were like family.

Adoption isn't always easy, but having each other made it easier. If you have the chance to meet her someday, you will know what I mean.

When we first started the adoption process, I didn't know how I felt about having an open adoption. Like most who haven't personally adopted, I was nervous. Would I feel threatened, judged as a parent, comfortable in my role as this child's mom? I look back at those thoughts and realize that it was me being naive and new to the situation.

I learned something in an adoption class last year that I will never forget. This adoptive mom has 3 open adoptions with her children's birth parents, she stated, "As long as you are confident in your role as the parent, open adoptions can be healthy and fulfilling for all who are involved." I DO NOT feel threatened by Avery's birth parents, I don't feel judged in my role as a parent and I know with all my heart that Avery was meant to be my daughter and I her mom. Is it a more difficult and emotional way to have a child, ABSOLUTELY, but is it also more amazing and sacred, I believe so.

We don't have a set amount of time that our openness will continue. The beauty of an open adoption is that it's up to us. There isn't a contract that after a year it ends. We play things by ear and LISTEN to the spirit to guide us. The comforting companionship of our Heavenly Father has been with us EVERY STEP of the way and STILL continues to guide this process.

We got A LOT of questions/comments while dealing with infertility, and still do. As with most things in life, I never really understood it until I was faced with it personally. I am learning compassion and empathy and most importantly learning to put myself in someone else's shoes and see things from a different perspective. I will be the first to admit that I am not great at this, but it's something I need to work on. Infertility is one thing, but choosing adoption as a means to having a family is a TOTALLY different thing. Questions and comments came that I never expected. The Lord had prepared me for this through the struggles we had already been through. Suddenly, I was tougher, comments and questions are now a way to educate others. I knew that people were only saying things because they didn't know what to say or because it was different.

If you take a look around and talk to people in the recent adoption community, you will find that our situation is not uncommon.

I feel at home with other adoptive parents because they understand me, just as I feel comfortable with other infertile couples. With adoption unless you have been through it personally, sometimes it is difficult to understand.

Adoption was NOT an easy decision for us. It took much fasting, prayer and pleading with the Lord to find out what He wanted for us and our future children.

We don't have an open adoption out of obligation.

Andee is more than just Avery's birth mom, she is a dear friend. I have personally learned so much from her. I got to be a mom, and I also gained a wonderful relationship in the process. There will never be a question in Avery's mind as to why she was placed for adoption. We have all the answers for her, and that gives me so much peace and comfort. The connection we have with Avery is indescribable. I felt a bond with her before she was born and knew that this was all part of the bigger plan.

I hope this gives you a better idea as to how our open adoption works. It has been an amazing experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

It may not be right for every situation, but it certainly has been for us.

Our little Avery came to us in a different way, but in a way that allowed my relationship with God to grow beyond my ability to comprehend. This experience has given me such a greater grasp on eternity and what life is truly all about, and for that I am grateful.


Stay tuned for a blog post about the perspective of open adoption through the eyes of a birth mother!

[If you have an open adoption and would like to contribute to a future post, email me at]

Monday, August 17, 2009

Open Adoption: Fear vs. Faith

By Brittany M. of Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal

I know that for a lot of people, the concept of an open adoption can seem kind of scary. I remember (when we were first learning about adoption) not really knowing what to think about open adoption. But then I remembered this quote by President Boyd K. Packer:

"Fear is the opposite of faith."

I wanted to have an open mind to it and see what it's benefits were. I'm so glad we learned about it in our adoption classes (and by reading other blogs) because in our opinion, it really is a beneficial thing. We love our birth mom so much and are so excited to have her in our life!

Adoption has drastically changed over the years and many new adoptions are now being negotiated as "open." The term "open adoption" is a relative one, meaning everyone can determine their own level of openness.

What "open adoption" means to one family may mean something different to another.

For example, some adoptive couples agree with their birth families that they will only exchange emails, letters and photos. Others take it one step further and exchange last names and/or phone numbers. Some adoptive families meet with their birth mothers a few times a year at a restaurant; whereas some birth moms regularly go to the adoptive couples' home to visit. Some couples agree with their birth mom that everyone will be open at first with the shared and mutual intention to slowly break off contact. Some have a set schedule: Maybe an email is sent once a week with pictures, perhaps combined with 1 face-to-face visit every so many months until the baby turns one year old, etc. Some play it completely by ear. Other families have their birth parents come to their child's baby blessing, baptism, ordinations, etc. And some adoptive families have their birth families babysit for them!

Each adoption situation is unique and different from another because of the many factors and variables relating to them. The beauty of an open adoption is that each adoptive couple and their birth family can come up with their own plan that works just how they need it to.

Stay tuned for testimonies of open adoption from the perspective of both birth mothers and other adoptive parents! I asked them to talk about their individual circumstances and how open adoption has been a blessing in their lives.

You won't want to miss them!

(If you have an open adoption and would like to contribute to a future post, email me at

An Open Adoption Documentary

Adoption Isn't Selfish

Straight from a Birthmom...

The Open Adoption Project via The R House