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 firstname.lastname@example.org]