My husband, Trevor, and I started our adoption journey hesitant about open adoption. We honestly didn’t know much about it and our friends and family members who had adopted all had closed adoptions. And frankly, those people discouraged us from pursuing open or even semi-open adoption. However, we set out to learn more about the different degrees of openness in adoption and in that process, we learned about the beauty of open adoption.
We did our research. We read books and blogs and we spoke with adoption professionals and other adoptive families. It was our conversation with an adult adoptee that truly changed our minds. Through her story, our hearts were softened to the idea of open adoption. We began to understand the value of openness and how that is the best route for the adoptee.
We used an adoption consultant to help us cast our net far and wide. We were active with agencies across the country and ended up presenting our family profile book to a number of expectant mothers. We received the seventh situation and after much prayer, we felt a peace that we were meant to parent this child due in just a few months.
When we were matched a few weeks later, we had the opportunity to speak with our daughter’s birth mother on the phone. A few weeks after that, our family traveled from Georgia to Florida to meet the birth parents. We immediately began developing our relationship and it just felt right in so many ways.
From that time until our daughter’s birth, I regularly communicated with the birth mother, S, via text. My respect grew and grew for her as I learned more about her life, her family, and her circumstances.
When it came time for our daughter, Grace, to be born, my husband and I eagerly traveled to Florida and were at the hospital for her birth. I remember hugging and sharing tears with our daughter’s birth mother and father before seeing our precious girl for the first time. I was completely overwhelmed by the gift they had given us.
Our daughter is now 2-years-old and we have maintained contact with her birth family via a private Facebook page. We regularly share photos and videos and communicate via text as often as possible. My communication with S ebbs and flows; sometimes she’s open to communication and sometimes she’s not. It’s a relationship that we’re all still working on and I’m sure we’ve all made mistakes along the way. Open adoption can be messy but we all have a shared desire for Grace to know she is loved. It’s not about us- it’s about her.
We recently traveled again to Florida for the first in-person visit with Grace’s birth family since she was one day old. It was truly incredible. In addition to spending time all together, I was able to spend some time one-on-one with S. We discussed our hopes for Grace and how we envision our relationship progressing.
Open adoption places the emphasis on the child. Can it be awkward and uncomfortable for the birth family and the adoptive family? Absolutely. But is it worth it in the end? Absolutely.