Everyday I am sharing my story in one way or another, but typically it is with a client of Arrow and Root. You see, my time with each client isn’t just answering questions about how to create their profile book, but to share one version of one open adoption. It’s to open hearts and minds through education and perspective. It’s to show that having a birth mom involved doesn’t have to be so scary, but a beautiful version of a different kind of blended family.
The response I usually get is something like this: “That’s a beautiful story, but it sounds ideal. I hope for that, but I’ve been told by my caseworker that usually isn’t the case.”
And, that may be true. I know there are drastically different stories, situations and health levels of those involved. But that’s exactly what I’m fighting for. I've been fighting for adoptive parents to love the adoptees and birth families in their lives, as I have been loved, with open arms and a safe place. I’m fighting for extensive counseling and support surrounding the momma making this heartbreaking decision so she can be in a healthier place in life. I’m fighting for honoring the birth family in seemingly little and big ways.
No, I haven’t walked through closed seasons. But, I have walked through silent seasons, where I had to be brave and ask, “Is everything okay? Did I do something wrong?” And guess what? It was just busyness. Yet, we have built a relationship where we all feel safe to communicate concerns or have questions. That’s what I’m advocating for.
No, I have never been to jail or done drugs or had safety issues. But, her parents were a huge role model in my life to not fall back into a lifestyle that could have led there. They encouraged me to stay on a healthy path so we could continue our open adoption relationship. Why? Because they valued my place in their life and wanted me there. We are an example of setting boundaries and expectations, and why it’s so important. They absolutely would have held their ground had I crossed a hard line in the sand, and I respect them for that! We built our relationship on trust and communication.
I may be a “unicorn” birth mom with an ideal open adoption, but it still has value.
The stirring I have felt in my soul to share the story He has given us I feel is because it is an example of how it can be done well. It is an example of how adoption can be done with Him at the center. It is an example of how day by day, we all keep in check our selfish tendencies and focus on our daughter’s needs and what she is asking for (within reason!). It’s an example of compromises and including each other and truly caring for one another in the unique roles we have in her life.
No, my story may not be what yours looks like, or will look like. But, I have witnessed over and over how our story unlocked hearts that were bound in fear about birth mothers and open adoption. That is my mission. Be open and listen. Be available for a momma to love big and well, regardless of her choice of adoption. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Be genuine from the first line of your profile book, to every conversation that follows. You can’t control how she moves forward, how she handles her grief, if she is in a silent season or a needing-you-a lot season (that was me…) but you can love her well in your home and how you talk about her.
I believe it is wise and good to prepare for all kinds of adoption relationship situations and contact variations. Learn from all kinds of stories! Learn about the mistakes. Learn about what works for other families. Have hope that God can create something good, even if it looks messy at first! Seasons can and will change. Be open minded, open hearted, open handed to what the Lord has for your story.
Guest Blogger : Leah Outten, Birth Mom
IG Account : @thegracebond
Co-Founder of Woven Together