Adoption Relationships Change, and That’s Okay

Adoptive couple accepts a birth mother's decision to distance herself

Crystal Perkins May 07, 2014
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“I’m thinking about coming out there to go to school,” Bri said.

Jammie could sense some hesitancy in her voice and knew exactly the reason why.

“You don’t have to worry about us,” my wife said. “We’re not going to try to pressure you or talk you into coming out here to see us any more often than you are comfortable.”

Adoption stories are not easily told in a single blog post. Adoption stories, just like any good novel, begin somewhere and take a long time to unfold. Unlike any novel, however, the story never stops- especially nowadays when the majority of adoptions are open adoptions.

“It’s just that… I dunno,” Bri continued. “I’m thinking that the university out there would be a better fit for me than the one here where I live.”

Our story is and was no different with regards to the roller coaster ups and downs of emotions. The entire story, up through the first year after placement from wonderful birth mother Bri, is told in the book “Open Adoption, Open Heart.” Our relationship with Bri was, well, probably the most open I’d ever heard of because of the wild circumstances and hurdles we had to jump to get to where we are today. Because of legal issues between her home state and ours, she actually came to Idaho, where we live, and stayed in our own home for the last two months of her pregnancy! It sounds crazy, I know, but it worked out wonderfully and planted the seed to what has blossomed as a wonderful relationship.

“I know. I know,” Jammie said. “You don’t have to worry about things on our end. We understand.”

Time has a way of changing things in adoption relationships– especially when there are 2,000 miles between the adoptive family and the birth parents. Our story has been no exception. When Bri first left Idaho to go back home, she couldn’t wait to save up enough money for a plane ticket out to see us, and we felt the same way. Through time, though, and after a few flights out to see us, she decided and realized that she wanted to move on with her life. By no means did she want to cut ties with us, but she wanted to start focusing on the road in front of her rather than the highway between her city and ours.

“Jammie, that makes me feel so much better,” Bri said. “You guys mean so much to me.”

Through time, Bri was succeeding at just that: moving forward. We still wrote letters, chatted on Facebook, and talked on the phone all the time. We stayed close. What she wanted to was to be able to progress her life apart from the adoption. And she was worried that living a car ride’s distance away would make it so she was going back to living her life consumed by adoption again. She loves and adores the little one she gave birth to, but for her, she knew her limits and knew it wouldn’t be ideal for her to see him all the time.

“And just so you know,” Jammie said. “If you ever just need a girl’s night out, we can always go just the two of us.”

There is no such thing as “the correct type of relationship”. Nobody should ever try to write a textbook about exactly what the relationship should be like because every adoptive couple has different needs, and every birth parents has different needs. Above all, every adopted child has different needs. Things are not quite the same with our relationships in our second adoption. They dynamics are different because the people involved are different. O

ne thing remains the same, though, and that is the fact that we care about what their needs are and care what they’re going through. We care enough to understand that the dynamics of the relationship are allowed to change. They care for us in the same way. Together we roll with the punches. Together we tackle the hard things. Above all, together we share in the joy that has come out of our adoption relationships. Hooray for adoption.

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Crystal Perkins

Crystal is the content manager for Adoption.com. In her free time, she enjoys honing her outdoor photography skills, going on hikes, and hanging out with her husband.


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