I have been honored to take a few moments to ask Anita, Eryn’s birth mother, some questions. We recently had the privilege of hearing from Eryn which can be read here: An Interview With An Adoptee: What My Parents Did Right.
Q: When did you know you needed to make an adoption plan?
Anita: It was shortly after my husband, at the time, my daughter’s birth dad, was arrested for murder. I already had a one-year-old and a two-year-old, and was five months pregnant with Eryn. I knew of an older couple that could take the two older girls, so the process for their adoption began and was finalized. These decisions would prove to be the hardest I’ve ever had to make.
When it came to deciding to let Eryn go and be placed for adoption, my mom worked with a gal who knew a couple looking to adopt, and that is who Eryn had the privilege of having for her mom and dad. Bev and Glenn took Eryn home from the hospital when she was just three days old. I could have parented these beautiful girls, loved them to death, but because of the circumstances, I had to move back in with my mom and had literally nothing to offer them. It took a very long time and some dark days before finally coming to the realization that I made the right decision, no matter what anyone else thought. We now have an amazing relationship and have a blast when we get together!!
Q: When you first placed Eryn for adoption, what did you feel an “open adoption” meant or looked like?
Anita: I was always under the assumption that an “open adoption” meant that the birth mother chose the family and would be in the child’s life throughout the years. Eryn’s adoption was not like this, although I did, I suppose, choose her family, but I had to sign paperwork and in the paperwork, I did consent to my information being disclosed, if at a later date her or her parents wanted to locate me.
Q: For your situation, what would have been the “ideal open relationship” from the start?
Anita: Again, not really an open relationship, as I didn’t meet Eryn until she was 17.
Q: Do you feel that not having any contact with Eryn or her family at birth and immediately after birth helped or hurt your healing process (in the early days of post placement)?
Anita: Perhaps a little of both. It hurt, only because this was a person I carried for nine months, then in the blink of an eye she was gone. As far as healing, well, that is a tough one. It took many years for the healing process to even begin. I blamed myself for so many years for the choices I made. After A LOT of soul searching, I came to the realization that this wasn’t my fault, it was my ex-husband’s, or at least I think it is. The conclusion I came to terms with was that, had he not done what he did, I would have never been put in the position to make the choices I made. I know my choice was the right one and I can honestly say, today, I have no regrets.
Q: If you could go back in time and request an open relationship from the get go, beginning at birth, would you? What kind of open relationship would you have requested or wanted, if so?
Anita: Another toughie. It goes without saying I would have loved to have known Eryn from the time she was born and to have been there to watch her grow into a lovely young woman. On the flip side, I would never have wanted any confusion for her in her young life, so this is kind of a yes and no question, I think.
Q: What did your relationship with Eryn look like through the years?
Anita: I didn’t meet Eryn until she was 17. Since our first meeting, it’s been amazing. I attended a high school graduation that I never thought I’d be a part of. I was blessed enough to watch her walk down the aisle and marry the love of her life; another milestone I never dreamed I’d be a part of, not to mention Christmas’ and birthdays and the birth of a grandson!!!! It’s been an amazing journey!
Q: Were there seasons where the lack of openness caused you to doubt your decision?
Anita: The only reason I ever doubted my decision was the fear that the kids would think they were not wanted. That could not be further from the truth. If I had had the means to care for them, I would never have let them go, but it was the right thing to do…..for them.
Q: Were there ever any difficult decisions made by her parents that were hard for you? Example: waiting to find/contact you??
Anita: Her parents did everything right. Had it not been for their openness, we may never have met.
Q: Was there anything Eryn’s parents did that was inadvertently hurtful to you? Did you feel as though you could approach them if there was something done or said that hurt you?
Anita: Since meeting Eryn, her parents have never and would never do anything to hurt me, we all get along amazingly well! I’ve even been known to stay at their house when I visit. Eryn lives only about 5 hours north of me.
Q: Was there any way in which her adoptive parents helped you cope? If so, how? If not, is there something you would recommend adoptive parents do or say (or not do or say)?
Anita: I just think adoptive parents need to be open and honest w/their child…no secrets. Don’t feel afraid or unappreciated if your child expresses their need or want to find their birth family. If Eryn’s mom and dad had not been so supportive, we may have never been reunited.
Q: What are your thoughts on how adoptive parents in general show excitement in the hospital? As a birth mom, would you rather they tone it down out of respect for you? Or would a calm response make you second guess that they would welcome the child with the excitement and enthusiasm he or she deserves?
Anita: I never saw Eryn when she was born. She was taken directly out of the room after delivery, so I really cannot answer this one very well.
Anita, it is such a high privilege to have you willing to engage in such a special, sweet conversation. Thank you for sharing your heart, your experience and parts of your adoption journey.