From a young age, I have seen the beauty of adoption. I witnessed some aunts and uncles adopt my cousins. I loved these new babies in our family and recognized the blessings that they were, especially to my aunts and uncles. These children were now a part of the family, but I did not think about their birth families. Now that I am older, I have become more acquainted with the difficult and heartbreaking decisions that were made by their birth families. Love, admiration, and respect are not even adequate to express the feelings that I have for birth parents. This has only increased in the more than ten years after adopting my first son. My relationship with his birth mother is something that I did not know I needed and one of the biggest blessings in my life.
Our Adoption Story
Ryan and I knew from early on in our relationship that if we wanted to add to our family, we would need to adopt. Because adoption had been a part of my extended family, I realized that it was something that my heart had already been open to. Initially, we did not know anyone who had an open adoption, but it was becoming more and more popular. Because we wanted to connect with other adoptive parents and other couples hoping to adopt, we attended adoption conferences and read adoption blogs. Through our reading and researching, we realized the benefits of open adoption and knew that we wanted an open adoption with our children’s birth parents. We endured the interviews, background checks, paperwork, and home study to become ready to adopt.
After reading and hearing other adoptive families’ stories, we knew that everyone’s adoption stories were different, and we did not know how ours would turn out. Our adoption profile was online and instead of just waiting for someone to contact us, we tried to be proactive. We told everyone that we knew that we were hoping to adopt. There were some expectant parents that contacted us, but we were not matched or chosen. Telling everyone that we knew was the best thing that we could have done because that is how our son’s birth mother connected with us. Julie lived several states away. She was 19 when she found out she was pregnant. She felt scared and alone. She told her mother that she was considering placing her son for adoption. A few days later, her mother was talking with a close friend, who happened to be my aunt. She mentioned that her daughter was thinking about adoption. My aunt told her that my husband and I were approved to adopt and had been hoping to adopt for about a year. My aunt sent her our profile and blog. After taking some time to read and think about it, Julie emailed us. She said that ever since she had found out that she was pregnant, she didn’t feel like the baby was meant to be with her. She was hoping that we would be willing to adopt him. This email made our hearts soar. Emailing back and forth was a good way to get to know her, but we wanted to meet her in real life. We flew to her state and met her and some of her family. There was a quick connection, and we all felt so comfortable. It felt like we were at home with her and her family. They became like family to us. About two months after that first meeting and as her due date was approaching, I got a call from Julie. She called to let me know that she had just gone to her doctor’s appointment. The doctor wanted Julie to go to the hospital and have the baby that day. Ryan and I quickly changed our airline tickets and jumped on the next flight with an empty baby car seat and stroller. During our layover, we called Julie’s mom to see how she was doing. The baby had not been born yet, but labor was progressing quickly. The moment we landed in her city, I turned on my phone to find a picture of a beautiful baby boy who had been born less than an hour before. We quickly rented a car, punched in the address to the hospital on the GPS, and raced there. When we walked into Julie’s hospital room, it felt like a sacred space. We hugged Julie and she placed the baby in my arms. There was an overwhelming feeling of love, not only for the baby but especially for Julie.
It has been over ten years since the day of my son’s birth, and Julie and I have grown closer and closer as the years have gone by. Julie is married to the man who supported her after she found out she was pregnant. She is the mother of four beautiful daughters. She recently wrote a letter that she published on her blog. She has given me permission to share this:
To the mother of my birth son, thank you.
You probably didn’t know it, but I’ve been watching you.
I’ve watched you grow into the motherhood role just gracefully.
I’ve watched you nurture a little boy since the day he was born, and you’ve taught him how to be a smart young man.
I’ve watched you be patient with him when he’s feeling overwhelmed.
I’ve watched you effortlessly love him.
I’ve watched you teach him that family matters.
I’ve watched his eyes light up when playing with his sisters, and I have you to thank for that.
I’ve watched you start traditions with him, and you’ve always kept his birth family in mind with that.
I’ve felt your love for me whenever we’re together. You always make sure that me and my birth son get plenty of alone time together. For this, I cannot thank you enough.
You have raised him to know that he was adopted. You have never kept this from him. You have explained to him that he has a birth mother and birth father. You even kept pictures of us in his room so he would know us.
I’ve watched you stay strong as a wife and a mother. I’ve noticed that you always put your family first.
I watch how great of an Aunt you are. I’ve watched how your nieces and nephews love you, and how grateful they are for you in their lives.
You’re like a sister to me.
I can tell you anything. I know you will always be there to listen to me. You have been such a great support for me through all the time I have known you and I know that you are doing this for your son too.
I bet you didn’t know it, but you helped shape who I am as a mother today.
You’ve shown me patience and strength. I find myself thinking back on times we’ve been together and I’ve watched you.
I’m so grateful to have been able to watch you grow into a mother.
You’ve shown me how to be grateful at all times. To be humble and understanding of all women. I remind myself often that no two women are going through the same struggles, and I’ve learned that from knowing you.
My birth son made me want to be a mother. I am blessed to be a birth mother first. This made me get to know you first. Knowing you has helped shape who I am as a mother today.
Without you there to be an example to me, I wouldn’t be the mother I am today. You may not be a mother without me, but I would not be a mother without you. So thank you for being the best example of a mother I could ask for. Together, we are motherhood.
After reading this for the first time, and several times since, tears have flowed from my eyes. I am not a perfect mother, and I know Julie didn’t choose me because she thought I would be, but because of the connection that she felt. Julie and I keep in close contact. She had to cancel her trip to visit because of Covid-19, but we are hoping to visit her soon. Although we keep in contact regularly, I wanted to write her a letter as well:
To My Son’s Birth Mother, Thank You
You made me a mother, and there are not enough words in the English language to accurately describe my love and gratitude for you.
Before we first met, I was nervous that you wouldn’t like me. I was nervous that I wouldn’t live up to what you wanted for your son. I was worried that I wouldn’t be what you expected. I remember sitting in the waiting room at the adoption office feeling all kinds of emotions, but when you walked in and I saw you and hugged you, all of the fear, worry, and nervous feelings left and the emotions that stayed were peace and happiness.
You are brave. There were a lot of factors that could have changed your mind about the adoption plan, but you stayed firm in that decision. You stood up for what you wanted for your baby. Your bravery is something that I tell him about. I want him to be brave like you.
You are determined. I love when you tell me about the goals that you set for yourself and then achieve them. I see you as a wife, mother, and employee achieving goals and climbing higher.
My husband and I both feel like you are our little sister. And we want to protect you fiercely. We always share our adoption story with reverence and gratitude. We want others to see that open adoption can be wonderful and the relationship can be a huge blessing.
You have been the first person that I have texted when our son took his first steps, went to kindergarten for the first time, or started playing baseball. I want to share these moments with you because I know how excited and happy you are for him. I know that you are his biggest cheerleader. It makes me so happy to hear him talking to you and telling you about his life and asking about you.
I love when I see you in him. Sometimes he will laugh exactly like you. I see you in his face and his wonderful smile. Some of his mannerisms are exactly like yours. It makes it feel like you are close. It is fun to see similar qualities in your daughters. He loves telling people about his sisters. He takes so much pride in you and in them. He gets spoiled by all of the people that love him so much.
You have given us the greatest gift that we couldn’t give to ourselves. You showed selflessness as you put his needs before your needs and desires. There are times when I have heard other women say how grateful they are that God entrusted them with their children. I often felt sad because I didn’t have children, but now I feel more grateful because not only God, but you have also entrusted me to raise this child.
I love you and I love our son. My life is better because you are in it. I will forever be grateful to you.
Adoption Is Love
There is an adoption quote that I love by Desha Wood, “He is mine in a way he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way he will never be mine. Together we are motherhood.” This describes how important both families are in adoption. Julie and I are motherhood. We share this beautiful relationship and at the center is a wonderful boy. We both love him and want what is best for him. The open adoption relationship is something that I did not know that I needed in my life. I count it as one of the greatest blessings in my life.Are you considering adoption and want to give your child the best life possible? Let us help you find an adoptive family that you love. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.