As we sat across from our son’s birth mom (we’ll call her RW) and her sister at a local restaurant with the most delicious breadsticks, her sister asked us what type of openness we were willing to have. With big smiles on our faces we talked about how we’d love to have contact and how excited we were to expand our family by not only a child but by an entire family. They lived more than a few hours away but there would be weekend trips taken for various reasons and we hoped to see them whenever was possible and acceptable for them.
During all the training we went through before adopting I don’t remember anything on closed adoption so when our son’s birth mom told us at this first meeting that’s what she wanted we were more than a little stunned. Needless to say we weren’t prepared to navigate a closed.
Over the next few months we kept in contact via email. There was talk about coming to town again but it never came about. It felt like we were kept at a distance. Both Tyson and I had these very strong feelings about RW and to be quite honest we doubted her maintaining the want to not have contact post placement.
Around 9:00AM one morning I got a text message saying she was in labor, admitted to the hospital and we should head down there. We hurried and packed our bags, threw the bins we had already put together with baby gear, dropped our seriously confused dogs off with my in laws and sped to the hospital. We arrived after LT was born but headed right over to the hospital where we met RW’s mom and sister (not the one that had been at our lunch). Hugs went all around and we held LT and snuggled for the first time. Soon RW announced her father would be there soon and it would be best if we left before he arrived. He wasn’t thrilled about the adoption plan.
Two long days later papers were signed and we waited in a little room for RW to come. She never came. Instead her mom and sister came in to do the physical placement. We all cried together and exchanged hugs. After they left we tried to compose ourselves and get ready to leave when the caseworker walked in. She told us that RW’s father wanted to meet us and say goodbye to LT but it was up to us. Quickly we said yes and he came in to join us. We’d never seen a grown man who looked so strong cry and have a softness about him. He told us to take care of his grandson and left after snuggling little LT.
Fast forward a month. We’d become friends with some of RW’s family on Facebook and began following each other on Instagram. She was still distant but we’d send updates to her sister and mom and they passed along what they felt was ok. Fast forward 4 months. We were in town and let them know. They invited us to lunch (RW wasn’t there as she wasn’t ready to see us) and we laughed and hugged with even some of the extended family. THEN… RW asked to see us! We drove to her parent’s cabin where they were staying that weekend. Nervous about seeing her father, we pulled up to the house and slowly made our way up the walk. He came rushing out, big smile on his face and scooped us into hugs. As we made our way inside we saw RW and quickly went to embrace. I’ll never forget seeing her with LT for the first time post placement. I was in total awe of her. We got some one on one time and discussed more contact and how she was grateful to see the updates.
Now LT is 19 months old and we have an open adoption relationship! We never gave up hope, we never forced anything on her and we loved her whole family. All that training we had for open adoption ended up being exactly what we needed. Love them. Make the effort. Prove the stereotypes to be wrong. Do all you can.