My husband and I were young when we got married. I seriously considered moving our wedding date back one month, so for the rest of my life I could say I was twenty when I got married instead of nineteen. We decided to start our family when we were young as well, a year after we were married, because we were aware that getting pregnant could be a challenge. We were devastated to find out about our infertility, but were able to find a new hope in adoption.
When going through the mounds and mounds of paperwork required to be approved to adopt, we checked the boxes for “closed adoption.” There was no way we were going to have an open adoption! I mean, the birth mom could show up at our door anytime and want the baby back if we had an open adoption, right? We had seen the horror stories in the media. A closed adoption had to be the safest, best decision for our family. We didn’t even consider an open adoption.
We were required to attend an education course about adoption. Part of the class was learning about birth parents. We even got to sit in on a panel discussion. I remember sitting in the room with that panel, looking at these incredible women and girls, and thinking, “They aren’t scary. They are selfless, kind and good people.” One of the girls reminded me of my little sister. This really opened our minds to open adoption. Birth parents are not scary. They are just people like us – people who have so much love to give.
We went home that night and checked all the “open adoption” boxes on our paperwork. My husband said to me, “Our families are going to think we are crazy.”
And I said, “Yeah, but I don’t care.”
We were very open-minded about having an open adoption. We said that we were open to phone calls, pictures, visits, and basically all the boxes we could check. We were so thrilled and surprised to be chosen a few months later. It was late April, and the baby was due at the beginning of November. That gave us six months to get to know the birth parents. Those six months were so wonderful – going to ultrasounds, finding out the baby was a boy, shopping for maternity clothes, taking her to movies and dinner, getting to know her friends and family – the list goes on and on. We fell in love with this birth mother. We were lucky enough to meet our son’s birth father once before he was born, and now enjoy a great relationship with him as well.
“Keep an open mind. Do the research and make an educated decision about open adoption. Don’t be scared. It’s just more love.”
November 2, 2009 is a day I will never forget. It is the day that I became a mother. My husband became a father. I stared at my son and couldn’t believe how amazing he was – his little toes, his big eyes, his cute little chin. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. All this happened because of a 16-year-old girl who chose not to abort her baby, but go through pregnancy and delivery in order to lovingly place him in our arms afterward. She loved him so much. Anyone could see and feel that love just by being around her. We were so happy we chose an open adoption because when we left the hospital, we said, “See you soon!” instead of saying, “Goodbye.” We have kept our promise to her and we have continued to have an open adoption.
Little did we know that our decision to have an open adoption would not only lead us to our son, but to our daughter as well.
When my son was three months old, I was grocery shopping when I received a phone call from his birth mom.
She asked, “So . . . do you guys want to adopt again someday?”
I said, “Yes, we would love to have more kids someday. Why?”
“Because my best friend is pregnant. She says she either wants to place her baby with you guys, or she wants to parent. She says that she trusts you guys because she has seen how good you have been to me. She knows you would keep your promise of an open adoption.”
I had so many feelings after hanging up the phone. I felt sorrow for this young teenager who was facing such a big decision. I already knew and loved this girl because we had met eight months earlier. She was also at the hospital when our son was born. I felt excited at the possibility of having another baby in our home. I felt anxiety thinking of having two babies ten and a half months apart in age. I also felt flattered that she would think of us right away. I felt so much love for her and her baby. We did say yes, and we were able to enjoy getting to know her so much better. When we found out the baby was a girl, we were ecstatic!
Our daughter was born and I couldn’t imagine loving another child as much as I loved our son, but the first time I held our little girl I felt so much love for her. I couldn’t stop staring at her smoky eyes, her perfect nose, and her full head of dark hair. She looked so much like her birth mom, and still does to this day.
Because of the night we decided to check the “open adoption” boxes, we were able to adopt two babies in one year. Had we chosen not to open our minds to having an open adoption, we would have missed out on a beautiful relationship with our kids’ birth parents. And more importantly, our kids would have missed out on knowing these remarkable people who love them so much. I know not all adoptions can be open. My mom placed a baby for adoption 35 years ago, and it was very closed, but also wonderful as well. I like to share our experience to others and tell people, “Keep an open mind. Do the research and make an educated decision about open adoption. Don’t be scared. It’s just more love.”
We see our kids’ birth parents a few times a year. We text often and are friends on Facebook. We love these people and can’t imagine life without them. The latest gift that was given to me by open adoption was when I delivered our third child about a year ago. Finding out I was pregnant was a huge surprise. My kids’ birth parents were so excited for us! While I was in labor, I received numerous text messages from our children’s birth parents. They gave me advice on how to breathe and how to push and supported me through the process. It was amazing. The women who delivered my first two children were helping me as I delivered my third. I can’t even put into words how amazing that experience was and how much I appreciated their support. We are so lucky to have these people in our lives and we love them so much.
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