When I first entertained the idea of placing my child, my mind immediately went to the extremes from television and movies I had seen. At the time, I probably knew one person who had been adopted (as an infant, in a closed adoption), and only friends-of-friends had adopted their children. Still, for reasons I didn’t yet understand, my heart was drawn to it.

The idea of “open” adoption seemed foreign to me. Could it really be healthy and OK for this child, raised by another family, to know me? It seemed like a dream come true. He could have the life he deserved, and I could have a second chance to get my life together – all while being afforded the closure of knowing he was safe and happy. I was part of an expectant parent group and frequently spoke with girls who had placed their children in an open adoption. They received updates, photos, emails, and some even spent time with their birth child’s family! The more that it became a reality, the more I began to accept what I had known all along – this child was not mine. He was not meant to be raised by me, and it was up to me to make the best choice for him.

I contacted my couple through email, and quickly realized that they were perfect. I felt like I had known them my entire life. How many people can say their family was, literally, handpicked? When I told them I wanted them to be my little boy’s parents, it was like the storm around me settled. There was calm, there was peace and, in a way only understood by those closest to the situation, sweet joy – joy that this little boy already had a home waiting just for him.

I am the first to admit that my open adoption is much more open than most, even though we live across the country from each other. My birth son’s parents were amazing support for me after placement. They kept every promise they made (weekly, then monthly updates with photos), and so much more. I flew down to be present at finalization, spent a week staying with them a few months later, and we have seen each other every year since. They came to my wedding, and invited me to their parents’ home for New Year’s Eve. We text often, send photos, and love each other like siblings. When they had a successful IVF pregnancy, they shared their journey with me. I felt as much joy receiving a photo of their newborn son, my little boy’s younger brother, as I have with each of my nieces and nephews.

The hard times were there, too. I grieved, and I hated the world at times. I questioned my abilities to ever be a good parent, and nay-sayers questioned my motives for placing. In it all, though, I still felt hope for a brighter tomorrow. I pushed forward, let go of destructive behavior and relationships, and started to be the woman I wanted to be. I had setbacks, sadness, disappointment. All along the way, though, I knew that there would come a time when I would no longer be an abstract person in my little boy’s world. Someday he would be old enough to understand my role in his life, and I knew that I wanted to make him proud. I wanted to show him that I had gone on to do good things, and become a good person. Placing for adoption did not make my life rainbows and butterflies, but it taught me compassion, unconditional love and, most importantly, how to sacrifice for another.

The blessings of adoption are great. My blessings of open adoption are monumental. Since I know my little boy and can peek into his world, I do not regret any part of the journey. I am strong and proud of my decision. I have since married and now have two beautiful children. The son I placed for adoption, in my eyes, is the most blessed of all. He is loved, he is happy, and he will always know where he came from. He doesn’t ever have to wonder, because he will always know. He came from love, faith, and hope.