Our son Joseph’s adoption is a blessing. We believe it was “meant to be” by God, or the universe, or whomever you believe in. The additional beauty, though, is that it was also a choice. A powerful choice made with love… on our end and on Birth Mom’s end. The beautiful blend of fate and free will. That is what open adoption is. Being in one now, we could not imagine it any other way.

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to meet Birth Mom’s whole family for the first time. Joseph is almost two now. We’ve seen Birth Mom multiple times over those two years. Somehow, for whatever reason, this timing seemed right to meet them. Over the last couple of months, we had grown curious as to what a playdate with his biological cousins would be like. That led to texts about where to have them meet and logistics like that. We decided on Birth Mom’s dad’s house and that led to the rest of the family attending. Needless to say, I was nervous. I wanted them to think I was a good mom, good enough to be picked by Birth Mom to parent Joseph. I wondered if they would see me as an annoyance, or a reminder of their pain. I told birth mom about my anxiety, and she said they were nervous too. I knew it would all be OK, but still felt like I was going to vomit on the way there.

It happened to be the day before Mother’s Day, which is Birth Mother’s Day. It also happened to be my husband, BJ,’s birthday. We brought Birth Mom a gift. Turns out they had gifts for us too. They were sweet enough to get BJ a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to him. Birth Mom’s dad got me a card and a lily to plant. Birth Mom’s sister got Joseph a cute outfit. It was a celebration all around. We sat at the table and talked, drank wine, and watched Joseph play with his two cousins. At times, it was emotional. I teared up one time. Birth Mom’s sister did when she watched Birth Mom open her gift–a quilt made from Joseph’s old clothes. Birth Mom’s mom also teared up a couple times. It took strength on their part, I know. They went through much more pain than we did in the months leading up to his adoption. Since almost two years had passed, maybe that helped it to not just be a blubbering cry-fest. But if had it been, that would have been OK too. I would have cried right along with them. It’s all just so emotional. But I loved this. The significance, the feeling of gaining more family, the goodness and love. Birth Mom’s mom also told me how thankful she was that we were so open. We had known from the start that she would have preferred Birth Mom keep the baby, but now she is happy with the way things are. I also got some more details about the decision itself and more details about the birth father’s side. Much of it was hard to hear. But I’m glad we are open and can talk about it. It makes me appreciate Birth Mom that much more. Her strength, her choice. And our choice to go through the adoption process.

We ended the night with hugs… not flaky half hugs, but real good, solid hugs that said “we choose to be family.” We are invited to Birth Mom’s mom’s house this summer so the kids can play in the sprinkler. I’m so looking forward to this.

I once saw a quote: “[Open] Adoption doesn’t destroy families; it creates bigger ones.” This is what we wanted all along. This is what we felt on this night. Sure, we don’t know them that well yet, we don’t know every single thing about their lives, but it felt like we now have more people living what open adoption should be. Joseph now will have a new aunt, uncle, grandma and grandpa. We have my family, BJ’s family, and now a third family who all love him. Having that third family relationship doesn’t detract from his other two. Like all relationships in life, we just do our best and assess as we go. If anything is ever unhealthy, we’ll make sure to try and resolve it. We will always have Joseph’s best in mind. My hope is that one day he will understand what a good situation we have.