When we first decided we wanted to adopt and met with our adoption agency and they told us that they only have open adoptions, I was mad. I knew I wanted to go with that agency, but I was pretty sure I did not want to have an open adoption. I did not want someone (birth mom) telling me how to raise our child or butting in when I didn’t ask for her opinion. Let me start off by saying I was naive and selfish. And I am the first to admit I was wrong. Why?
Because open adoption isn’t about me; it’s about love. The amount of love you have for your child. It changes everything.
When we first met our son’s biological mom, I knew there was something about her I was just going to love. At first she was quiet, but the things she had to say were monumental. And the more she opened up and the more we got to know her, the more I loved her. And it wasn’t too long after we first met that she sent us a letter. And in that letter, I figured out what it was about her. She was just like me. We had so many similarities; it was sort of eery. She was me, and I was her. We were meant to be friends.
We first met her when she was 19 weeks pregnant. A week later, we were at her 20-week ultrasound appointment to find out if she (or in her words, we) were having a boy or a girl. When she spoke the words “Ask them. They are going to be the parents” to the ultrasound technician, I could barely speak. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I managed to shake my head—yes. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be in an ultrasound room finding out the sex of our unborn adopted child. The moment was surreal. However, that was only the beginning of our journey!
Not too long after, she mentioned that when she brought her children home from the hospital, they responded to her voice as they had heard that voice for nine months. She knew the baby she was carrying would not know our voice, but hers. She asked if there was a way we could record our voices for her to play for the baby. Who even thinks that way? Someone much wiser than her years and less selfish than I.
She allowed us to be present in the room when our son was born. In fact, we picked her up, and we drove to the hospital together, all wondering what the day/night would bring. Two of us were beyond excited to meet our first child; one of us was scared not knowing what was ahead. We spent three days together in the hospital. Three days I will probably never forget. And then I watched her kiss our son’s sweet little forehead and say “bye” to the child she just gave birth to. I then watched her walk out to her dad’s car and drive away, all while standing there holding our newborn son. I was a mess. I was ecstatic to finally be a mom. I waited almost six years for this moment. But a piece of my heart was with our son’s birth mom. The friend I had made through this experience.
Fast forward to today. I didn’t know what would happen to our relationship. Would it be too hard for her? Would she not want anything to do with us? Would it be too hard for us? Would our son get lost in the midst of two families trying to figure out this open adoption thing?
Our relationship has flourished. We have developed a bond and love for each other that not too many people understand. In fact, most of the time, I don’t understand it either. Remember when I said I didn’t want an open adoption? Now, here I am loving our son’s birth mother as one of my closest friends. We have spent birthdays, holidays, vacations, and weekends together as a blended family. A family of biology and a family of heart.
I am not going to tell you that this journey has all been butterflies and cupcakes because it hasn’t. It is hard. Not because I don’t want her or her family to be a part of our son’s life, but because it is complicated. Because it is “different.” Because there are a lot of emotions and a lot of people involved. But at the center of it all is a little boy who has brought two completely different families together for the sake of a child. And in these moments, I learned from her what no book or seminar will ever teach you: she taught me that I had to love my child more than I loved myself.
So when the situations get difficult or people ask us why we have an open adoption, I will simply tell them because it is not about me. It is simply because we love our child enough to share him. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes, definitely yes.