Open Adoption And Long Distance

How to keep in touch with birth parents in an open adoption using video chat.

Kenna Shumway August 22, 2014
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My husband and I adopted our son, Harley, in 2010. He was 15 months old and the answer to our prayers. We waited so long to become parents, and it finally happened. His birth mother, Sadie, is an amazing lady, and we love her so much. She is a part of our family, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We have a very open adoption, which we feel is advantageous for Sadie and Harley.

In 2012, my husband was accepted to North East Ohio Medical University for their pharmacy program. This meant an 1,800 mile move to Rootstown, Ohio from Orem, Utah. Sadie lives in Orem, so having visits was never a problem. We would go out to lunch, play at parks, explore museums, or whatever would be fun for Harley. We invited her along. Now that we were moving so far away for a minimum of 4 years, we needed to find a way for her to visit with Harley.

Harley with his birth mother, Sadie. We love visiting with Sadie whenever we get the chance!

Being 5 years old, Harley isn’t necessarily good at phone calls. He is interested for a couple of minutes and then finds something else to do. We wanted to make sure Sadie could still visit with him, so we decided to try video chat. With the video chat, Harley can see Sadie, and that keeps him more interested in the conversation. Harley also loves showing Sadie his newest toys, recent learned tricks, and singing her songs. Sadie can see how much Harley has grown, what he has learned, and spend some time with him even though we are so far away.



Me, my son Harley, and his birth mother, Sadie (right to left). A few days before we moved to Ohio, we invited Sadie to our home for a sleep over!

We were worried at first that our move would negatively effect the open adoption Sadie and Harley enjoyed, but we were pleasantly surprised. Video chat has kept the lines of communication open and allows Sadie to visit Harley and see what is going on in his life.

We love Harley. We love Sadie. Open adoption is important to us, and video chat is one of the ways we make open adoption work over long distance.

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Kenna Shumway

Wife. Adoptive mom. Writer. Photographer. Endometriosis survivor, infertility warrior & adoption advocate. Rock star on weekends. Currently calls Ohio home with her pharmacist husband and their ginger son. Read more from her on her blog.

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