After two seminars and listening to many inspiring stories, we finally started feeling better about open adoption. We were very honest and open with our social worker about how we felt. I remember telling her that we wanted to proceed with the adoption process but that we still had concerns. She appreciated the honesty. While waiting for us to be approved, we were required to read several books on open adoption. These books were very helpful and had great information.
Two months after our home study was complete we were matched with a birth mother. My husband and I were so excited optimistic, but cautiously so. We never were able to meet my son’s birth mother, so it was like we were adopting for the first time again. We were so nervous to meet the birth mother who had chosen us. Our social worker had tried to tell us what to expect for our first meeting, but she couldn’t fully prepare us.
I remember the day of the meeting. I was a mess. What would we talk about it? What would I ask her? What if she didn’t like us? What if she changed her mind? A million questions were running through my mind. I was just ready for the meeting to be over with. As my husband and I were sitting at the agency waiting for the birth mother to arrive, I remember thinking that it would have been so much easier if it weren’t open adoption. Again I was being selfish. When she finally did arrive and we got over the first few minutes of awkwardness, we clicked. It was like I was talking to an old friend.
Then, to my surprise, I felt sadness for her. She is such a great girl. She has been through so much. Why does she have to place her baby for adoption? I knew that she had tried every way not to place, but in the end, she felt it was best for the baby. Almost instantly I began to see how important it was to have an open adoption. She wanted to have a relationship with us. She wanted to be able to find out how her baby was doing. She wanted to see pictures and how big she was getting. She wanted to know that after she placed the baby for adoption, we would have contact with her. She did not want to be forgotten.
You see, if we had not chosen open adoption I would have not been there to cut my daughter’s umbilical cord. I would have not been able to see my daughter’s heartbeat on the ultrasound. I would have not developed a loving relationship with my daughter’s birth mother. I would not be able to tell my daughter about her birth. I would have not been there to see my daughter take her first breath.
I believe open adoption has a bad reputation. I think people believe that if you have open adoption the birth family will know your last name and where you live and can call you any time. That is not what open adoption is for us. Open adoption is being open about communicating with the birth family. It is about being open to your child about their story. Open adoption looks different for everyone. Every adoption story is unique. For us, open adoption is a gift.