When I first made an adoption plan for my daughter almost five years ago, I knew virtually nothing about open adoption. Everything I knew stemmed from lame Lifetime movies, and I kind of thought that, after I had this baby, she would go away, and I’d more than likely never see her again. I also thought that might be the easiest way for me to heal, emotionally, and that my life would magically go back to normal after I placed. Nothing could have been further from the truth!
I had a really difficult time choosing the parents of my child. I did not go through an agency and instead spent a lot of time researching online. After searching through at least a thousand pages on Parentprofiles.com, I finally found the perfect couple for me. I loved them instantly: Their personalities shone through their pictures, and I knew they were what I was looking for. They only thing that would be considered a drawback for most people, the 3000 miles separating us, actually made me feel more secure. I felt space between us was the only way I’d be able to function after the adoption.
Practically from the first email, Karen and I became instant friends. We found out we pretty much share the same personality, as well as the same twisted sense of humor. We read the same books, have the same taste in movies, and soon found we had a million things to talk about not related to our pregnancy. The one thing we differed on was what we wanted to happen after the baby was born.
I was in a protective bubble that didn’t really let me deal with the emotional aspect of things until after I gave birth. Looking back, I think I almost sounded cold towards my daughter. I became convinced that I was doing this for them, to complete their otherwise perfect life. I tried to forget she was a part of me, also. I thought I could just place her in their arms and walk away and be just fine and that it wouldn’t hurt me at all because I was doing such a “noble” thing.
Karen, on the other hand, had done a LOT of research on adoption, and she knew it was better for the child if she grew up knowing exactly who she was. She patiently explained to me that it would be better for the baby AND for me if we all stayed in contact, but if I REALLY wanted it closed, she would give me space and hope I changed my mind.
It all became very real for me the day I gave birth. You might say that bubble shattered all over me the second the doctor laid her on my stomach. I freaked out, as this was not part of my plan. Karen was supposed to be the first person to hold her, and here she was all snuggled into my stomach while the doctor collected the cord blood. “You wanted this,” he told me. So I attempted to relax while this absolutely adorable baby looked up at me. And just like that, I was hooked. No matter how much it might hurt to be apart at times, being together made it all worth it.
Three and a half years later, Karen and I still communicate just as much as we did then. We talk at least four times a week, whether by Facebook, text, phone, or Facetime. Sarah is a complete spitfire of energy and one of the happiest children I’ve ever met. She knows exactly who I am and exactly who she is, as well. She will cheerfully tell anyone, from her aunt to the grocery store clerk, that she has a sister in California or that she grew in Ann’s belly because her mommy’s belly was broken. She has a complete hold of her situation that amazes me at times.
A few months ago on Facetime, after Sarah was becoming wild and Karen was asking her to stop, I told her she better listen to her mommy. She stopped running like a hooligan long enough to give me her biggest smile and say, “But YOU were my FIRST mommy!” My heart was too busy melting all over the place for me to be to respond at first. Finally I said something to the effect of yes, I was, so she should listen to me too! Moments like these were something I never dreamed possible when I first considered adoption. I’m so blessed to have found a family completely dedicated to surrounding our daughter with all the love in the world, and for having the grace to let me be a part of it