It was a brisk afternoon, and we had just returned from the outlet mall where we had bought the boys new gym shoes. Our youngest son, Ezra, was running around the yard and chasing after a football. As I fondly watched on, snapping a few adorable pictures on my phone, one of my first thoughts was to share a photo with his birth mom. I remembered she had recently asked if he has started to run yet, so I switched over to video and recorded a short clip of him running across the yard. Her response was quick and full of joy. “Look at him run. I love it. It almost looks like he’s been running and walking for years!” I typed back “He’s a pro!” and her next message was when it hit me… she said “I’m so proud.”

The thing I love most about open adoption is that there is someone else out there who will never tire of seeing pictures of him, receiving videos and hearing stories. While family and friends may “ooh and ahh” at his cuteness, “like “ the pictures I post on Facebook, and patiently listen as I yammer on about his newest achievement, no one else besides his birth parents feel the same sense of pride and amazement as my husband and I have. I know that if I send them a picture or a quick text telling them about his day, they will beam and smile the same way I did when it happened. No one else can possibly have the same love for a child as a parent has, and just because they chose to make an adoption plan for Ezra, the love for their child does not disappear at placement. They haven’t forgotten or moved on. He will remain their son forever; he just also has us as parents now, too.

Open adoption can be a scary concept for many people. Open adoption isn’t co-parenting or long term babysitting. You still get the honor of being mommy and daddy to the child, but you also get to share the happiness with the people who created this little treasure. Having a closed adoption does not make them go away: no “out of sight, out of mind.” They will always be a part of the child’s life and in his mind, so why not include them? My son’s birth parents and extended family members have become our friends. Not only are they my son’s family, but they have become OUR family! They made a decision that placing their son for adoption was what was best for him; the decision I have made is keeping them in his life is what is best for him. Together, we are open adoption, and what we have is amazing. I love knowing that someone else out there will always put Ezra first. He has four parents who love him very much.

What is your favorite thing about open adoption?

“He is mine in a way he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way he will never be mine, and so together, we are motherhood.” -Desha Wood