My Word of the Year: Intentional

How I’m resolving to be intentional in our open adoption.

Jenny Jerkins January 30, 2015
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I don’t know about you, but I stink at making resolutions. There is too much clawing at my attention and by the end of February the goal of getting my twenty year old body back washes down the drain as it has every single year since I was twenty. So I started choosing a One Little Word (OLW) to help me focus all things in my life for the year, and to develop habits that will last years beyond the stroke of midnight on December 31st.

My OLW for 2015 is intentional. I would like to think that I’m very intentional in the way that I live, but if I’m honest, I often choose to be intentional when it is convenient for me. I can slack in the areas that require more effort. One of those can be in our open adoption. As great of a relationship as I have with my son’s birth mother, I know I could do more to make it even stronger. Just like marriage, or any other relationship, open adoption takes a lot of work on both sides. You have to be intentional with your words and with your time. My goal is to strengthen our relationship through the years and not let it wither as our son grows older.

As he grows up and life gets busier and busier, it is easy to let time slip away from me. Weeks may go by between our communications and months between our visits. It’s the side that is not intentional. I think of his birth mom every single day in some way or another. But where I sometimes go lacking is following through with putting those thoughts into words. I don’t think she expects or even wants to hear from me daily. I mean, who wants to be annoying right? What I am working on is when there is something our son does that is super funny, exceptional, or especially reminds me of her then I love to share that with her. I want her to have just as much of a reason to be proud of him as I am, or to laugh at him as much as I do. I want to give her comfort in knowing that she made the right decision by placing him in my care. I want to be intentional with her.

And even though I’m that mom that still hasn’t started his baby book and he’s already three and a half, when it is complete I want her to have a copy as well. I want her to know when all of his milestones were and have pictures of each stage of his life. I want her to have pieces of his artwork that he has worked on so diligently. I want her to have a part of his life just the way that I do aside from just seeing my mamarazzi pictures all over social media. Because of our shared love for him, I want to do those things for her. I want to be intentional in the way that I include her in his life.

I’m also intentional in the way that I share with our son about his beginnings. He already knows, yet doesn’t quite comprehend, that he grew in her tummy because mine was broken. He knows who she is. He has pictures of her in his room. He visits her and he is silly with her. He shares his love of cats with her. Everything I share with him is intentional so that he never has to wonder how very much he is loved and how very proud of him we both are.

Many ask me if it is hard to have an open adoption. The answer is, sometimes. But it would be even harder for me not to have one. Open adoption isn’t meant for everyone, but it was meant for us. Although it takes effort and a lot of intention, the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Long after our son is grown and has a family of his own, I still want to be able share in all the joys and sorrows along side his birth mother. Because after all, “he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, and he is mine in a way that will never be hers. So together we are motherhood.”

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Jenny Jerkins

Jenny Jerkins is a Staff Storyteller for Adoption.com and resides in Augusta, GA. She is a wife and former engineer-turned-stay-at-home mom of an energetic, smart, and hilarious little boy. Grateful for infertility, she became a mom through adoption, which has opened her heart in ways she never knew were possible and also brought them the blessing of open adoption. She is an active member of several adoption communities and loves uniting and educating others. You can read all about her adoption story over at Our Not So Engineered Life where she has her own blog about infertility, adoption, motherhood, and life.


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