Monday, April 22, 2013

A New Sister...

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...and Why We Hope for an Open Adoption!

Our family very much hopes to adopt.  We hope to add to our family through the miracle of adoption, and more than that, we pray specifically for an open adoption.  I have to admit, at first the idea of sharing a baby, of 'allowing' our potential birth mom to be a part of our life, seemed kinda scary.  I mean, there are a lot of what ifs.  What if she sees pictures and misses him or her so much, she wants him back?  What if, she thinks we are not being the BEST parents, or she disagrees  with some choice we have made?  What if she calls EVERYDAY, day and night?

I am happy to say, actually very happy to share, my opinions have changed.  Or rather they have been changed.  I cannot, nor will I allow my fear to get in the way of  the potential for a life long, contented and fulfilling relationship with our potential birth mom.  I mean actually, I should say, the woman who will give us the biggest gift we are to ever receive in our whole lives, the gift of a child.  The gift of a life filled with laughter, love, sharing, and family.  My goodness, how can I deny our future child's first mom from sharing in our joy?

We have been trying to adopt and connect with an expecting Mom for about four months now.  I have 'met' through the internet several expecting moms, trying to make big decisions, grappling with huge choices, many of them unsupported and alone. They are trying to gently decide what is in the best interest of their sweet babies, while trying to balance what is in their hearts.  I read their emails, and hear the questions they pose to me. as a potential Mother to their child.  "Will I love their child if they are gay?  Will I love their child as much as the children I already have?  Will I do arts and craft projects with their baby when they are pre-school age?"  Oh my goodness, these Momma LOVE their babies, so very much.  Their questions and concerns, melt my heart. After only a couple of emails, I am usually hooked.  Not hooked on the idea that their baby maybe be the 'one', the baby we get to welcome into our home and care for, but hooked on the sweet Moms, and their worries and their fears, and their needs.  I feel connected and feel vested, and feel the need to care, and to show my care.  I answer "yes, yes, yes, I will love your baby with all my heart".  But, more than that, I want to tell them I love you too!  I love you for the love you have for your baby, I care for you, because you are  having to make the biggest decision in the world, and you are having to be braver, than I think I could ever be.  How scarey, I imagine to share with a stranger your story, share your fears and share your worries with someone perhaps half way across the country.  I quickly form friendships, and have a hard time not carrying, even when they do decide to parent their child.  When we meet OUR Birth Mom, I want always to know her, and to share with her, that yes, she did make a good decision, and that her care and worry does not go unnoticed.  For heaven sakes, it is the least I can do.

The love I have for birth moms is one of the many reasons, we pray for an open adoption.  Another reason we believe in open adoption, and support it was qualified two weekends ago.  We met a new sister named Jenne.  My husband Adam, received a letter in the mail about a month and a half ago.  I came home from work, walked upstairs to where Adam was in our room, and said "hi".  Something was off.  He just said "read that", pointing to a letter on our dresser.  I quickly read the letter and started crying. I tried to hide my tears, not wanting to upset Adam, but right away I felt for him, and more than that I felt for his Mom.  We found out his sweet Mom placed a baby girl with a family, when she was young, unmarried and unsure of where she hoped her future would lead.  As I reread the letter I was struck by the print on the paper.  The writing looked just like Kathy's, Adam's mom.  Even more stirring, was the picture included, her smile, her body, her open face, just like my mother-in-law's. I was excited as well, Jenne, Adam's new found sister, wanted to meet us!  Although Adam's Mom placed her for adoption so many years earlier, she wanted to reach out, and to  meet us all.  The emotions kept coming up the next couple days. Kathy had had a happy life.  Adam's mom, after placing her daughter went on to finish college, got married, and gave birth to my husband, as well as another son.  That woman loved her some babies!  I cannot even imagine the grief she must have endured when saying good bye to her newborn.  

Jenne, her daughter, is now a grownup woman mom with three boys of her own.  She was to be in town shortly after we received the letter, and Adam made plans to have dinner with her.  I asked if her was nervous, he said not really.  He just said he worried it would be awkward, that maybe there would be silences, when neither of them knew what to say next.  He said he would be gone for maybe an hour.  I smiled inside knowing how easy my husband is to talk to, and how kind and open his heart is.  Four hours later he returned!  He was happy, and he said it was fun and natural.  We ALL met her two Saturdays ago, and she is HAPPY, really happy, and has had a great childhood, with many fond memories.  She lives across the street from her adoptive parents for goodness sake, how perfect is that? :) She does not harbor any ill feelings towards Adam's mom (the tragedy of all this is his sweet Mamma passed too early, shortly after our Gracie was born), and is thrilled, as are we to have a whole new family to share.  We met and shared dinner, with Adam's brother Ryan and his family.  Adam had a few cousins stop by, as well as an aunt.  There were probably close to twenty of us total, sitting around and sharing, catching up with pictures and stories. It all felt natural and easy.  Selfishly we were excited to have another piece of Adam's Mom still present with us. They look alike!  Jenne's adoptive family has property close by us in the Seattle area, so we will be seeing more of one another this summer.

It is a very happy ending, and a story that further makes me believe that adoption can have happy endings.  The only part of the story that breaks my heart is that Kathy, Adam's mom, felt compelled to keep this story to herself all these years.  She placed her baby during an era when closed adoptions were the norm. She never got to see how her sweet baby girl grew, or to meet her grandchildren.  That breaks my heart today, even as I write this, but makes me even more solid in my support and hope for open adoption for our family.

We support open adoption because we believe it takes a village to raise a child; the more positive people in a child's life, the better.  We believe in open adoption, because a well adjusted child needs to be raised in an honest, open household, knowing one's roots and heritage is essential.  But mostly we believe in open adoption because a birth mom should always, always be allowed to be a part of their child's life.  I want our birth mom to feel peace with her choices, I do not want her to hurt further because of our actions.  I could not stand to break one more person's heart through a closed adoption.  Our adopted child (if we are so blessed) will always know their birth mom, because she will be apart of his or her life, always.  It is in the best interest of our child, ourselves, and most definitely our birth mom.  We are to all be members of an adoption triad, and that is not something to fear, but to celebrate! 


Lori Lavender Luz said...

Congratulations on your new connections! It's amazing sometimes how may different ways one can be affected by adoption.

Addison said...

I'm so glad you're for open adoption! I think openness, in general, helps all the folks involved with an adoption.

Kirsten and Adam said...

I believe in open adoption, it seems it is what is best for everyone involved. Plus, I sincerely hope it will heal and minimize some of the hurt that our potential birthmother will undoubtedly experience.

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