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Open Adoption Series: Part 1

Today is the start of a series on the blog featuring families who have open adoptions.  I'm so grateful for my friend Anne who is sharing today about their experience with open adoption! 



Open adoption is a beautiful form of unconditional love.  It’s incredible to witness the relationship between our daughter and her birthfamily.  I do hear things, like "aren't you afraid they will take her?", and "don't they try to parent her too?" These comments are so far from the truth.   However, I get it because I didn't understand it at one point either.   I know that the idea of open adoption is a tough concept to wrap your head around.  Getting to tell some of our story, and show that it is good and healing, is a gift to me.

Before we started the process of adopting, I was afraid that if our child’s birth family was their life, it would take away from my role as mother.  I was afraid that our child would identify more with them than with me.  Through books and classes at our agency, we became more educated on open adoption.   We decided that we were open to it, but the level of openness wasn't something we could determine until after we met the expectant mom.  How could we define a relationship with someone we'd never met?  My fears went away by living it out.  I am my girl’s mom.  In my eyes, and in her birth family’s eyes.  That fear never came into play.  As far as her identifying with them more than me, I rejoice in the ways she will see herself in them.  I get so excited when we put together how some of her mannerisms or personality traits are theirs.  I know that this will be beneficial for her in the future, and a way to identify her roots.   It’s so cool to see how she sticks her tongue out like her birth aunt, has this inherit kindness to her like her birthmom, and then also has my husband’s sense of humor.


We met our daughter’s birth mom and her birthmom's parents when she was a little over a week old.  She had been born at 28 weeks and was in NICU.  Her birthmom wanted to meet us to make the determination if we were who she was going to chose to parent her child.   That meeting sealed the deal for us on how we felt about open adoption.  We felt the bond right away with them.  When we left, my husband and I knew we were all in, not just with this baby girl, but with this family as well.  We adored them.  However, they had shared with us that they were unsure about open adoption.   They, like most people, didn't know much about it, and were uncertain if it was really best for Casey.   It made us sad to hear but we told them that we understood, and were open if that changed in the future.  After a few excruciating days of waiting, we heard that she had chosen us and wanted us to meet this tiny baby girl. 


I can look back and see how God has woven His way through it all.  Things that I didn't understand at the time all were part of a bigger story.  Casey was a month old when relinquishment was signed.  Although we never doubted that our daughter was ours, waiting to see that in writing was emotionally trying.  But that wait was such a necessary time in our daughter's life.   Her birthgrandma came to see her every day.  Her birthmom came when she was able to.  We got to know them very well.  The NICU experience is intense, and due to Casey being born during flu season, it meant that it was only us and her birth family going through it together, as no one else was allowed in.  It's an experience that bonds you quickly.  By the time relinquishment signing came, our birthmom decided she wanted an open adoption.  This made the wait so worth it.


We see Casey's birth grandparents every 6 weeks or so, and her birthmom when she is available as she lives out of the area.  We text, and do visits at our house or meet someplace fun.  They are fun to be around and I always enjoy spending that time together.  I try to take a  backseat in the visits, as I am aware that this is their time to make memories.  I get so many of her moments, sharing some with them is a privilege.  What I see in them is a fierce love for this little girl.   I think about how Casey's grandma came to spend time with her every day in the nicu, for 82 days, knowing at the end Casey would come home with us.  But she still came, and poured her love into this child.  Her birthmom was willing to make the toughest  choice because of how much she loves her.   I want people in my daughter's life that love her that much.  

It's not always easy.   There have been situations that have come up that bring additional stress.  Even though I feel anxiety in these seasons, I am sure what they are feeling is much harder.  It’s one of those things that I hear often, but it really is true.  My joy is someone else’s sorrow, and it’s important to me that I have compassion and never take for granted the gift that my daughter is to us.  I know God is writing the bigger story here, and even though I can’t see it all clearly, He is shown me that He is in control.  I expect that there will still continue to be hard seasons, and as in all relationships, it takes time and loads of grace.  They are our family, and we work through it together.   Just like I can't imagine our life without Casey, I can't imagine our life without them. 

1 comment

  1. Amazing to hear your story, Anne!! So beautiful!

    ReplyDelete

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