The Blessings of Open Adoption
My husband, Daniel, and I are high school sweethearts and have been married for 10 years now. Even before we were married, we knew adoption would somehow be a part of our story. We had two biological sons in 2013 and 2014, and a few years later we felt the push to begin our adoption process.
Along the way, we had two matches with two expectant mothers that ultimately did not work out. In the moment we called them “failed adoptions" but now we do not. Nothing about them were failures! Adoption is a heart-wrenching decision that a mother makes for her child, and at the heart of it, she is making a decision that she believes is in the best interest of the child. As adoptive parents, we always wanted to err on that side as well; whatever the mother sees as best is what we would also see as best. We walked with one of the expectant mothers for several months. Ultimately, she decided to parent her baby! How amazing is that? A woman who at first felt hopeless in a situation and was going to place her child for adoption, now felt prepared and empowered to parent her baby! That is amazing and is ultimately what was best for the child. That doesn’t mean we weren’t hurt or emotional. We totally were! Why would God have us go through all of that TWICE? Part of that answer, we may never know this side of eternity. He works in ways we don’t always understand. Maybe it was to hold us over until it was time for our daughter. Maybe it was to open our hearts more and more to open adoption or maybe it was to prepare us to be the best people we could be to our eventual daughter’s birthmother. We did later find out that the first couple we were matched with ended up naming her baby after us! They needed us for a season and, honestly, we needed them for a season too! We don’t know all the answers but we know it was not wasted time.
After those two situations dissolved, we continued on our waiting journey for a situation. We always knew we wanted our adoption journey to include ministering to a brave woman through an open adoption. We just didn’t know exactly what that would look like.
It wasn’t much longer that we heard about our daughter’s situation. This woman’s story (which isn’t mine to tell) grabbed our hearts right away. We said yes to the situation with no hesitation and started communicating with her soon after that. We met a couple days later for a doctor’s appointment. This woman originally asked for a closed adoption because she was also scared of open adoption, but after we met for the first time we were instant friends! It’s a good thing we were instant friends because within a month, our daughter was in our arms.
Let me tell you, there is something incredibly humbling about a woman handing you her baby, with tears and pain in her eyes. I will never forget watching her say goodbye to her daughter, not knowing if she’d ever see her again, and handing her to me- with trust and also fear. Trust that I will take care this baby, but also fear that she may never hear from me again. It’s a moment that is forever etched in my mind. Quite honestly, it’s the moment that motivated me to always love not only our daughter, but also her biological mother. This woman had become my friend and had entrusted us with the most special little gift. We owe our everything to this courageous woman. This baby was hers first, she made a decision to trust us, and we would always hold that trust as a treasure.
We are over a year out now and open adoption has blessed us in many more ways than we ever imagined. Our daughter’s biological mother is still a big part of our lives. We visit, we text, we chat, we’re friends on social media. This causes some people to cringe. Even one of my own family members told me I shouldn’t visit her again because she might try to take my daughter away. Adoption has changed so much over the years. Open adoption is not a way for a mother to “steal back” a baby. Open adoption typically allows a birth mother to feel more at peace with her decision for years to come.
Open adoption has blessed us with TWO family members- our daughter and her biological mother.
Open adoption blessed us with the fact that when our daughter has questions about who her mother is, (and she will- all adoptees do) she’s only a text away.
Open adoption blessed our daughter with two mothers.
Open adoption has blessed our daughter’s birth mother with texts, videos, and updates whenever she wants!
Open adoption has blessed me with a woman to share in motherhood with. She rejoices with me when our daughter does something new. She tells me about her family history when our daughter has something medically come up. We get to share in the beautiful, messy, rewarding gift of motherhood.
I know things are changing quickly in the adoption world and it seems like closed adoption is the “safe choice." However think about your child in the future. Think about them as a teenager. They will have questions and will want answers surrounding their adoption and birth parents. An open adoption will allow adoptive parents to give honest answers and help their children process their thoughts and emotions.
In adoption, many times the focus is on the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents play an important role, yes, but honoring the adoptive family should not come by dishonoring the birth mother and the child. Open adoption allows for everyone to be honored in the process and is ultimately a beautiful way to share love and care with a woman who made the most selfless decision of her life.
We are greatly blessed by our open adoption. I could not imagine it being any other way. We were blessed with a beautiful daughter, a lifelong friend, and I get to share motherhood with the strongest and most courageous woman I know.