As D and I started the adoption process, I was on board for everything that was about to happen…
A baby that might not look like us? Totally cool.
The uncertainty of knowing when that baby might come? No rush.
Doing lots of paperwork? I love filling out forms!
But then the whole “open adoption” topic came up, and all of a sudden I wasn’t so sure. The agency that we chose is an open adoption agency (and all of the other ones we looked at were too), so it seemed we’d need to go this route. If you’re not familiar with what an open adoption means, the Cradle (our agency) defines it as: “Birth families and adoptive families have the opportunity to get to know one another before and after placement, in a way that is comfortable and acceptable for everyone. An open adoption relationship can take the form of phone calls, visits, exchanging photos and letters – like any other relationship, yours will evolve over time.”
This freaked me out. It sounded really weird. Wouldn’t it be really confusing for the baby? And most importantly, I was going to be the mom…I didn’t want someone else in the picture. But then everything changed.
First, I took a class on open adoption. And no lie, five minutes into the class my eyes got wide. I nudged D in the arm and said “I get it!” You know how Oprah talks about AHA moments? I had the biggest one of my life. The biggest AHA was that I was being one big selfish brat. Openness had absolutely nothing to do with me, it had everything to do with my future child. With openness, my babe would know from day one where he came from. He would have a clearer sense of identity. He would have access to his medical history. And he would know this his birth mother chose the family that would love him forever. I just burst into tears typing that…because the second thing that changed me forever was meeting Sid’s birth mom.
It’s hard for me to describe how I feel about her. She’s kind, beautiful, funny, strong, calm, and smart. The first time I met her, I felt immediately connected to her as if she’d been in our lives forever. She’s young, but very wise. She has an old soul, the same way Sid does. The coincidences between us are too personal to share, but if I told you them you wouldn’t believe me anyway. D and I left the match meeting feeling so happy/giddy/overwhelmed that we didn’t even talk for awhile. And then I finally burst out a “WHAT THE F?!” It was one the coolest days of our lives.
In Sid’s room, there’s a photo of the four of us (me, D, Sid, and his birth mom) sitting together on a couch the day we brought him home. She has a huge smile on her face, and D and I are on either side. I’m a happy mess with tear-stained cheeks and D looks like he can’t even believe what’s happening. The four of us look like a family. Because we are a family. A very different kind of family and one that I never imagined having. But one that is more full of love than I even know how to deal with.
I know that every open adoption relationship is different. And our relationship might change over time. But in the land of crazy Lifetime Movies and sensationalized media coverage of adoption, I wanted to share a story that was positive and maybe create a little more awareness around this sensitive topic. Because no matter how much you might be on board for adoption and no matter how supportive and loving your friends and family are, this is one topic that can still make you/them feel a little uneasy. I understand, I used to feel that uneasiness too.
This week, leading up to Mother’s Day, I’ve thought so much about Sid’s birth mother. We share texts and photos every month or so, and I feel so comfortable around her. But I wasn’t exactly sure how to approach this day. What do I say to her? Do I say anything at all? I asked D his advice. He said he already had it covered. He said he was going to thank her for making me a mom.
And just like that, I just burst into tears again.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas, sisters, aunts, grandmas, and women that take care of us.
photo credit: Simply By Suzy
What do you think about open adoption? Does it make you feel uneasy? Do you have a cool story to share?