As one of the adoption counselors at IAC I constantly share tidbits of my personal adoption experience with current and prospective clients. My two children (now young adults) have the same birthmother with three bio-siblings and my daughter placed a baby in an open adoption several years ago.
I am very impressed with my daughter and her son’s birthfather because they are committed to doing shared visits with the adoptive family even though they did not stay together (much like her own placement situation). Their child is growing up knowing who his birthparents are, and his parents are very appreciative to have them in their lives. We all hope that this ongoing relationship will always continue.
Our Son’s Birthfather
We met our son’s birthfather one time, in a very unique situation. We were at our daughter’s birthmother’s (Stacy) house when our daughter was a few months old. Stacy, our daughter’s birthfather, several other birth family members and the guy that Stacy was currently dating (Tim) were all there. As if that whole situation didn’t seem strange enough….Tim was himself an adult adoptee who was VERY excited about open adoption because his adoption was closed and he had questions and had been unable to find his birthmother. None of us at that visit could have ever imagined that Tim would end up being our son’s birthfather.
It wasn’t until several months later that Stacy finally called my husband and I to tell us that she was pregnant again, and to ask if we would also adopt this baby. Of course we said yes and our son Geremy was born about six weeks later. We also discovered that Tim was his birthfather, but he had apparently had moved out of the area. At this point we assumed that he was so embarrassed that he had gotten Stacy pregnant again that he left the area on his own accord.
Fast-forward about 21 years and we still had a wonderful relationship with Stacy, her husband and her three younger children. Shortly after our son Geremy turned 21, I received an email from Stacy that read:
Thought I should drop you a quick note. I received an email from Geremy’s birthfather, Tim, yesterday, and have responded. Not sure how I’m feeling about it right now. I wanted to find out if I can give him your contact info (email address) if he asks about Geremy. I don’t know if Geremy is wanting any info from him, but I would like to grab the opportunity, if he does.
My heart started racing as I read it and like Stacy, I also had some mixed emotions as all sorts of scenarios and questions began to run through my head. One of the first things that came to mind was, “Why now and where is he coming from in terms of establishing contact now?” Of course I said yes, but I wanted to get a better understanding of the situation before I said anything to Geremy. A mother’s protective instinct is very strong, and I wanted to serve as the “go-between” in establishing contact. I emailed Tim that same day and his response (with the subject being “Adopted Too”) was:
I’m nervous and excited about knowing Geremy. I only hope that he feels the same.
I am searching him out now because I didn’t want to interfere with your raising him.
It is important to me that he was at least 21 before trying to find him. I know what it’s like to be adopted. Anyway, I’m looking forward to meeting you all. Thank you for all you have done being parents.
From that point forward we quickly not only established contact with our son’s birthfather, but they had their first visit and now have an ongoing relationship. Most of their communication is via text messaging and Facebook, and Tim sends a gift every birthday and Christmas.
This reunion was something I never expected. For years I thought I was protecting my son by not talking about his birthfather to avoid giving him the impression that Tim didn’t care. I realized that I should have spoken about him even though I did not have much information and Stacy was also available to answer questions. A lesson learned that I now share with clients!
Our Daughter’s Birthfather
Seeing her brother connect with his birthfather led our daughter Marielle to wonder about her birthfather as well. She knew we had a few visits with him (AJ) when she was a baby, but he did not keep in contact with us after about the first two years, despite the fact that Stacy made an effort to continue to invite him to visits.
Eventually, I was able to get some contact information for him but I wasn’t sure if it was for the right person. I made an attempt to call, but the phone just rang. It took me a long time before I finally sat down and wrote him a note, mailed it and gave him my email address.
About ten days later I received an email with the subject line “Marielle.” In it, he stated that I had found the right person and gave his direct contact information. He said it was good to hear from us and to call any time…..so I did. We talked for nearly an hour and he is anxious to have the chance to talk to Marielle directly. One thing that stood out about our conversation was that he said he didn’t try to contact us because he knew that Marielle was in good hands, and he didn’t have to worry about her.
Both of our birthfather stories show that despite going for over 20 years without contact, neither of them forgot about the children they fathered. Both of them indicated in their own ways that the preceding years without contact was because they didn’t want to interfere with or bother us. They also just as clearly indicated that they still love these two beautiful children!