When we set out on our adoption journey, we quickly realized that Open Adoption was the model that felt right for our family. As we moved through the process, we learned that even for those that set out to have an open adoption, not all end up that way. Some birth mother’s “disappear” for awhile or forever, some adoptive families only want to honor their minimum agreements, and other circumstances come into play.
We knew that even though we were working through the IAC, we were not guaranteed to be matched with a situation that would be a true open adoption. As I was dreaming of the family we would become, I really hoped that we would end up with a birth family that wanted to maintain involvement in our child’s life. Our dream became a reality and we couldn’t have imagined something more beautiful than what we have.
As many of you may have already encountered, people outside of the open adoption community are often fearful & have a hard time understanding why we would want such openness. Many people think openness is risky or would take something away from us as adoptive parents, that it would make us less of “the real parents”. Thankfully, we have had the opportunity to show so many people around us that is simply not the case. Our family grew by much more than just one adorable little girl. We gained several more people to love her and to love us as her parents.
Our open adoption agreement includes in-person visits every other year (simply because of living on opposite coasts). We share lots of pictures and texts, and have a blog set up so extended family can check in anytime without having to wait for updates. After placement, we were moved to offer to fly our birth family out to visit for our daughter’s first birthday. That choice ended up being an incredibly worthwhile experience.
We had an overnight visit with our birthmother’s aunt, which was absolutely wonderful. The following day, our daughter’s birthparents & 4 year old brother (whom they are parenting) arrived for a week long visit. We had a wonderful time getting to know one another better & enjoying each others company. Perhaps the most special times were seeing the kids play together.
Before the trip, our birthmother told us how happy she was that she had chosen the right family. Nothing could warm my heart more than hearing that. Our time together was very comfortable & natural. They loved getting to know our daughter more & in every way honored us as her parents.
As we shared our visit with our loved ones on Facebook, so many people’s eyes were opened to the beauty of our open adoption. One friend, whose youngest child was adopted was inspired by our experience to reach out to her son’s birth family while on a family vacation to his place of birth. She told me she was initially very irritated at the idea, but took the plunge after seeing our experience. It turned out to be the most beautiful, heartwarming experience for everyone involved.
We are so very grateful to have the loving birth family that we do. Our daughter has even more people to love her. Nothing could have prepared us for the roller-coaster ride we experienced to arrive here, but thankfully we now have our happily ever after. Being able to share this experience with our daughter’s birth family makes it that much richer.