When our first son was born, we knew that we wanted an open adoption. We had no idea what that openness would look like. I remember our adoption coordinator trying to initiate a conversation between our child’s birth mother and us in the weeks leading up to our son’s birth. In truth, we were afraid. We had no idea who this person was, though instinct told me that I could trust her, immediately. So we mutually decided to just figure it out as we went.
When he was born, things just fell into place. Seeing her strength and resolve while in the hospital solidified what I always knew. She was strong, honest, and determined to do the best for her son. For our son now. She made it so easy by just being her. She attended his baptism when he was just a few weeks old and visited us in our home. It has always been a natural relationship. That isn’t to say it’s without issues. She is a human. She has complex feelings and emotions, and she was in deep, deep pain after his placement.
When we added children to our home from foster care, we knew we had to be realistic about openness in adoption. We wanted, desperately, for each of our children to have open adoptions. However, we didn’t know if it would be an option. We have, thankfully, been able to have those open relationships. But I will tell you that these are the most difficult to navigate.
One of my children remembers their first mother; the other does not. But they know they are loved. Each of these relationships is complicated by mental health, chemical dependency, and love. Our children’s birth mothers love their children immensely. But they couldn’t care for them and keep them safe. One of them accepts that, and that I’m her child’s new mother. The other is trying so hard, but she’s resentful, hurt, and angry.
Through the ups and downs, we try to remain honest and respectful. That’s not to say I’m not human and don’t get frustrated, and the same goes with their birth mothers. I don’t expect them to like every decision we make. I don’t even expect them to respect it.
We believe that this will ultimately be the best type of family for our children. To know, remember, and honor the love that they have with their first mothers, as well as the safety, stability, and abundance of love that they have with our family.
In each of our open adoptions, we try to nurture the relationship in the best way we can. We have been careful to not make it about gifts or money, though we have helped them out when we can. But these women have become family to us. One is like a sister, another like a daughter, and another, well, we’re working it on, but at least we’re friends for now.
It’s beautiful. I have not only gained children but birth moms who have brought joy and enrichment to our lives, who have added fun and frustration. And so many memories for our children.