This post is part of The Open Adoption Roundtable group. The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
What were your reasons for choosing adoption?
Over the last three years I've talked a lot about our open adoption. To anyone that asks, and really......to anyone that doesn't. Because I love it and I'm proud of it and it's kind of like sharing my labor story--just without epidurals, and ice diapers (I've heard about these from my brave friends), and extreme physical pain. And naturally, what people want to talk about with me the most is the fact that we have an open adoption with Georgia's birth-mom and family. A very open one.
They want to know how we came to the decision to have an open adoption. Did it take a lot of thought? Did we spend a lot of time weighing out the options? What books did we read? What experts did we consult?
The answers go like this:
--Up until six weeks before Georgia was born, when we met her birth-parents, our thoughts were, "We will never have an open adoption."
--We didn't weigh out any options; our adoption would be closed.
--I read no books because they all (at least the recently published ones on domestic adoption--all two of them) encouraged open adoption and I didn't want to hear it.
--We consulted no experts and my social worker would just smile a ,"I know you'll change your mind when you meet a set of birth-parents and prove that I'm always right," smile when we expressed our very strong (and of course so well informed) opinions on open adoption.
And that's pretty much where we stood until one wintry February night in 2009 when our social worker called us and said, "Are you guys both home? Can Maggie get on the phone? There are some birth-parents that want to meet you. They're young, amazing kids, they are due in six weeks, and they want to know if you're available to meet them next week?"
In that instant, before I'd ever met them or their parents, before I even knew what their situation in life was, before I knew where they were from, how resolved they were to pursue an adoption plan for their baby, before I knew what they were having, before I knew how supportive their families were of this decision, before I knew if they even wanted an open adoption, and before we'd even gotten off the phone with our social worker I knew we'd have an open adoption.
My hardened resolve melted, just like that. It was like God turned on the light in that dark shadowy part of my 'adoption room' and all of a sudden I could see exactly how things were going to go. And I say, "I saw exactly how things were going to go," as a way of saying that open adoption chose us--we did not chose it. We were not open to it, we weren't interested in it, and I even went as far in my crazy little head to call it irresponsible.
Looking back, I can honestly say that in that moment, even if things hadn't worked out with who are now our daughter's birth-parents, I decided that I wanted an open adoption and probably would have been disappointed if we hadn't been able to have one. I needed that jarring phone-call to realize that in adoption it is not just about me and this picture perfect life that I want to build. There is another family who is making gut wrenching decisions, who love their babies who are having a baby, they are potentially making an adoption plan for their very first grand-child, and they are selfless. I felt an instant bond with Georgia's birth-parents just hearing about them over the phone. I couldn't wait to meet them.....and know them....it just over-came me and to deny that feeling would have been like denying my name was Maggie.
And foremost, there is the baby......my Georgia. Who would become a three year old, who will become a nine year old, a fifteen year old, and who will desire a solid sense of identity that will need to be woven out of her adoptive family and her birth family. Unless the situation with her birth family had been extreme, I refused to be the one who left a weak spot in the development of who she was and will become.
Open adoption for us, like so many other uncontrollable forces in life, didn't really feel like a choice when it came right down to it. To say no to it would have been like trying to force repelling magnets together. As hard as you try, it's not going to happen. And thankfully, in the end you find out that your choices would have been wrong, un-fulfilling, empty, baseless, and that they would have kept you from one of the greatest blessings of your life and ultimately your child's.
Is open adoption for every person, in every adoptive situation. No. And that's okay. And it's also okay to not know you want an open adoption until it washes over you and there is no way out. Take adoption one day at a time, listening to other peoples experiences but knowing every situation is unique and just for you.
For me, for us, for Georgia, for her birth-mom......it works. And it works well.
Open adoption chose us. And we're glad to have been chosen.
And can I just say to all of you who voted for me over at Top Mommy Blogs--THANK YOU! Pink Shoes is the #2 Adoption Blog in their roster and that makes me happy because the more people I can share our adoption story with, the more I can promote adoption as a healthy choice, and the more I can cultivate a culture of adoption in this country--the better! If you haven't voted yet and want to.......that'd be cool. Just click the little brown button at the bottom of my side-bar! That's all you have to do--that's a vote! Thanks in advance!