The idea of ‘open adoption’ makes some people shutter. Immediately images of crazy lifetime movies and baby snatchers pop into their heads….and even the notion of a safe ‘open adoption’ seems unbelievable and risky.
Well….we weren’t quite that extreme, but when we began our adoption journey, we were a little hesitant about this whole ‘birth-mom’ thing. Mostly, we were just completely ignorant about the issue. And like with so0o0o0o many other things, inclining yourself to understanding and knowledge changes everything.
So here we were a couple of months into our adoption process, having read about birth-parents and open adoption (particularly helpful was “Dear Birth-mother”), and we are seriously PRAYING that God will give us a special relationship with our future baby’s birth-family. This had truly become way high up there on our list of desires we had for our adoption journey. God had grown this openness into a deep desire for this special relationship between us (adoptive parents), our child and his birth-family.
After many “ups and then downs’ during our process, we had become weary. We were clinging to the belief that God’s plan for our adoption would come to reality, while inside we wondered if we were crazy. Those moments were fleeting though, and God gave us a deep faith in His trustworthiness and His heart for the orphan. Those thing would not be questioned.
We found out from our agency about Camden’s birth on a Friday and excitedly responded that we wanted to be considered by his birth-mother for placement. After 12 babies that we had responded positively to, only to go to different families, we were very hesitant to get excited at this point. Adoption is VERY hard emotionally, as it is IMPOSSIBLE to not start loving a child you know you might parent. It is painstakingly difficult to separate yourself emotionally….but at this point…there was a little more distance between our hearts and their raw emotions, and this recent email we received about baby boy U.
3 days later on a Monday night, I got dressed in my scrubs and went into work for a typical night in the ER. Luke shows up around 8:00 with a strangely neutral, but mysterious look on his face. I was certain Lucas or Tessa was injured and he didn’t want to explain it all in the lobby. So he asked if we could talk. I brought him into this little registration room and he has Lucas (then 4) hand me a paper that says “Happy Mothers Day!”. Immediately my entire world swirled into chaos and I completely fell apart. Tears and shaking and PURE JOY at the news that this baby boy was OURS!!!!!!! Not only that…..apparently God knew we would have done awful with the waiting for our birth-mom during pregnancy….we didn’t have to wait—-we could go pick him up the next afternoon!!!!!! It was UNREAL.
The next weeks were almost exactly the same as bringing a biological infant home from the hospital (Camden was 2 weeks). We were love-struck and EXHAUSTED. I immediately started nursing (which he latched perfectly the very first time, a post on that later) and everything else swung into motion with a family of a 4, 2.5 and newborn. We were nutty….and God was faithful.
We were told that Camden’s birth-mom and her family felt it would be best for her to stay ‘out of the picture’ so she could heal and move on. We prayed that her heart would change in time to the idea of a relationship with us. Well, once again, it did. We met with her that summer when Camden was just 6 months old. It was awkward and no one knew exactly what to say, but it was clear that we were all thrilled at God’s masterful plan in orchestrating this beautiful story. Over and over again she reminded us of her confidence in her decision, and the peace that this has brought in her life. She was the most gentle, sweetest, trusting girl we could have asked for! God has really been faithful to bring healing into her life after this life-altering hard decision she made for the love of our son.
Since then we have seen her one other time, right after Camden turned 1. We regularly exchange emails and pictures, and we truly consider her a part of our family. She has never once given us any reason to mistrust her, and we feel incredibly blessed to have the privilege of this relationship with her.
Research and anecdotal evidence from adoptive families reveals that children, adoptive parents and birth-parents fare better with adoption plans when there is openness. Secrets don’t build hearts and lives, rather truth and grace do.
Meeting with Camden’s birth-mom has affirmed in such a powerful way my role as mother to my sweet boy Cam. She clearly tells me that I am his mother, and seeing the way he interacts with her and the way he interacts with me, reminds me of this truth. She has a very important role in his life as his heritage and beginner of life that I will never have. The role I have is his mother. The wiper of his tears, the tucker-in at night, the time-out setter, the every-day-I-need-you-mom. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I haven’t been grateful to have been given this treasured role as mom.
People are still skeptical when we share our story and our love for Camden’s birth-mom, but we really don’t need others to understand. We do long for people who are pursuing adoption to open their heart to this great possibility….and we are excited to see how this progresses and how the love we are putting into this relationship will bless Camden in the future.
♥ Mindful Mama
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