People often ask what it is like to have an open adoption with my son’s birth parents. There are often questions of whether I have hesitation, concerns, or jealousy when we have visits with his birth family. I actually look forward to these precious moments. We have had a truly unique adoption experience with our son. He came to us at the age of 7 months, directly from the arms of his loving birth family. Due to his extensive medical needs, the family made the difficult decision to place him for adoption. A decision, I know, that came about from the unconditional love that only a parent has for their child.
Here we stood, in a small chapel at the hospital waiting nervously for the moment that would forever change our lives. As excited as I was, this was going to be a difficult day. There is nothing that could have prepared me for the moment our baby boy was laid into my arms. Our social worker slowly opened the door and in walked the small family; mother, father, and two sons. The mother held her baby tightly, rocking back and forth as mothers do when they hold their infants. She stroked his tiny little hands and feet as she went over his extensive routine with my husband and I. The father was preoccupied with their toddler, but his face looked tired, defeated and sad. They presented us with a beautiful gift. Why give US gifts? We were floored by their kindness and generosity. Of course, we had gifts for them, along with a heartfelt letter that took me what seemed like several weeks to write. I couldn’t even put into words everything I wanted to say, but I narrowed it down to two pages. The moment quickly came, it was time for them to say their goodbyes and for us to say hello to our new son. I was a bucket of nerves. The father touched his baby boy quickly and was overcome with emotion. It was all too much. He quickly left the chapel with their toddler, who gently kissed his baby brother goodbye. The mother was trying so hard to be strong as she caressed and kissed her baby boy. They baby she carried in her belly for nine long months. The baby she rocked, held, and mothered for seven short months. She hesitated a few times before tearfully placing him in my arms. I became overcome with so many different emotions that I was shaking. My eyes welled up and I could barely see. I was so incredibly happy to have this beautiful baby in my arms, but I was so incredibly sad for his birth parents. There was guilt, sadness, and responsibility for their immense grief. I cannot imagine the strength it took for them to entrust their baby boy to another family. They walked in together as a family of four and an hour later, walked out as a family of three.
The next few days showed both joy and sadness. We had to stay at a hotel for 5 days while the inter-state adoption finalized so that we could head home to Indiana. I was instantly in love with our beautiful baby boy, and it was as if I had given birth to him myself. I could just burst with the love I felt for him. Sadly, I could see at times, his sadness as he looked up at me only wanting to be comforted by his birth mother. I could not help but grieve for him and his other family and their tremendous loss. It was bittersweet. Of course, with time, things settled down, things fell into their own, and our son had formed an attachment to us, his adoptive parents. Soon after, the bond formed with his new siblings. We still feel beyond blessed.
When I speak of our son, I never refer to him as my adopted son. He is simply my son and I love him as just that. I often refer to myself as his chosen mother. Why? Because, in all truthfulness, my son has two mothers. He has two mothers, two fathers, and two families that absolutely love and adore him. After all, this is about him and he deserves all the love in the world. I try to never take a day for granted, because I know on the other end, there has been grief and loss. We have been so fortunate to celebrate our son and share some wonderful moments with his birth family. Two families that have become one. Sometimes, love does really conquer all.