This guest post is by Heidi Sprouse, an adoptee and author.
I was adopted 44 years ago. I don’t know if open adoption even existed then, but my adopted parents—my real parents, the only parents I’ve ever known—were very open about my adoption.
I knew from a young age. They made sure I understood and spoke freely about my adoption, that they were unable to have a child of their own and my biological mother gave them the most incredible gift—me.
I had a special birthday for the day that they brought me home, grew up in a nurturing home where I was allowed to explore the world around me, and knew nothing but love.
In my mind, being adopted has been nothing but a positive experience. While I do not know my birth parents, I have always held them with only love in my heart.
I know a little bit about my biological mother, that she was Catholic, single, and nineteen.
I do not know if she was forced to give me up or simply could not care for me.
I will be forever grateful to her. She gave me life and by allowing me to be adopted, she gave me a family.
I grew up in upstate New York on Ballston Lake with a middle class family. I never lacked for anything and learned the value of hard work. I was always imaginative, filled with energy, and outgoing.
My adopted parents did everything possible to encourage my interests and give me opportunities.
I traveled to Colombia as an exchange student, graduated as Valedictorian, went on to graduate at the top of my class and college, and became a teacher.
I’ve taught for 20 years. Twelve years ago, Dad died and I turned to another passion, writing, to deal with his passing. Since then, I’ve published four novels. Another is soon to be released.
With every word I write, I know my dad is cheering me on because he would tell me to go for it and dream big. Adoption made that possible for me.
Adoption has been nothing but a blessing.
For anyone else who is considering adopting or is thinking about taking part in an open adoption, I want you to know that it opens the door to opportunities and a brighter future for the child.
Isn’t that the main goal in the end? Everyone’s lives become richer for it when a little one is provided for in a loving home. The birth parents are sharing an incomparable gift with a family waiting for a child.
In many ways, adoption sets birth parents, the child, and adopted parents free.
My main advice that I would give anyone thinking about adopting a child. Be open in every way. I’ve met too many adoptees who were deeply resentful to discover they were adopted later in life.
When it’s known, understood, and a welcome topic of conversation, it becomes the fabric of an adoptee’s life, a part of who that person is.
If you are fortunate to be part of an open adoption, a bond will be formed between all of you.
There is always enough love to go around and no need for secrecy.
To anyone considering sharing your child for adoption, it is the most selfless act that you could ever do. There is no shame in it.
You will give your child a nest, a chance to spread his or her wings, and the freedom to grow up with the best possible life.
I thank my birth mother and my adoptive parents every day for the life I’ve been given. My adoption has allowed me to realize my potential.
Heidi Sprouse is a wife, teacher, mother, and writer in upstate New York. She’s always believed in pursuing her dreams, thanks to the adopted parents who gave her wings and set her free to fly. Find out more at her website.
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