A Birthmom’s Story: Open Adoption Has Set Me Free

This guest post is by Jena, a birthmother

open-adoption-has-set-me-freeTen years ago, when I was 18, I found myself pregnant with the first person I’d ever been intimate with. The idea of adoption was an initial thought, but nothing I took seriously until I was eight months along.

I didn’t think that today, a decade later, I would be sharing my story as a birth mother.  How grateful I am to be able to hold that title and share what is dear to my heart.

I am so grateful for adoption. I love being able to support and share my love for adoption, and to be able to be an advocate for it in its entirety.

When I placed my son, there were specific guidelines which needed to be followed after placement. The first three months after placement I received pictures and a letter once week.

At the three month mark, up to the six months, I received pictures and a letter once every two week. There were no phone calls, no texts, no email exchanged. There were also no personal addresses exchanged.

I wasn’t supposed to know the adoptive parents’ last names, or where they lived. All items were sent back and forth through the agency, and all personal information was left out.

Even though it was hard to have openness dictated through our agency, it helped having a set time frame where I’d know that I would receive pictures and letters. Those items were gold, and the words from my angel boy’s mom and dad carried me for months to follow.

open-adoption-has-set-me-freeYou can meet as soon as you’d like. You can exchange email addresses, last names, home addresses, etc. etc.

Truly, I know it’s time to have adoption openness as an option.  I have seen, first-hand, the healing that comes from the relationships that are able to be cultivated because of these new ‘guidelines’. And I am so happy that we, as birth mothers, are able to build lasting relationships with our babies and their parents.

The difference between my own healing, and those of birth mothers today, I feel, are monumental. I had wanted so badly to continue talking to this little boy’s mom and dad. To continue to love and build a relationship with them.

Because it wasn’t just about that little boy I loved so much; it was about his mom and dad I loved so much. I feel it hindered my healing, my growth, my progress, by not being able to sustain them as his parents. Sure, I was able to send letters as well, but it wasn’t the same as being able to hear their voices, and for them to hear mine.

My gorgeous adoptive family added another gorgeous child to their family through adoption seven years after I placed. They were able to meet the birth mother numerous times before placement. To be able to talk to her on the phone, through e-mails, and texts.

It has been healing, for me, to see this birthmother grow and progress.

She thrived, and healed so much quicker than I had, her joy and success readily evident as that first year passed.

open-adoption-has-set-me-freeBecause of the defined boundaries so early on in our adoption, and what little we were able to communicate before placement, it’s made reaching out hard. Thankfully, we do have an open adoption, I have seen my son twice, and I do have that personal information I didn’t have before.

But it’s scary to reach out, to communicate with the closure we experienced. Communication is so vital in open adoption. Keeping those lines open is scary, and intimidating.

But the desire to be able to show my love and appreciation to them is just as important. It hasn’t been easy, I’m sure I’ve made mistakes as a birth mother, but I hope they know I love them!

Because of how adoption has progressed and changed, I can communicate more confidently in my own adoption. I don’t expect more openness, or more from them.

The fear of the unknown is torture, and the knowledge that we can gain through communication is SO HEALING! I didn’t know I had healing left to do, but being able to communicate because of the publicity of open adoption has set me free!

Jena is a 20-something birthmother living in Southern Utah. She is married, with three children, and loves her little family. She is so happy for the support of her family, her adoptive family, and her extended family. She has begun to get more involved in the adoption community and blogs about her story at My Adoption Destination.  

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