Open adoption is a wonderful thing. We adopted our first son in 2011 and our second son in 2014.
Although both adoptions are open, at the beginning of the process we were very scared about the whole idea. We thought that if we had an open adoption, the birthmother might change her mind and want her baby back.
We also thought it would cause confusion in our children’s minds as they got older. Our biggest fear was that we would love a child so much and then we would lose them.
The way we overcame our fears was by doing a lot of research and talking to other people who had adopted.
It made us feel so much better not only about open adoption but also about what closed adoption means.
Let me tell you a story about a closed adoption. Someone very close to me was adopted, and they were not told who their biological parents where and what their true background was.
The sad fact is they didn’t have the best childhood or adulthood. Every day they struggled with their identity and about where they truly belonged. After having seen this for myself I knew that this would never be an option for me and my family.
I am so excited to be able to tell my sons about their loving mothers.
I am so excited to share their birthmothers’ pictures with them whenever they want. I can tell my youngest son that I got to spend four days with his birth mother and I can tell him what she is really like!
An open adoption is a wonderful experience where your child gets to know where he came from and doesn’t have to fight to fit in because he fits into more than one place!
When it came to write our profile, the hardest part for my husband and I was trying to express in words what a birthmother’s decision meant to us. We wanted children so badly.
But it was also a time to reflect on what was important to us. You have to try to convey in a very short biography what adoption means, why you are trying to adopt, what type of life do you live, and how you will raise the child if you are lucky enough to get chosen.
It took my husband and I about three months and seven drafts to complete our first profile.
We both did a separate draft. We knew that whatever information we both put into ours needed to be in our final profile. We wanted to make sure we said exactly what we felt!
The moment we were presented with our first birthmother’s profile and talked to her through email, we knew that she was our future. It was not hard to communicate with her. She made us feel like we were a part of the process.
She let us get to know not only her, but also her mother, sister, and her other two sons! We became a part of her family!
We talked to her two or three times a week before the placement. With our second birthmother, we talked almost every day.
Both of our son’s birthmothers liked the fact that we did not care about race.
We were told numerous times that what drew them to us was the fact that we were open and talked about our feelings about race.
Our second son’s birthmother also got to see my first son grow up in our environment and see that her child would be loved just as much.
When people ask me how did I develop a relationship with our children’s birth families, I tell them one word: communication! Just like in every relationship it’s the key.
You must keep communication open and flowing. Never be scared to talk to your children’s birthmothers. They are probably feeling the same things you are just in the opposite way.
By talking with my children’s birthmothers, I came to know them.
That way when my sons are older I will be able to tell them what amazing birth mothers they have!
My advice for waiting adoptive parents is to just remember that every adoption is like a nine-month pregnancy. Yes, you are excited and yes, you want your bundle of joy to be here now!
But that isn’t heathy for your child or for you. While waiting for a placement make sure you keep an open mind.
Everybody’s situation is so different. The person you least expect could be your future child’s birthmother. The other thing you need to understand is that your child will be a part of you and her forever.
The feelings you will have immediately after a placement are normal. You will be anxious and excited and scared. This is just like you would be if you were having the child. Take the time to bond with your family and your child’s birthparents.
Also, if you have other children or family members that are a part of the process with you, take the time to fill them in on state laws and what your birthing plan is — meaning the hospital and hotel stay!That way everyone feels they have a part in the experience.
After a placement, you may need to give your child’s birthmother some distance.
It’s important to respect her wishes because you don’t know what her recovery and healing process is like. You have to be willing to take a step back and, at the same time, take a step forward.
Describing what our son’s birthmothers mean to me is a very hard. Not because I don’t know how I feel about it, but because there are not enough words in the English language to describe it.
They are my angels, my gifts from God. I would not have my blessings if it weren’t for them. They are courageous, giving, and nurturers.
Stereotypes about birthmothers is a terrible thing.
I don’t know how many times I have been told by people who have not adopted, “Oh that child is so lucky.” Or “Just think where that child would be at if you hadn’t adopted him.” Or “She must be a pretty bad person to give the child up.”
Every time I hear these phrases it makes me want to scream. I normally bite my tongue and respond with “The child is not lucky. I am.” Or “I don’t know where the child would be but I am so blessed that she made the hardest choice in her life and chose me instead of another path.”
No one can ever understand what a mother goes through to come to the decision of adoption.
When I say “my angels” I mean it. They gave me something that I struggled to give myself for about 8 years.
I could not have a child. Without my children’s birthmothers I would not have the special gifts I have now that I get to call my sons. At the end of the day the stereotypes can get lost in it all.
If people don’t see the blessings that my children are then I guess they have never had to struggle like adoptive parents have.
I love my blended family and wouldn’t change it for all the money in the world.
Here is where the stereotypes come into play again. People will say, “Oh, you can’t possibly raise them right. “ Or “Oh, won’t you be scared about racial profiling? “
These questions burn me to the core. Why are people so ignorant like that? Whether the child is white, African American, Asian, or purple, I would raise him the same way. As a child.
My skin color might be different on the outside but skin is only there to cover your bones and organs. It is there to regulate your body temperature. Just like the color of one’s eyes.
Would you treat a blue-eyed child any different if the parents had brown eyes? No, because the only purpose of your eyes is to let you see!
We get the looks and the smirks and people talking under their breath.
That’s fine because my children will grow up knowing that racial profiling happens in all races and no matter what they are doing I will always be scared for them regardless of their color.
I will be scared for them and worry about them because they are MY CHILDREN. They will grow up in a family that knows the true meaning of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
They will be put to bed every night knowing that their mother loves them so much that she would give her last breath if it meant they could live longer.
My blended family is perfect and it was the family that God picked for me.
Courtney Johnson is a wife, a mother of three amazing kids and a member of the United States Navy. She loves to run, read, and of course talk about her family!
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