This guest post is by Heather and Holly, hopeful adoptive parents.
We were pretty tired by the time we discovered the open adoption exit and my immediate, war weary reaction was no *bleeping* way.
My reaction was the same one you get from an unknowing family member or friend. The same one I saw Matt Lauer utter after a beautiful segment on open adoption on the Today show a few weeks ago.
My reaction went something like this: ‘You expect me to open myself and my imagined future child up to the drama and heartache that will surely come with a woman who is unable to parent her own kid?’
Thankfully Holly is wonderfully level headed and smart, and she convinced me to open myself up to at least exploring the concept. So we started reading. We talked to friends and family about their experiences with adoption, open vs. closed.
We attended a seminar at the agency we eventually signed up with, the Independent Adoption Center. And slowly we started seeing open adoption for its truth, its beauty and its perfect rightness.
Of course this is exactly the way adoption should be done! We had made it to our final and intended destination, though now the real work was just beginning.
The never ending paperwork, the background checks, the medical physicals, recounting our life stories on paper and in front of perfect strangers, creating our profile, etc. was nothing compared to the work of opening up our hearts and leaving them that way.
The practice that we’ve had sharing straight from our hearts while maintaining our blog and other social media outlets has helped. There is still the desire to paint a prettier/better picture than is our reality.
The saleswoman in me wants to embellish the truth or give our lives a fresh coat of paint, but we’ve learned to be our authentic, however imperfect, selves – and it’s worked!
When K called us on our 1-800 number out of the blue two months ago, it took our breath away. Young, pregnant and considering an adoption plan, she had read our profile, looked at our pictures and social media sites and liked what she had learned.
She had really seen us and wanted to get to know us better! With totally open hearts we spent the next month getting to know K, dreaming of raising the baby girl she was carrying, and falling in love with this amazing young woman.
Sometimes she wouldn’t return our texts or she’d talk about giving up her college dreams in favor of a life with her on again/off again boyfriend and we’d want to run away and close up our hearts.
We didn’t, though. We stayed right by her side offering her support, being our authentic selves, sharing, hoping and staying open.
When she told us that she had decided to parent, our hearts felt like they were going to break. The pain was even more raw than all those negative pregnancy tests thousands of miles ago.
Not only we were mourning the loss of a child we had hoped to raise, we mourned the loss of K. Now we’ll never know if she realizes her college dreams, if she and her boyfriend make it, and we’ll never know the baby who we’d dreamt about.
The practice of being open and staying that way has helped us become better partners to each other and hopefully better people to others in our life. We know it is making us better prospective adopters.
It is our hope that when it’s our turn, all of this practice will find us completely prepared to expand our family, not only to a child, but to his/her entire birth family.
We’re still excited to hear from another prospective birthmother knowing it might not work out, and our hearts will break all over again.
We’re wide open, driving with the top down towards our future.
Together for more than eight years, Holly and Heather live in Durham, North Carolina. They are hoping to connect with a prospective birthmother interested in an open adoption. To learn more about them, visit their adoption profile or blog.