This guest post is by Makena, a birthmother.
As a high school student and one of a handful of birth mothers in Idaho with an open adoption, explaining my situation to friends and acquaintances is complicated.
How many high school girls know what a birth mother is? Not enough, to be honest.
For many people, open adoption is a scary concept because it’s new and a different type of adoption than they’re used to.
So why did I choose to place my son in an open adoption? The real question is how could I not have placed him?
If I were parenting him right now, this is how it would be: I would go to school during the day and work in the evenings. Mason would be in daycare all day.
We would be barely financially stable. Mason doesn’t sleep at night so I wouldn’t get any sleep either.
I wouldn’t be able to give him nice toys, clothes, or be able to snuggle with him like children need, and he would have no father figure at home.
Placing Mason in a financially stable home with a mother who would spend her time with him, and giving him two loving parents, is the best decision I could have made for him.
The decision was mine, and only mine.
Having family members who are adopted or adoptive parents helped me a lot. My aunt is an adoptive mother to three beautiful girls, one who has been my best friend since we were toddlers.
Although I’ve never met any of my cousin’s birth mothers, I’ve seen pictures and heard of how wonderful they are.
If you were to walk into my cousin’s room right now, you would see a picture on her wall of her birth mother and a message next to it that says, “I love my birth mother.”
I knew I wanted the child inside of me to have the best life he or she could have. I wanted my child to have two parents who loved each other, and who were straight up honest in their relationship.
I wanted to find a family who had already adopted a child before, and who had had a dog.
Finding a couple who had adopted and knowing how they interacted with their child’s birth family was important to me for two reasons.
As I was going through the process of choosing parents for Mason, I came to learn more and more about open adoption.
I learned that I could have a relationship with him, and that the adoption could be very open and include visits.
There were tons of adoptive parents to choose from.
I didn’t look at them all. Instead, I narrowed down my search to finding a family who lived close enough to me but also far enough away. I put in all of my criteria and ended up looking at 60 profiles.
Some of them I just glanced at and then moved on. Some had no pictures, some didn’t have appealing pictures.
At the end of the day it came down to three couples, three from Utah and one from Idaho. I sat on it for a few days, but I couldn’t get one of the Utah couples, Jessie and Kevin, out of my head.
I just knew they were going to be the right parents for my child. That’s when I emailed and chose them.
Choosing adoptive parents of your child is different for each person. For me it was more of a gut feeling — an overwhelming feeling that Jessie and Kevin were the ones.
It wasn’t based only on photos or the information they had in their profile because people aren’t always honest in their profiles.
Oddly enough, the first impression I had of their profile wasn’t that grand. It was just one of many with the same information.
Theirs only stood out because they had the story and information on their relationship with their first child’s birth mother.
Other profiles I looked at said nothing about their first child’s birth family.
I guess I chose Jessie and Kevin because they didn’t ignore their daughter’s birth family, and acknowledged them and created a bigger family together.
I could never pick a family to raise a child just because they looked good, and I couldn’t care less about how much money they had.
The only thing that mattered was how the family would treat Mason and raise him in a good home, with healthy relationships.
I was also able to meet their daughter’s birth mother before I placed with them.
Jessie and Kevin were concerned I had picked them before I had met them, but I wasn’t wrong about my decision. I was sure they were the ones.
The first time I met them was at the gender ultrasound. I remember sitting and waiting. I was nervous and excited at the same time.
When they drove up to the building I was so happy. I recognized them from the pictures I had seen of them earlier.
We said hello with a hug, not a handshake.
That helped us break the ice and start to build our relationship. By the time the meeting was over, one of the big questions had been answered.
We were expecting a baby boy! I swore it was going to be a girl. We chose the name together: Mason Scott.
The key to my relationship with Jessie and Kevin has been communication. Before I met them, we emailed back and forth for almost two months and got to know each other.
There were no closed doors between us. We both gave it our all.
Getting to know Jessie and Kevin better over time has been an amazing experience.
They are my family. When I visit Mason, I stay at their home. I eat meals with them. I am trusted to watch Mason alone.
I get to spend time with their family. I am so grateful that I chose Jessie and Kevin because they are the most loving, caring, and wonderful people.
If I had to go back in time and go through the pregnancy, I would still choose adoption, and still pick them.
Just because a woman places her child for adoption doesn’t mean she doesn’t love or want him or that she doesn’t want to have a relationship with him.
I chose open adoption so that Mason would always know me as the woman who gave him life. I wanted him to know that I loved him and I wanted to be part of his life.
Yes, there is hardship in open adoption, but that’s not what you should focus on.
The attitude of the people taking part in the process is what will determine whether it’s successful or not.
As long as you have a positive and healthy attitude, you or anyone can have the same amazing experience I have.
My advice to expectant parents and hopeful adoptive parents is to just embrace the situation and try your best. Because in the end, it will all work out the way it should.
Makena is a birth mother from Idaho who placed her birth son in 2014. She now mentors expectant mothers who are planning to place their children and works with an adoption organization in her community.
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