This guest post is by Kim, an adoptive mother.
A picture is worth a thousand words. That is something we have heard a million times over.
But I didn’t fully understand the meaning of that phrase until we started our open adoption in 2013.
When my niece in California was born I was sad because, as a New Yorker, I felt like I would miss her growing up—seeing her in her adorable little outfits, watching her learning to crawl, hearing her babbling.
Then, a few days after her birth, my brother sent me a link to their blog. And there she was, in all her glory, every day.
I watched her take her first steps and got messages from her about how much she loved me.
I even knew what to get her for her birthday because I knew what she liked from religiously following her blog.
When my husband and I decided to adopt, we knew we were going to blog. In fact, we created it when we first submitted our application to the adoption agency.
The first picture we published was of our phones the day we got “the call” from our son’s birth parents. The next one was of our first meeting with his birth parents over dinner.
That’s when we told them about the blog and promised to update it every day.
At the hospital, as we were waiting for our son, Kelvin, to be born, his birth grandparents asked us for the link to blog.
I remember being so excited because we had only mentioned it once to Kelvin’s birthparents. So they had obviously thought it was important enough to mention to their parents and now they were going to check it too.
Our experience at the hospital was amazing. We bonded with his birth family and everyone else who came to visit and took pictures of each person who held him, trying to capture every hug and kiss.
I remember hoping that these would not be the only pictures of Kelvin with this amazing family, but also feeling nervous that they would be.
Our agency told us not to share too much personal information directly with birth parents in the beginning. And although we respected their recommendation, we eventually decided against it.
We shared our names, addresses, and phone numbers with them, as well as a link to the blog, and encouraged them to reach out to us whenever they were ready.
We loved the idea that the blog would allow them and the rest of their family to check in at their own pace, at their own time, and with no feeling of obligation.
Thankfully they did reach out to us—his birth father two weeks after Kelvin’s birth, and his birth mother a few weeks later.
They even shared the password with extended friends and family so they could check in too. It was the beginning of something incredibly special for all of us.
Fast forward to today: We see Kelvin’s birth parents at least once every month and their extended family three to four times a year. And we have never missed a day of posting to the blog.
The best part is that it has turned into such a great bonding tool. Our friends and family from all sides have gotten to know each other through our digital story.
At Kelvin’s first birthday party, I remember how his birth grandmother told me she felt like she was meeting celebrities. She knew everyone there by name, and they knew her too. But nobody was sure whether they had met before in person or knew each other through the blog.
Adoption has so many joyful experiences, but let’s not forget that it also involves loss.
While we were waiting to be placed, I remember reading the book “Dear Birthmother” and learning about the grief that a birthparent experiences in closed adoption.
It talked about how a birthmother can feel as if her child has died if she no longer has contact with him after his birth.
I remember thinking we could never do that to our child’s birthparents. For us, the blog would be one of the many tools we would use to help our child’s birthparents cope with their feelings of loss.
Watching Kelvin grow up through our blog, and seeing the joy on his face, has helped his birthparents and other family members heal.
I can’t wait until he is old enough to look at the blog on his own and see his story, and all of these amazing moments with friends and family, laid out so openly and honestly.
We hope that it will answer his questions and serve as a launch pad for many discussions for years to come.
I remember how excited I was to watch my niece grow up all the way across the country, and how I didn’t want to miss a moment.
I never want the amazing people who gave birth to Kelvin to miss a moment either.
And thanks to our blog and the wonderful network we’ve created around it, we’re doing everything we can to make sure they don’t.
Kim and her husband, Noah, are adoptive parents who would like to share their experience of open adoption of their son, Kelvin. They live in New York City and are hoping to expand their family further through open adoption.
Do you have an open adoption story? Share it with our community.
Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.