This weekend I went to see my birth son and his family. He is 6 months old and full of constant smiles. Nothing makes me happier than to see pictures of him smiling, videos of him laughing and learning, and the joy he brings his family. Adoption is truly rewarding; don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Adoption in the United States is a work in progress, but nevertheless, it is progressing, and in recent years the progress has picked up an impressive speed.
Open adoptions are customized to fit the relationship of the birthmother and parents, as well as the comfortability of the parents’ exposure to the child. Because of this, there is no handbook on open adoption. Different circumstances can affect the openness of the adoption; life gets busy, feelings may change (on both ends of the spectrum), and the relationship can become confusing. As a birth mother who is experiencing everything in a new light, I am learning something new every day.
A healthy relationship between the parents and the birth mom is critical for a successful adoption journey. In many ways, the relationship is like a marriage. I can’t speak for the parents, but as a birthmother, when something doesn’t go my way, I find that it is best to pause. Take a deep breath, step back from the situation, and put on a different pair of shoes. Try to understand what is happening and make sense of why. I continually remind myself that everything we do, every decision that is made, is for the betterment of the child. In the end, this is all that matters.
Good communication is essential. I sat down this weekend with the mother of my birth son and we had a conversation about our personal experiences with the adoption so far. We were honest, open-minded, and most importantly: we listened to each other. Through listening, we were both able to comprehend each other’s feelings. I am exceptionally grateful that not only does my birth son have the perfect parents, but that I have gained a lifelong friend.
Lastly, when you leave from a visit, it will warm your heart and break it at the same time. It is the most bittersweet feeling I have ever experienced. For me, it takes a few days to get back into my daily routine again. Find something therapeutic, talk to your family and friends, talk to God, and take care of yourself. This visit was easier than the last, and I anticipate that it will become easier every time.