An Open Adoption? (Part 1)
So here we are…moving towards a baby and an open adoption. We’re going to be PARENTS!!! The reality has not sunk in at all! There are so many unknowns in adoption. Should we start buying things? How can we not? How can we? But, there are even more questions about what an open adoption is and what it looks like. The Lord has opened my heart beyond belief in this, and I want to share the process with you here.
As I freaked out prayed about the reality of an open adoption, I did what any other rational woman would do. I googled it. (Turns out the birth mother did, too!) As I browsed through blogs and websites, I found four words that struck me to my core: “Adoption begins in pain.”
“Adoption begins in pain.”
“Adoption begins in pain.” I kept turning the words over and over in my mind. I thought about them while I showered, cooked, cleaned, and folded laundry. I kept mulling them over pondering their truth, significance and implications. Then as I was drying my hair one morning, I felt God calling me to my old faithful journal.
I wiped the dust off and cracked my old friend open only to find the last words I had written six months ago. “Your fears are a passport to a new state, to a higher level, to a greater joy” (from A Call to Joy – Living in the Presence of God by Matthew Kelly). Could that have significance here, I wondered?
I began to write about the pain involved for the birth mother, adoptive parents, and adoptee.
Birth mother: to lose a child, to place him in the hands of another, to trust a stranger with your most precious gift- your own flesh and blood, to relinquish all control and possibly knowledge. Oh…my heart broke as I truly pondered her pain.
Adoptive Parents: adoption usually begins with the pain of infertility- the emotional roller coaster each month now compounded with that of adoption, to want to be a “normal” family, to fear the questions, hurt and anger the child will have as he grows. Would he shout at me as a teenager, “You’re not my real Mom!” Would others ask if he knows his real mom? Am I his fake mom? In an open adoption- to fear unclear or overstepped boundaries, judgement or regret by the birth mother, to feel like you’re sharing a child, or worse, co-parenting.
Baby: and what of the child? Research shows that a newborn can identify their biological Mom. Do they suffer emotional pain as they are torn away? Will they suffer from attachment issues? Later in life will they hurt with unanswered questions of origin and the reason for the adoption?
The statement, “Adoption begins in pain” seems to be true. But does it heal? How? In closed adoptions, are adoptive parents able to pretend? Can they imitate a “normal” family? Does that bring them healing? And what does it bring the child and birth mother? Would an open adoption bring healing to all? At what price?
To be continued…
Lauren is in love with the Lord, the man of her dreams, and her new daughter. She and her husband married in June of 2006 and thereafter began their journey of infertility and adoption. Despite the many wounds, heartaches, and suffering, she has experienced not only healing and grace and but also the profound beauty of the Resurrection through her relationship with Jesus Christ and the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. She seeks to “magnify the Lord” through her marriage, adoption, and blog. After three unsuccessful adoptions, they brought home their baby girl, Abigail Chiara, in September 2010.