An Open Adoption? (Part 2)
Read Part 1 here.
The phrase, “Adoption begins in pain” kept echoing in my mind and heart. Yes, but how does it end? What is the best way to bring healing? Open? Closed? Semi-open? And, if it’s open, what does it look like???
Enter bloggers! Grace in My Heart informed me that Small Treasures had experienced both open and closed adoptions and could talk about both perspectives! After reading her story I was amazed at her experience and stunned by how positive it was. I emailed Kristen, and she wrote back right away. Her email was like an IV of Peace. It flooded my system and instantly relaxed my fears. She explained that having experienced both, she actually preferred open, and NEVER would have guessed that she would feel that way! She told me how she loves knowing where her daughter gets this or that trait and that she’ll be able to share that with her daughter. She also informed me that birthmoms need to move on with their life and that contact may not continue in such a regular manner.
Another blogger gave me her phone number and we talked for almost an hour. She said a few things that really struck me, the most profound was, “There is a God-given relationship between a birth-mom and baby, and I respect that relationship.” True. Another statement to get tossed around in my heart and mind! She also spoke of the joy of developing a relationship with the birthmom during her pregnancy. In her case, they talked on the phone everyday. This, she pointed out, would greatly help my fear that the adoption would not work out, because you get a direct feel for how she is feeling about the situation. Is she wavering? Dead-set? Does she have the support of friends and family?
She also gave advice that put my husband’s fears at bay. Right now, the birthmom is totally in the driver’s seat. She’s calling the shots and saying what she wants this to look like. But, after the adoption is final, we’re in the driver’s seat. And, if the relationship was no longer healthy, we could cut off contact. Now I would never ever ever promise to do one thing (contact) while planning on doing another. But, as the Daddy wanting to protect his family and baby, it brought my husband (and me) peace knowing that we COULD take action if it was absolutely necessary. Furthermore, the birthmother realizes this, too, and as a result, respects the relationship.
***Please read that last paragraph in the spirit it is meant. Again- I would NEVER promise something without intending to do it. And anyone planning on such action would be dead wrong and guilty of moral sin, in my opinion.***
I also spoke with a friend who was adopted about her experience. Her adoption was closed, and she has no knowledge of her birthmother. She doesn’t know her medical history, what her birth parents look like, or the reasons for the adoption, and she has hurt as a result. She speculated that openness would have helped heal these wounds.
And what of Scripture? One of the special things about adoption is that WE have been adopted. Adopted children have a very real experience of what that means. As I discovered in Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches by Russell Moore, adoption is identity. It tells us who we are in the Lord. “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15). So, what kind of adoption do we have?
Biblically, we have an open adoption. We know our birth parents. In fact, it is SO open, that He allows us to be raised by our birth parents and to keep returning to our old ways. The parallel is not exact, but you get the idea. We, as parents, are entrusted with these children while they are on earth, but they are not ours. They belong to the Father. Whether we are birth parents or adoptive parents, our children are His, made in His image and given His name. In fact, in the Catholic Church, His body and blood even run through their veins through the Eucharist.
Finally, we watched Catelynn’s story on 16 and Pregnant. I had blogged about it here in the past. My husband had not seen it yet, so I suggested we watch it together. It was an incredible experience even the second time to see what Catelynn went through and to see her perspective. As we connected with her story, we completely understood her desire to stay connected to the baby, and we saw how healing that could be.
As we continued to pray about this option and speak to friends, we felt confident that this was the direction the Lord was leading us. In fact, we went from being terrified about open adoption, to okay, to excited about it! There are still major question marks in our head as we begin to discover what THIS open adoption will look like, but we know that He gives us “just enough light for the step we’re on.” We may not know what this will look like in 6 months or 6 years, but we know that He will guide us and provide as abundantly as He has in the past!
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.