Lauren

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

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.

Pin It

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

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.

Worth the Wait

How I have longed to write this post! So many times, I have stared at my sidebar where “Introduction” posts are listed. 1st, 2nd and 3rd unsuccessful adoptions. Dare I write a “1st successful adoption” post, or would there be a 4th? I decided to wait.

Here I sit, one day after finalization, and the world is such a lovelier place! It is with such peace and joy that I am writing! Sometimes, you don’t realize how heavy your heart has been until you can finally sigh in relief. I truly thought finalization would just make the legal reality match the reality of our hearts, that we are, indeed, a family. But, I have such relief and feel so much lighter today! Such sweet joy!

Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep. My usual practice at this point is to picture Christ on the cross while I say my prayers. But, when I summoned the mental image, what appeared was different. Christ was resurrected. I almost cried right there in bed lying next to my husband and baby.

Thank you, Jesus, my Lord, my Redeemer, and my Savior, for resurrecting my cross. Thank you for bringing our hopes and dreams to a reality. Thank you for bringing new life from our wounds and for not sending our love back void. Thank you for this precious, beautiful, sweet baby girl. I am so not worthy, but I will rejoice in this precious gift with all my heart.

It’s difficult to know where to begin Abigail’s story. Is it with infertility? The previous adoption that she came on the heals of? Or just the moment we laid eyes on her at the hospital? I’ve come to understand that it’s all of the above and more. It began with loving my brothers and seeing my parents openness to life. It’s babysitting and learning to nurture. It’s loving my husband and seeing our babies in his eyes. It’s in the Lord who “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). It’s in love!

________________________________________

Precious Abigail,

I have longed for you for as long as I can remember! Your Daddy and I dreamed of holding you, loving you, teaching you and being with you since we knew we were going to get married! You have always been a part of our lives, before we even knew your name. It took us a long time to get to you, and parts of the journey were very hard, but you were so worth the wait.

Daddy and I wanted our family to grow, and we were hoping to adopt a special baby. Three different times we thought we’d found our baby, but it did not work out. Each time we were heart-broken and prayed for the strength to trust the Lord and try again. A few days after our third heartache, we went to our social worker for help. “How can we get through this?” we asked. “How can we try again? It is so painful when your hopes and dreams end so abruptly.” Ms. Anne listened to the Lord and asked us to be very brave. She told us that even though we were sad about Caeden Michael, there was another Tummy Mama who wanted us to be the baby’s family.

We left that day knowing that a baby girl was going to be born in a month and that we were hoping to be her parents. We were so scared, but the Lord gave us the courage we needed to try again. “Take courage!” Jesus whispered to my heart again and again. I kept picturing a beautiful curly haired girl, and my heart would dare to hope again. I begged the Lord that this time we could be the baby’s parents.

On September 12, 2010, Ms. Anne called us. “The baby girl was born! Can you come to the hospital?” We jumped in the car and started driving before we realized we had forgotten our camera! Quick! Back to the house and out again to see YOU!

You were SO BEAUTIFUL. You were so AWAKE! You didn’t want to miss ANYTHING! You were looking all around and stared at your Daddy. He stared right back at you- totally in love! We held you and loved you as long as we could before we had to go back home. The whole way home I looked at all the pictures and show them to your Daddy. We could not get enough of you!!! When we got home I dared to cut the tags off the girl clothes that we bought and washed them! I packed the diaper bag and moved the cradle from the guest bedroom closet into our room. Would there REALLY be a baby there soon? We were still so scared!

The next day we picked up breakfast and drove to the hospital. Daddy and your tummy mama’s friend went to get coffee in the hospital and your tummy mama and I got to talk and stare at you. She loves you SO much, Abigail. She was one hundred percent convinced she had the perfect family for you. She held you and cuddled you and kissed you- and then she handed you to me. We drove her home, and then we had you all to ourselves!

Ms. Leslie and Ms. Robin came to see you and we proudly showed off our new daughter!

The next morning, your Daddy had to do a few things, so I had you ALL TO MYSELF! I savored every moment and could not get enough of you. I stared and stared and stared at you. I could not believe I was in charge of feeding you and changing your diapers. I was in complete awe. This was the day we would take you HOME!!!!

But not before we got some bad news. Right before you were released from the hospital, we found out there was a legal technicality, and that you may not get to stay with us. I wanted to die. Never before have I been SO SCARED in my whole life. You were our daughter. We were totally and completely in love with you. It was with joyful and heavy hearts that we signed our papers and brought you home. It was the best and the worst week of my entire life. The best because YOU were HOME! OUR home!!! And we were MADE to be your parents! But it was the worst because we were TERRIFIED of losing you.

Grammie and Gabbie came to visit and they fell in love, too!! They stayed until Monday when Ms. Anne came. She knew more about our situation and we were able to breath more easily.

Months have gone by. You were Baptized into God’s family and adopted by the Lord! And now you’re officially ours! We are overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for trusting us with your care. We are in awe of the sacrifice it took to bring you to us. You are our living miracle. You are our tangible reality of hope. You are our daughter, and we love you with all our hearts.

With all our love
Mommy and Daddy

________________________________________

To anyone who’s been hurt and is afraid to try again, DON’T MISS OUT ON AN ABIGAIL!

________________________________________

Lauren

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.

Our First Failed Adoption

One day, my friend approached me with information regarding a possible adoption. She knew someone who was pregnant and expecting biracial twins. The birthmom wasn’t sure what she was going to do regarding parenting vs. adoption, but we gave her our profile to consider.

We didn’t think of it or talk about it very often, because we didn’t think it would really happen, since the Mom didn’t seem confident one way or the other. She had chosen us and yet kept putting off meeting us or with a lawyer. We weren’t sure what to think and tried to keep our emotional distance.

One day out of nowhere, JC and I discussed what we would name the babies. In a 2-minute conversation, we had our names- almost as if they hadn’t come from us. We never discussed names again, or referred to them by name in conversation or prayer. I never told a soul, nor wrote them down in my journal. I tried to put the names out of mind.

When the babies were born, we began to get conflicted messages. Without sharing too much information in cyber-space, we were on an emotional roller-coaster. At one point, I was in tears on the phone with my dear friend, Lisa. Lisa, who had for some reason always been confident that these were our babies, shared with me the source of her confidence.

Months previous, she had a vivid dream that revealed the names of our babies as well as the verse written on the nursery wall. I thought it was interesting and begged her to share the names, and she was strangely resistant. Eventually she gave in and told me the names.

They were the same names.

Sam and Grace.

And the verse on the nursery wall? The very reason we had picked the name Sam:

“For I have prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted my request.”
~1 Samuel 1:27

In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah, a barren woman, begs the Lord for a child and He eventually answers her prayer with a son whom she names Samuel.

Grace- because she is a perfect gift from the Lord- as is His grace.

How could this be? How could Lisa have known the same names we had chosen- without ever whispering it to a soul? It had to be the Lord. As I praised His name, and sought His voice, I felt Him urge me to let go- to release the wall I had up to guard my heart and to let Him guard my heart instead. In that moment, I knew these were my babies. I knew that I was their mama. I rejoiced. I cried. I wondered what would happen next.

The next day we got a phone call. She was definitely going to parent the babies.

WHAT???? How could this be? Did I hear the Lord wrong? NO! No way! But if not, how could He have led me down this path only go have my heart trampled?

The following is from an email to my parents:

I don’t understand. I did everything right and was obedient. If this wasn’t going to happen, then why did the Lord tell me to open my heart? Why did He keep sending confirmation after confirmation to have hope? Why did He give us NAMES? It seems cruel. Either this is not over according to Him, or I totally heard Him wrong all this time (but why involve Lisa with the dream??) or…what? I know He’s Truth and Good and Love. Yet it would seem my heart doesn’t matter to Him if this is truly over. Or do I hold onto hope against all odds??? At every turn I heard, “God can do what He says He can do.”

It’s not that this adoption didn’t work for us. It’s that I feel like He led us on during these last few weeks. I got attached b/c HE told me to open my heart and bonded me to these babies that I’ve never even held. Why would He do that????? It feels like He’s playing games with my heart.

Eventually, the Lord showed us that only by attaching us emotionally to these children would we be committed to praying for them throughout their lives. And so, we came to terms with the fact that we are their spiritual parents, their God-parents, if you will.

A glance into my journal from that time shows this:
I don’t know what will come or even if its over, but there must be a reason you told me to open my heart and let me get emotionally attached to these children. I will surrender to this bond and take on the role of Mom- if only in a spiritual sense. I will not waver in prayer for them. Perhaps I’ll pray harder than if they were in my care- as I have no control in their upbringing. So we’ll pray. But you’ll have to do the leg work, Father. We will trust them to your care.

It occurred to me later, that if I had only read the NEXT VERSE of 1 Samuel 1:27 and 28 and realized it applied to me as well, I might have been better prepared.

“Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord, as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.’ She left him there.” ~1 Samuel 1:27-28

So we released them to the Lord and pray for them daily. We pray for these children and trust that He will grant our requests.

________________________________________

Lauren

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!

Archives

  • 2013 (76)
  • 2012 (168)
  • 2011 (220)
  • 2010 (80)

We invite you to explore…

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Join our FB Community

CLICK HERE to find us on Facebook
Vote For Us @ Top Mommy Blogs