Dear Roslyn: An Open Adoption Love Story
Open adoption has become common in the U.S., but it can look like a lot of different things depending on your mutual comfortability. It can be sending monthly updates with sporadic visits. It can also mean including birth parents for birthdays and holidays. As with any adoption, the number one priority has to be the wellbeing of the child, and with that the birth mother is faced with the toughest decision she’ll ever make. With closed adoption, the birth mother would have to say goodbye to her baby, possibly never seeing them again, but open adoption brings hope that she can stay connected and that their story doesn’t end at the hospital. When you enter into an open adoption, you are essentially making the decision to marry your family with theirs. We feel it’s the most tangible form of sacrificial love here on earth.
We felt terrified of having an open adoption when we first began the process because there are so many unknowns, but as we received training, we learned how beneficial open adoptions can be for the child and we knew it’s what we wanted for our family. Soon enough, we decided we wanted the most open adoption possible and prayed our child’s birth parents wanted the same.
When we received the call telling us we matched with a family, and that they wanted to meet us, we were ecstatic. Meeting them over lunch felt like the most intense blind date/job interview we had ever been on. Over lunch they asked us a hundred questions, we made an open adoption plan, and we named our daughter. I took every decision she made and having us be a part of her pregnancy as a gift. She became my sister that day, and I was humbled knowing what it took for our paths to cross.
We were so taken back by our birth mother’s openness in the hospital. Her birth dad was subdued but supportive of the plan to adopt. We soaked up every opportunity in the hospital to get to know them, and by the end of the day the medical staff told us repeatedly how surprised they were to learn we had only met the birth parents earlier in the week. The hospital gave us a room to sleep in and we were able to spend our daughter’s first night on earth together. We spent the next morning in quiet time with her, said our goodbyes, and went home praying this all wasn’t a dream.
While our birth mother did not waver with her adoption plan, it was still considered a legal risk adoption, which means our daughter was placed with an interim family during revocation. This was the hardest part of the whole process. We not only bonded with our baby girl at the hospital; we also bonded with her birth parents. Our hearts would’ve broken in two had they changed their minds, but all we could do was wait and pray, hoping for the best outcome for our little girl even if that meant we would not parent her.
Several months after we brought our little girl home, our birth dad scheduled his first visitation. We felt a little anxiety going into the visit and psyched ourselves up so much to the point where I looked at my husband and said, “This is not a Lifetime movie. It’s going to be fine!” And it was! Every opportunity we have to meet with our daughter’s birth dad gives them time to bond and us time to love on him as best as we can.
We haven’t seen our birth mother since the hospital, and that was something I had to learn to accept. I realized that in order for her to heal, she needed space. It wasn’t until our daughter’s first birthday that she told me she was finally at peace and grateful for the adoption. Since then, we mainly communicate via text and we always extend the invitation to meet with us, hoping she will one day accept.
Our roles right now are pretty simple. We are our daughter’s parents, but we tell her she has another mama and dada that love her very much. She’s only two and a half so she doesn’t understand what we’re telling her, but it’s our job to keep telling her story in a way that not only honors her birth parents, but also our commitment to them.
From our perspective, our daughter’s birth parents made the hardest decision to give us the most important thing in the world, their own flesh and blood, and we are grateful every day that they saw something in us that gave them confidence that we could raise their child.
We don’t know what the future holds, but if she chooses to seek a fully open relationship with her parents, it will not diminish the role we have in her lives. There’s no competition between us, because we want our daughter to receive as much love and attention as possible – from the parents who raised her, and the parents who created her. It’s our priority for her to grow up knowing she is doubly loved, chosen, and fiercely protected by two sets of parents.
Thanks to Brooke for sharing her story in our Story Time series.
Mama stories that prove we are all in this together without having it all together.
Brooke lives in in Nashville with her husband Kevin and their 2 dogs. They adopted their daughter, Rosie, in 2015 and are both passionate about adoption. If you have any questions about adoption or need infertility support, you can reach out to Brooke on Facebook.