By Maura Vivona, Mother through adoption
I remember the first time my adoption counselor explained open adoption to me, I was skeptical at best. I wondered, would this be co-parenting? After all the waiting I had already done to become a mom would I now wait even longer and then not really be one? I expected it to be confusing, hurtful, and damaging. Open adoption turned out to be none of those things for me, in fact, I was in store for many wonderful surprises.
Surprise 1: How quickly the focus became about my child
When everyone is doing their part, open adoption does benefit the adults but that is not why it is done; open adoption is what is best for the child. As I participated in the adoption trainings, I learned that children who are placed in an open adoption tend to have less questions, fewer concerns, more confidence, and a deeper understanding of how they are loved by all their parents. As a mother, of course I want happy, confident children and if research shows this is the way to do it, I am on board.
Surprise 2: The indescribable feeling of be chosen
My husband and I waited years to become parents. After facing infertility, we had a bumpy road on our way to our first adoption. We posted our profile anywhere we could think of and ended up with close to 20 inquiries. Every time we received an email from an expectant mother we would get so excited only to find our replies would go unanswered, or the woman wasn’t pregnant in the first place. Twice we were matched and the expectant mother had a change of heart. So it is very difficult to put into words, after all the emotional turmoil and the months of waiting, thinking of nothing else than parenthood, what it feels like when your child is placed in your arms for the first time. It is the highest honor and is instantly humbling. I knew that in my moment of overwhelming joy, elsewhere in the hospital a woman was in tears, feeling a pain that she would experience every day for the rest of her life. The compassion I felt then, and still feel to this day would lead us to a very open adoption where I get to see this amazing birth mother take steps towards healing by having a relationship with her daughter.
Surprise 3: How easy it is
My open adoptions are not complicated, they do not make me feel insecure as a mother, I do not, I repeat, I do not worry about them wanting to take their children back. The boundaries are very clear, I am mom, everyone agrees on this so I find it easy to have relationships with my children’s birth families and to encourage my children to do the same.
Although the concept of open adoption may seem scary at first, take it from someone who was skeptical, ventured in, and is living it now, there are so many pleasant surprises in store for you.
Adoption Center for Family Building is an open adoption agency licensed in Illinois and Indiana. For more information about open adoption, visit our website at www.centerforfamily.com or call us at 800-869-1005.