Open Adoption, 3.5 Years In


Last night I finally received a text from R’s birth mom. I had texted her a week ago to check in and to start planning our trip to see her and I didn’t hear back. While we don’t text daily, weekly, or even monthly, when we do communicate we both respond rather quickly. So, as each day passed, and I didn’t hear from her, my heart grew heavier. Last night, when she texted to let us know her phone had been turned off (but was now back on) I was thrilled to hear from her. I realized I had been holding a heart full of worry.

First and foremost I was concerned for her safety.

Second, I was deeply worried that she had decided she no longer wanted contact with us, or with R. I was just so….sad. I was sad that she had slipped through our fingers and had decided that this open adoption stuff was too much. Perhaps she needed a break. I don’t know what it must feel like to place your child. Perhaps for her own self preservation she felt that she didn’t want contact for a while or for….forever. My heart broke a little for R. While it would be out of character for her to cut off contact, I don’t know the ins and outs of her life, and would have to respect any boundaries she decided to set.

It just felt like she was gone and I felt like a part of my son, a part of me, a part of my family was missing.

Had you asked me about open adoption when we began thinking about adoption in 2013, I would have told you I was too scared for such a thing. That it meant that I would have to share my child and share the role of mother, that a birth mom could take my child back.

That’s not open adoption at all.

Then R’s birth mom texted last night and I took a breath. A deep breath of gratitude.

Thank you god.

Our texts are still not what I wish they were. Lots of pleasantries. Lots of love too. I am trying to be more open and authentic. When she asks how we are all doing, I answer, “Good! We’re good!” And of course we ARE good….but we’re also tired and stressed, and in fact, as I was texting about how “good” we all are, E was having an an all out bedtime battle with R. I wanted to text and say, “I’m tired. We’re tired. Being a mom is hard. How do you do it with your own children?” But all I could say was “Good! We’re good and we love and miss you.” That’s not enough. Not for the open adoption I will strive to be a part of. I will do better.

3.5 years in and I am oh so pleasantly surprised by the joy open adoption brings me and the welcome challenge of navigating it for my son, but also for me. Knowing my son’s first mother is an honor and a privilege. Open adoption has been, and continues to be the greatest gift this world has given me. Xx