Saturday, May 16, 2009

From International to domestic. From closed to open. And everything in between.

You didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you. I get asked A LOT about open adoption and how much birth parent contact we have and what I think about it. There are so many misconceptions about adoption it's frustrating, overwhelming, and sometimes infuriating the attitudes and perceptions some people have

I started researching adoption after about five months of trying to conceive. No joke. And I still don't know why except that maybe I just knew. I had to know so that I could prepare myself. And because I had a lot to learn.

When first researching, I was set on international adoption. Dead set on it. I researched multiple countries, their laws, requirements, even had an agency picked out. I had read the statistics that in domestic adoption a birth parent changes their mind about 50% of the time. In our case, that actually turned out to be true, but that's not the point. I was not in a place where I could even fathom the idea of someone taking my baby away. I was ignorant enough about adoption culture to take 20/20 and the infamous Jessica story as the status quo. It scared the hell out of me. So, common sense ruled to stay away from things that scare you.

A couple of months of research later I realized that international adoption was not for us (at that point), so I turned to domestic adoption. I researched every kind of domestic adoption option. Private, agency, foster care- you name it. I've done research on Interstate compact, birth father rights, rights of termination, lots and lots of reading and hours spent on the Internet. I was set on a closed adoption. Dead set on it. The thought of "sharing" my Mommyhood with another woman scared the hell out of me, so again I avoided the thought.

The more research I did, and the closer we came to building our family, the more my attitudes and opinions started to shift. It wasn't so much about me and what I wanted, but what was best for the baby I was preparing for. I was becoming a mom. That's what moms do. They do what's best for their babies.

Today, we have a semi-open adoption. We met our birth mother, and we send letters and pictures. It was weekly for the first month, monthly for the first six months, and then once a year on Scrunch's birthday. The weird thing is, is what used to scare me most, the part about sharing "Mommyhood" with another woman, has become one of the best gifts I've ever been given.

I have a face to put with a name. I know very little when it comes to specifics, but there are lots of BIG things I know about her. I know she has a heart the size of the whole earth. Her favorite color is pink. She wears Crocs. And she thinks Scrunch is the cutest "booger butt" ever! I know she knows she made the right choice. I know she loves us. And I know she knows we love her. I know because she told me so.

Although our 'agreement' is for yearly pictures I think about her a lot, so for Mother's Day we made her a picture and sent her a note. Just something quick. Pictures. An update. Just a note so she knows we were thinking of her. Her response was the greatest Mother's Day gift I received.

"Oh my Gosh!!!! She is the cutest thing i've ever seen! Thank you so much for including me in her life it means the world to me... Your family is to cute. She looks as happy as can be and SPOILED :) i love you guys so much. Your the best Mom i could have ever hoped for Yannette."

A few nights ago I dreamt about her. It was a weird dream that did that really weird dream thing where you are in the past, present, and future all at the same time. We were sitting together at lunch, just like you would with your mom or your sister, and we were talking about Scrunch. But Scrunch wasn't little anymore, she was grown. But I couldn't see her I just knew that she was. And we were talking about what had worked, and what hadn't when it came to parenting her. And we were friends. More than that really. I can't even explain it.

All I know is that when you get your mind set on something, prepare for it to change. You can't even begin to know how grateful I am that a woman was brave enough to share what was rightfully hers- her Mommyhood, with me.

1 comment:

Holly said...

I love that picture. And, I love that you put the right words to everything!! Can't wait to see you.

Blog Archive