A Dad’s Perspective: Our Journey Through Open Adoption

Andy at Our Life in 3D wrote an article about the adoption of his children, which was published by  his (and DWLA’s) adoption agency, Bethany Christian in their national magazine, Lifelines.

***

Open adoptions seem to be the adoption of the future. Really, there is no better way. If you have ever heard stories of adoptions gone bad I think most of them revolve around hiding the truth from the kids. When the kids find out later in life or from someone other than their parents, feelings get hurt, confusion sets in and then anger.

But I’ll get off my soap box before I really get started. If you are interested in learning about how open adoptions operate and our story specifically read on. And thanks! This is really a big deal to me because of the two wonderful families that have allowed us to have our own family.

A Dad’s Perspective: Our Journey Though Open Adoption

My wife, Sabrina, and I got married in 1996.  About eight years later, we wondered why she had never gotten pregnant, so we went to a gynecologist and found out it was impossible for us to conceive naturally.  Undaunted, we went down the uncertain road of IVF procedures.  Anyone who has been down this road knows how emotional the trip can be—with extremely happy highs and tearful lows, not to mention the agony of giving your wife shots a few times a day.
Feeling frustrated amid our third IVF attempt, we attended a local adoption information meeting.  Sabrina felt we were meant to adopt; I wasn’t so sure.  Call me crazy, but as we left that meeting, I saw a rainbow in my rearview mirror.  That was my sign, and so our adoption journey began.

We researched adoption programs and agencies and chose Bethany.  We went to meetings, paid the fees, got our physicals, and completed the paperwork. We were ready to start our family!

Probably the best advice we got along this journey was not to paint the new baby’s room just yet.  It was a year later when we got our first call that some birthparents wanted to meet us.

Sabrina and I were nervous before our first meeting, but it left us more worried than excited.  One of the birthparents had some emotional disorders that we knew could emerge as their son got older.  With no training about or prior exposure to these disorders, we reluctantly decided this was not the adoption for us.  We wondered, Was this part of God’s plan or did we just sabotage it?  We had waited so long!

Our First Adoption
A month later, we received another phone call.  We met a quiet, pretty young lady.  The meeting went smoothly with the help of the adoption specialist.  We really liked the expectant mom but felt like we had botched the interview.

A few days later, we received a second phone call saying that the expectant mom wanted to meet us again.  That meeting went fine, and we laughed and cried together.  Her reason for getting together was to establish ground rules for an open adoption.

The expectant mom wanted us to send her photos frequently.  She was a sweet, Christian young lady, and she needed to be sure that she was making the right decision.  If all it took to realize our dream was to e-mail some pictures, it was an easy decision for us.  What ever it takes, we thought.

Some people ask us why we said yes to an open adoption. We say, “Why not?” Try to put yourself in the shoes of the birthmother.  To say this is a “life-altering” decision is an understatement.  As I see it, adoption is an act of love and selflessness for these women.  They love their children more than they love themselves.  That’s what great mothers do.  If we were to ruin that equation by being selfish as adoptive parents, what message would that send to our kids?

Have I told you how wonderful our two daughters are?  We adopted our second child through open adoption in 2010 from another special young lady.

All that waiting.  All those tears.  It all was worth it.  What a wonderful plan God had for us.  Our daughters are awesome!  Each day we tell them how much we love them and thank God for his gifts.

The More Love, the Better
Our journey continues to evolve.  We feel like we expanded our family twofold, and the girls are the benefactors.  Can you imagine growing up with four grandmothers?  What could be better to a child at Christmas?

Our relationship with each birthfamily is unique.  One family calls and visits more often.  The other e-mails and sends gifts in the mail.  But when they send gifts, both families send packages for both girls!  These families have embraced us as parents.  They do not intrude.  They do not preach to us about how to raise our kids.  They are simply happy to be included in the process.

Both birthgrandmothers are wonderful ladies, and we feel blessed to have them in our lives too.  They love our children so much.  One of the grandmothers caught us off guard when she said, “You are like family to us now.” Wow! The more love the better!

The Future

When our daughters receive gifts and cards in the mail, we try to explain who they are from.  We save and date the cards to show them at a later time.  We tell them that the ladies who sent them love them very much.

We will explain open adoption to our daughters at the right time. To us it is not a moment but an ongoing conversation.  You answer the questions as they come up and at a level they understand. The adoptions are not to be seen as dark or dramatic moments. Its more about how God put our family together. We actually have a “Family” cheer we do at the dinner table! We speak openly to friends about adoption in front of the girls, so when the subject comes up the girls will not be unfamiliar with it.

We are not sure what the future holds. It comes on so fast and can change in many ways. We do hope to stay in touch with our birthfamilies. We want to share birthdays and milestones with them. My personal hope is that, as we get older / they get older, our girls will know and be close to each birthmom. They can be a source of “family”, moms and siblings, after we are gone. The more love the better!

We will always be indebted to our two birthmothers for entrusting their children to us.  And we thank God for our wonderful journey, and we will be sure that our daughters know that He brought us all together.

Comments

  1. That was a very beautiful and touching story! I love the fact that the birthmoms don’t intrude and control, they just love connect and support; and I love how assured the parents are in their role so that they can allow the girls to enjoy a large supportive loving all-encompassing family!

  2. Thanks for telling our story! it really is a great story to us.

  3. Reblogged this on OUR LIFE IN 3D and commented:
    Some of you may have seen this before but here is the wonderful story of an amazing pair of kids…ours, put in our lives by the grace of God as retold on “Don’t We Look A Like.com…

  4. A beautifully told story ~ so touching ~ so heartfelt

  5. Love this the first time I read it and even more the second. 🙂

  6. Thank you for sharing this story. I am convinced more and more everyday of how important open adoption is whenever possible.

    • It has been a beautiful thing for us although I would point out the right set of circumstances need to be in place, as the love and beautiful people our birthfamilies turned out to be. Certainly every adoption is different. I know our girls feel loved and I hope they will never feel abandoned. And I hope they understand. Time will tell.

Trackbacks

  1. […] And if you couldn’t tell by my Valentine’s Week post, I really enjoy being a Dad to my two little, or not quite so little girls. They are so much fun and I enjoy being a kid again with them. Somehow we have developed a loving family , despite all the daily drudgeries going on. And I feel so blessed with these two gems, especially given our family’s story. […]

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