Does openness in adoption scare you? It doesn’t have to. It can be an amazing gift not only to your child but to you!
May I tell you my story?
I am an adoptive mom of two through domestic adoption. My oldest is a girl. When she was a mere 9 years of age I got a letter from one of her ½ sisters – on her birth father’s side – requesting that our adoption be opened. To this point we had what I would call a semi-open adoption. We exchanged pictures and letters once a year through our agency.
Of course my initial response was ‘heck no’! My mama bear instincts rose up in immediate protective mode. But then I looked that the pictures that my daughter’s sister had sent along with her request. Pictures of herself, two other sisters and a brother. They looked, ‘normal’ and happy. People who looked very much like my daughter. I should interject here that my daughter’s birth mother was not young and her birth father was even older so the siblings I’m talking about were young adults at this point.
My initial instinct was to write back a very nice, but cordial, letter to her letting her know that when my daughter turns 18 she can decide whether or not she would like to meet them. Fortunately, I didn’t just dismiss their request like that but made a call to our social worker – who I hadn’t talked to in almost 9 years. Of course she was aware of the request as it had gone through the agency before arriving in my mailbox. She was able to calm my fears and think of what would be in my daughter’s best interest – not my own comfort zone. This was definitely out of my comfort zone at the time. She told me that she felt these people were good, safe people. People who already loved my daughter just from her pictures and the letters I’d sent to her birth father. She also told me that she felt it would be a benefit to my daughter, especially at this point in time – just before reaching puberty – also while she was still under our care and guidance. So, stepping out in faith I made arrangements to meet them at a local restaurant – without my daughter – to ‘check them out’. It was a bit strange, I will admit, but they were all so nice. They brought pictures of themselves when they were my daughter’s age. I could see that they genuinely cared for her and wanted to get to know her. I walked away from that meeting knowing that it would be in the best interest of my child to meet some of her birth family but I also knew it wasn’t something we would force on her.
I don’t remember how long after the meeting it was that my husband and I told our daughter of the request to open her adoption more and showed her the letter, but it wasn’t too long. She was a little hesitant but excited too. Her one request was that she be able to bring her best friend with her.
I remember that day so clearly. Pulling into the park parking lot at just about the same time they were arriving. We picked a nice spot under a big tree and started on a journey together that I have never regretted and neither has my daughter.