My name is Sterling, I'm 22-years-old, and I am the birthmother to the most gorgeous little boy in the world. I started this blog to share my experiences, thoughts, and help myself move forward after placing my sweet little boy. If this is your first time visiting my blog, I invite you to read my story (top of the left column). Feel free to comment with questions or requests. If you follow me, I'll follow you!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Why Open Adoption - Holly
I've only recently become close with Holly... but our conversations have ranged from deep and profound to completely silly. I've stood by and had to watch their heartache, and have wished there was something I could do. Holly and I had a brief discussion about how she hasn't always been supportive of open adoption. That sparked my interest, and I asked her to write her story of deciding open adoption was a good choice for them. Here it is. Visit her blog *HERE* or her adoption profile blog *HERE* . I can't wait for these two to become parents!
Nathan and I had briefly discussed adoption while we were dating – because I knew that there was achanceI’d never be able to conceive and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t adeal breakerfor him(lucky for me it wasn’t!). But in 2006 we had our first serious discussions about adoption as the option for us. We’d been trying to get pregnant for a year and a half, hadfinallygotten pregnant but lost the baby. We talked more about adoption then, than we had to that point in our relationship. We were pretty sure weknewwhat we wanted, but decided to start doing a little research anyway. We liked the idea ofinternational adoptionbecause there was no “messiness with a birth family”. We wanted to adopt a child that looked as much like us as possible, so we were thinking Eastern Europe. We were not going to keep the adoption asecret, but we were by no means going toopenly advertisethat we had adopted. Open adoption made usvery nervous. We thought it would be scary to have the birthmother know our name…because she would for sure come to our house one day and take the baby back. We thought she would judge us for the way we were raising the child, and would tell us we were horrible parents. We thought she should give birth, never see the baby, never see us and justforgetit ever happened. We thought anything different from that would cause more harm than good.
We bought two books to help us decide which country we were going to adopt from(because at this point we were still set on international adoption). One book(The Complete Adoption Book, which I reviewed on my blog last week)had information ondomesticandinternational adoption and because I wanted to make sure we were making the right choice, I read both sections. The book mentioned how adoption hadevolvedover the last 10 years or so, the relationships becomingmore openbetween birth families and adoptive families. At first this seemed socrazyto me…how could that possibly be a good thing? I was curious, so I loaned another book from the library, it was calledDear Birthmother. This small book(only like 120 pages or so)changed our minds forever about adoption. The book dispels a lot of themythsabout adoption, and discusses openly about how good open adoption really is for all involved. I devouredthe book quickly and passed it to Nathan to read. After he was finished we talked and talked…and talked about our feelings towards adoption and realized that the more we learned about open adoption, the more we loved the idea.
I am a practical person. I thinklogically, and very matter of fact. All emotional reasoning aside(I’ll get to those in a sec)open adoption just makes sense. For instance, if your child all of a sudden gets very ill and you take them to the doctor and they ask for a family history you might be in big trouble. In a closed adoption you likely wouldn’t have that information. But if your relationship is open, a quick phone call, email or letter could get you all the answers you need. Also, knowing where they got their eyes from and whose grin they have is somethingevery childwants to know. It’s better to be able to tell the child the story about their adoption and how many people love them, instead of treating it like a shameful act that should be forgotten. But ultimately for me, wanting a closed adoption now seemed sohorribly selfish. Here was a woman who was making thishugesacrifice, giving us something we could not do for ourselves and we wanted to say“Thanks. Have a nice life”?? Now Nathan and I are of the opinion that the more people that can love our children, the better!
We kept trying infertility treatments for another two years and in 2008 finally came topeacewith what seemed to be ourdestiny: to adopt. We do not see it as a second choice, or a backup plan. We are excited that we get to be one of thechosen fewwho get to take part in thebeautiful miraclethat is adoption. We are no longer shy about adoption, in fact I think some of our family and friends probably think we talktoomuch about it. We hear stories about other families who have wonderfulrelationshipswith their birth families andhope we can be as lucky as them. We realize that one thing that makes people nervous about us is the fact that Nathan is in the military and we move often. We fear that a woman looking at us as a possible set of parents for her baby would think that with all the moves we would forget about her. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, being in the military does mean we’ll move a lot. And it does take extra effort to keep in contact with those we no longer see on a day to day basis, but good thing for us we live in such a fabulous day and age. With Skype, texting, Facebook, blogging, airplanes, trains and long road trips it makes staying in contact a little easier. Plus – we’re ALWAYS up for visitors and we will get to live in some pretty awesome places (Hawaii anyone??).
As our opinions about open adoption havechangedwe’ve also realized that a lot of people’shaven’t. We hear concerns from others now, that mirror things that used to scare us. But we’ve found that generally a little bit of open, honest conversation helps calm concerns quite a bit. We’re doing our part to help spread the word that open adoption is fantastic, and can’t wait for the day we have an open relationship with our child’s birth family to prove it!